Friday, April 19, 2013


Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking - I’ve never addressed more than fifteen people and that was at a club meeting - early this morning I found myself dreaming that I was speaking at a high school graduation. When I woke up I remembered a lot of that short but vivid dream; remembered enough that I said to myself: “Self, you ought to write this down.”

I remembered we were sitting in a stretch limo, and I was introducing one Superintendent of Schools to another – I don’t even know any Superintendents of Schools!  I was wearing a white, knee length outfit – pleated skirt and navy trimmed sailor-boy top – and though I’ve had an outfit like that, mine was in pink crepe. And I suddenly realized that I had on knee high stockings and everyone would see the tops when I got up on the stage, so I was scrambling to get them off, but then my feet felt icky in my shoes. The high school was in Pennsylvania – I went to high school in New York.  I was up on stage, talking to the audience and trying to get them seated, explaining that there would be a delay in everything because the backstage clock was ten minutes behind the one in the auditorium.  And then I woke up. I wonder where that dream came from. I didn’t read before bed last night, so this dream segued right into the essay I’d already written:

I love to dream.  I usually have great dreams, but they seem to depend on what I read just before bed. I’m not much of a movie-goer, but when I’ve seen a movie that evening it too, of course, influences my dreams. I learned early on never to watch a horror movie – they make for nightmares – as do horror novels. Stephen King is a great writer, but I can’t read any more of his stuff.  The Shining stayed with me for days.
Several evenings I’ve played a game or two of Solitaire on my laptop and I dreamt cards! Not any Alice in Wonderland dream of card games, no, I’m just piling one correct card upon another, boring, boring, red queen on black king, black six on red seven. No good, no good! If I’ve had no chance to read that day my dreams seem to fall back on one of several ‘themes’ I’ve reencountered over the years.
A little bit of self-psychoanalysis here?  Do I love to read because I love to dream?  Maybe. I’ve been surrounded by books all my life. While I do read
non-fiction, I try not to read it last thing before I go to bed.
I’ve read all of authors such as Robertson Davies, Dorothy Dunnett, Diana Gabaldon, Robert Heinlein, P.D. James, Anne McCaffrey, Nora Roberts, and John Steinbeck (in alphabetical order because I like them all).  I’ve read some, not all, of many others.  I estimate that I read 200 to 250, and maybe more books every year.  They contribute to wonderful dreams.
During one teenage summer vacation of about ten weeks – I think it was the summer between my sophomore and junior years, I know it was before I had a summer job - I set out to keep track of the number of books I read: the total was 54. All were classics from the family library.  The longest: War and Peace!  The shortest: oooh, I don’t remember – but I read lots of Twain, the Bronte sisters, some poetry, Lust for Life, some Dickens – I really didn’t care for Dickens – and many more.  It was that summer that I began to notice that my reading found itself reiterated, usually very strangely, in my dreams.  I’ve been a fiction junkie ever since.

1 comment:

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