I had an unusual dream last night. It was so unusual that, when I woke from it, I grabbed my iPhone and jotted a note in Evernote so that I would not forget it. I looked at the note this morning and here is what I wrote, just after midnight, typos and all:
I don’t recall the context of the dream, or much of the details, but I do remember what that note refers to. It had to do with discovering a way to tweak the “code” of the universe, the way a programmer might modify the code of a program, in such a way that it altered 15 laws of physics. That alteration, in turn, “reversed what light does.” This doesn’t mean make things dark. I think it means that darkness illuminates instead of light. The result was an image of how the universe was created?
What was that image? I have very little detail left in my mind. The note says “pictures” and I think that was to remind me that there was an image. I do remember that the image was an “infographic” of the type you see frequently on the Internet. And I’m pretty sure it involved a caterpillar or a turtle. I’d guess the latter as opposed to the former.
I’m pretty sure I know where the dream came from. I was working out some details of the story I’m currently writing earlier in the day yesterday and the dream was probably initiated from those thoughts. But the turtle at the creation of the universe? Well, friends, all I can say is that I recently re-read Stephen King’s It for a third time, and for those who have read It, the turtle will make a lot of sense in this context.
Last night I dreamed that the Little Man was telling his friends that his daddy was a science fiction writer.
His friends grew excited. “What movies did he write?” they asked.
“He didn’t write any movies,” the Little Man said.
“Oh, well, what TV shows did he write?” his friends asked, unperturbed.
“He hasn’t written any TV shows either,” the Little Man said.
Nonplussed, his friends continued, wringing their little hands, “Well, what video games did he write?”
“He didn’t write any video games,” the Little Man said, now rather somber.
“Well then what kind of science fiction does he write? his friends asked.
“Science fiction stories!” the Little Man said, proudly.
“Stories? You mean like in books?””
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“Well who cares about that!” his friends said, after which I woke up in a cold sweat.
I don’t ordinarily dream of interacting with fictional characters, but last night I had a strange dream in which I found myself at Elaine’s (from Seinfeld) new apartment. She mentioned that Jerry was going to be moving into her apartment and I was, quite frankly, surprised. It seemed strange that Jerry would be moving into Elaine’s apartment. She gave me some long-winded, Elaine-like explanation for why he was moving in, but it was virtually incomprehensible in my dream and I couldn’t even begin to reproduce it here.
Then we were all in Elaine’s living room and Scott Bakula was there–as himself. I imagine he entered my dream because I’ve been watching a lot of Star Trek: Enterprise lately. In any case, I made some reference to “like a rock” and he didn’t seem to get it, at which point I began to do a parody of a typical American car commercial which, in my mind, was funny enough to get me laughing in my sleep. This happens from time-to-time, but last night I laughed hard enough to wake myself up. It would have been interesting to see where things went if the dream continued, but it was still fun hanging out with both the fictional and non-fictional characters for a little while, even if it was only a dream.
Between 6 and 7am this morning, I had a strange dream about a man who dated a series of women, all of whom ended up shooting him at the end of the relationship. This was a strange dream, not just because of the subject matter, but because I felt like I was watching a TV show from the inside. Rather than being a participant in the dream, I was like a disembodied person drifting through it. Scattered throughout the dream were interesting pieces of dialog. The man was describing to a women his history with guns and girls, and told her about the first time he was shot. He was shot through the jaw and the bullet lodged in his head.
His head was wrapped in bandages, but he was alert. As he was pulled onto the ambulance he said to the doctor, in a near panic, “Did you get a picture? Did you get a picture?”
The doctor smiled calmly at him and said, “Yes, but you won’t be around tomorrow to see it.”
I thought this was an insensitive thing to say, but nonetheless true. And yet, the injured man seemed to be hanging in there. His pupils were responding properly to light, and he could answer questions about where he was, what happened to him, and who was president.
I have no idea where this dream came from. Usually, my dreams are triggered by events during the day, but I can think of nothing like this permeating my subconscious. I’d been watching no television. I barely had time to do any reading yesterday, and what reading I did manage was a few more pages from Thoreau’s Walden. But that eerie line uttered by the doctor, “Yes, but you won’t be around tomorrow to see it,” echoed through my head the entire rainy drive into work this morning.
