Saturday, May 12, 2007

Other people's dreams are boring

But one's own dreams are full of mad invention and glowing images, if only one could convey them in words.
Fold was based on a dream, one of those half-awake dreams I have when trying to snatch a little more sleep before morning forces its way in. I dreamed of being able to fold myself up into utter flatness, slide out of the way into some crevice and hide. The ending with the books, that came from another dream, which may be one reason why a couple of readers have felt that the ending didn't quite fit. Oh well.
There was, you may note, very little plot in either of those dreams, not much more than a conceit--the trick of folding yourself, memories torn from books. That made them unusual, since my dreams (those I remember) suffer from an overabundance of plot, not to mention an overstuffed sets-and-effects budget.

A few mornings ago the cat woke me from one of my more plot-laden dreams.
The daughter of field-anthropologists had her apartment wall explode, and there entered a young woman (possibly an angel, at any rate not quite mistakeable for human) who had with her a stunted demon, all head and stumpy legs, carried in her backpack.
The angel and the demon were on the trail of some other being, never clearly described or explained (my dreams could use more info-dumps) but of some malevolent intent. The trail led to the informants who had told folktales and superstitions to the heroine's(?) parents. The daughter had the habit of identifying (seemingly) everyday events by their motif-index numbers, and no, I don't know how I managed to remember those in the dream.
Clearly, it was the fairly-standard structure of racing off to warn people, neck-and-neck with the baddie. This isn't uncommon for my dreams, which often require me or the me-figure to warn people of something or other. An invasion of the undead is a popular favourite, with floods a distant second.
I'm pretty sure this ties in with my personal anxiety-dream. While I may have exams or find myself naked in dreams, that doesn't make me anxious, because I've always tested well (bright but lazy) and was raised without a nudity-taboo. What does leave me moaning and twitching and having to be woken up by my husband and reassured is dreams of not being listened to. Being ignored or talked over.
So of course, the task the Fates of Dreamland recurrently lay on me is of going out and being listened to. Because terrible things will happen if I can't make people listen to me.
Really, couldn't I go and find the Three Obscure References of the Isle of Britain instead?

Striking images from the dream: a standard-issue apartment coated with plaster-dust and lumpy with rubble, a big-headed Flemish-style devil stumping about impatiently; a black man in overalls ploughing a field by night, his eyes glowing red and his wife and son weeping to watch; running down a road towards the round yellow light-patches of fairground rides, old trees draping their branches just overhead, their roots lumping up the cracked pavement; the slatted wooden deck of an old-style ride lifting up like escalator steps, perhaps part of the ride's function, perhaps not, and people staggering as it lifted. There were more, but that was all I could catch hold of when the cat sat on my chest.
The ploughing scene was narrated by the man's son, and laid out like a double-page comic-book spread with jagged panels. The man and horse, both pitched forward with urgency, in the foreground, lightning in the background. The wife and son in a separate panel, word balloon about how the father, desperate, had bargained with the devil, and lost. I could probably name the artist, with a bit of work.

Might be my next 3-day novel plot, if I can keep the dream/nightmare atmosphere. On the other hand, there are commercialish aspects that make me wonder if it would be appropriate for a semi-literary contest.
It could even be a commercial novel, in theory. Two girls and their demon sidekick on the trail of unspeakable evil? The motif-index quoting might get irritating and have to be dropped, which would sadden me.
But I have other books to finish before I can pay attention to plot bunnies, even if they come to me in dreams.


Chris Azure said...

You have awesome dreams :)

batgirl said...

Thank you! I wish I could provide the video as well as the audio, though.