So I thought I’d share it with you.
For the first time in quite a while, I had anxiety dreams last night. The were not the ordinary run-of-the-mill anxiety dreams I used to have either. These had one particularly nasty ingredient added to them: they were recursive. Or as the kids today like to say, meta.
I used to have two types of anxiety dreams, all centering around a single theme: a fear of heights. Why I should be afraid of heights in my dreams when I have no such fear in my waking life is beyond my explanation, but there you go. In one set of dreams, I’d find myself up on top of an impossibly tall building with no easy way of getting down. In another of these dreams, I’d find myself in an elevator. The doors would slide shut. Then the lights would go out and the elevator would sink into some sub-basement and stay there. There was actually a third type of anxiety dream I’d have, from time-to-time. In this one, I’d rent an airplane and go flying, after not having been flying in a very long time. I’d take off, and as I was leaving the runway I’d suddenly realize that I forgot to contact the tower and get a clearance.
Last night, it was none of these.
I haven’t the slightest fear of heights in real life but in my dreams, I am terrified by them for some reason. The last few nights have been plagued by dreams which involve weird or unusual heights. A few nights ago, I dreamt I had taken a wrong turn on the highway and in order to get to where I was going, I had to take a highway that crossed a river (via a bridge) and before the bridge, the highway arched over a skyscraper. It was not a pleasant experience.
Last night, I dreamt that I left my jacket on an outcropping of a building. In order to get it, I had to step outside a window and walk along a ledge and then reach up for it, all the while, seeing a city sprawled dozens (hundreds?) of stories below me. In that dream I remember thinking how particularly frightened I was and at the same time, I was annoyed by this fear. I rationalized it (in the dream) as having worked for too long out on the ledge so that the heights started getting to me.
I wonder what function this has? I am not one who buys into Freudian theories of dreams. My own understanding of the function of dreams is to help commit short term memories to long-term memories, which is what most studies have shown to be true. Still, I find it odd that while I have not the slightest qualm about heights in real-life, I am unnerved by them in my dreams.
Last night I had one of my semi-annual funny dreams that woke me up laughing. It also woke up Kelly, who was not as amused as I was, probably because Zach was sleeping between us. (He’d woken up hungry at 4:30 am and we brought him into bed, fed him and let him fall asleep there.)
What was so funny this time? In the dream, my brother, Doug, had a box of coffee, about a cubic foot in size. The coffee had solidified into a kind of jelly, like gravy does when you refrigerate it. He was being silly with his daughter, and said, “Hey, watch this!” He then proceeded to pretend to drink the coffee from the box. Except the coffee slid out and exploded on the carpet. And I feel to pieces, laughing.
I still thought it was funny when I woke up this morning, seeing the image of that block of congealed coffee exploding on the carpet. Kelly’s response this morning probably sums it up best:
“I guess you had to be there,” she said.
Originally published at Jamie’s Blog. Please leave any comments there.
Now that Zachary is sleeping through the night, I am finally getting more than 3 hours of sleep at a time. This means that for the first time in nearly 8 months, I’ve started dreaming again. Boy, have I ever! It’s as if eight months of nightly dreams were packed in my brain under extremely high pressure and now that there’s an opening, they are blowing through it. I’m having dozens of dreams a night, most of which I don’t remember. To be honest, it’s rather exhausting. I don’t know how Scott Edelman does it.
There is one recent dream which I do recall at least parts of: I was talking with Stephen King. We were at his house and talking about writing. On a small desk off to the side of his office (which in my dream was very art deco) was an old, old typewriter. I went to look at it and he warned me not to touch it because it was very old. I told him that I, too, have an old typewriter (mine is a Royal Quiet De Luxe much like this one.) King then asked me if I’d built my typewriter. No, I told him, I hadn’t. It turns out he built his (though how it could be very old is only supported by dream logic). And when I took a closer look, I saw that it was made entirely out of old Tyco model-train railroad track pieces.
I am enjoying these nights of uninterrupted sleep, but I must admit that I am looking forward to the pressure in my brain becoming equal with the world outside and the volume and pace of dreaming returning to normal.
Originally published at Jamie’s Blog. Please leave any comments there.
If I am not mistaken, today is ANALOG/ASTOUNDING’s 79th birthday. For those who don’t know, ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION is the longest continuously running science fiction magazine around. It started up in 1930 (when my Grandpa was 10 years old!) and is still going strong today. (In the 1960s, the name was changed to ANALOG). It is usually considered to be the "major" science fiction magazine market.
On a related note, I have a story that’s been out at ANALOG for 31 days now (that’s longer than any story I’ve ever submitted there, but I attribute that to the holidays). Last night, I had a dream that I received a "rejection slip" from Stanley Schmidt, editor of ANALOG for 30 years now. What was strange about it was that it was a long, handwritten note (several pages) with questions about the story scrawled in between references to various articles on the science contained within the story. There was not a word saying that the story was accepted or rejected. This is interesting because mabfan, in a radio interview, described getting a similar letter from Stan and not knowing whether this meant Stan wanted a rewrite or not. To me, it’s just a sign that the submitted story is in my mind. One other thing about the dream: in his note, Stan asked "What happened to Norman?" (Norman is the protagonist in the story)–implying that the ending was not clear. This is contrary to the actual story where it is very clear (to me) what happens to Norman.
Heading off to go shopping now. Hoping to get some writing in later today.
I had a bitterly sad dream last night. I’m sure I know the cause of it: I watched Randy Pausch’s “Time Management” lecture yesterday, and I’m certain that his circumstances contributed to the dream.
In the dream, the Norm half of vickyandnorm had been diagnosed with a terminal disease and in the strange, dream-like fashion in which time is compressed and altered, he knew that he had only one more day to live. The entire gang gathered at some place by the sea to say goodbye. strausmouse was there with rmstraus, kruppenheimer was there. Vicky was there, of course. I can’t remember if Andy was there or not. In general, everyone seemed happy and was trying to keep their spirits up, but I did so only through the greatest difficulty. I kept thinking of how Vicky must feel, and inevitably, it brought me to tears. I remember at one point hugging Lisa, she telling me that it was all going to be okay. But I couldn’t look at Norm. I would glance over at him when I thought he wasn’t looking and find him looking back at me, and then we’d both look away.
This scene went on for quite some time, with people joking, laughing, crying, talking. Finally, I summoned the courage to get up and say goodbye to Norm. His back was to me and he was talking to someone (Lisa, perhaps). I tapped him on the shoulder and when he turned around, I was stunned to find out that it was not Norm that was sick, but my brother, Doug. I don’t remember anything after that. I must have awakened from the dream. Still, it’s left me with a strange feeling all morning, and five or six hours later, I still haven’t been able to shake the feeling.
Eventually, I fell asleep last night. At some point, I had a rather remarkable dream. I was standing on some other planet (perhaps the moon, but I don’t think so). The Earth rose above the horizon casting a bluish light across the sky. It was close enough to make out the continents and oceans and clouds, and what’s more, I could see it rotating on it’s axis. I distinctly recall how bright and blue the oceans looks. It was spectacular.
Yeah, another weird dream last night (they come in waves, I suppose). This one I don’t remember too clearly, but I do remember I was hanging out with four people, all of whom decided to commit suicide by shooting themselves in the head. One of them did it first and was found slumped over a table that had something written on it. The words didn’t seem to make sense to me, but when the others saw it, they went outside and did the same thing.
Later, when I went back into the room where the first had died, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Looking in the mirror, I realized the gibberish that she had written on the table was actually mirror-reversed words that read: “It’s a memory trick.”
For some reason, I think this dream was triggered by last night’s episode of Battlestar Galactica (did they use the phrase, “it’s a memory trick” in the episode? I can’t remember. Ironic, I know.) Even so, the dream was one I had early this morning and did not end up spoiling the pleasant spring night.