Tag: dreams

Eight months of dreams just waiting to escape

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.

Happy Birthday ANALOG/ASTOUNDING (and a related dream)

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. 

The sad dream

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.

Out of this world

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.

The multiple suicide dream

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.

The tooth dream-within-a-dream dream (and why I still don’t buy silly interpretations)

Last night I had a dream that my front left incisor came out. I understand that dreams about losing teeth are among the most common–more on that later. What was most interesting about the dream is that I was with some people–one of them may very well have been strausmouse. Holding my tooth, I remember being incredibly annoyed by the whole thing. I turned to strausmouse and said, “I’m incredibly annoyed by this whole thing. It would be convenient if this were a dream.”

“Dreams about losing teeth are among the most common,” strausmouse said.

I woke up from the dream, and in fact, I hadn’t lost my tooth. It was still there, but it was loose. I imagined I must have dreamed the dream-within-a-dream because of my loose tooth. Eventually, I woke up from the top-level dream and my front left incisor (and all my other teeth) were perfectly intact.

Knowing how herr doktor strausmouse is unable to resist any opportunity to flex his dream interpretation muscle, I decided to beat him to the bunch. I would, I figured, write an interpretation of my own dream, based on what I could find on the Internet.

I didn’t get very far because I kept laughing at how ridiculous the interpretations really were. One site encourages that you ask how you feel about the dream. It says that typically, this kind of dream produces a helplessness or a level of anxiety. At losing a tooth? I was annoyed, that’s how I felt. I was annoyed at losing a tooth. It seemed like a ridiculous thing to have happen.

It is also suggested that the dream might symbolize fear of failure or embarrassment. I rejected this offhand. I have received over 100 rejection slips and often write about the fact that I receive them. Fear of failure would prevent me from sending out another story. Embarrassment would prevent me from writing about it.

It could symbolize financial concerns (I have none out of the ordinary) or abandonment issues (none that I am aware of). Neither of these make any sense to me.

In fact, there is one interpretation that I can think of that fits the bill, and it’s the same as always: my brain processing short-term memories. The other day, after watching The Martian Child, I was explaining to Kelly about recursive science fiction. In response to that memory, my brain produced a recursive dream and the best it could come up with, was that I knew full well that people often dream about losing their teeth. Thus my dream-within-a-dream.

That satisfies me a whole lot more than the alternatives.

The George and Gracie Dream

I has a strange dream last night. First the setting: my parents, it seemed, owned a beach house of some kind (parts of which were being redone). I remember standing on the beach in the back yard while holding one of Mom’s golf clubs. A wave came by and pulled me into the ocean and for a few minutes, I lost the club (much to Mom’s consternation). Eventually, however, we found it, and all was well.

The strange part of the dream, if that wasn’t strange enough, was that George Burns and Gracie Allen were neighbors, and they frequently came over, though I had never personally met them. Well, this time, I was there when they came over and we sat around a table, and they proceeded to tell me a story about my grandparents that I simply wouldn’t have believed, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was George Burns and Gracie Allen telling me the story.

Apparently, what I’d heard about my Grandma was not entirely true. Growing up, she was actually a Vaudeville actress. She was a not a terribly famous actress, but she did well enough to make a living out of it. My Grandparents traveled quite a bit and would come out to L.A. to visit us, or go to Utah, or go to Florida on various cruises, etc., and apparently (according to Mr. Burns and Ms. Allen) all that traveling was due to my Grandpa’s acting schedule for shows that she would appear in. In a way it was disconcerting. I always thought they were traveling to visit us, but I guess if the acting allowed them to travel, then good for them. But still, my Grandma an actress?

Turns out that George and Gracie knew my grandparents pretty well and told all kinds of funny stories about them–George Burns funny–which nearly had me in tears. In fact, when I finally woke up from the dream, it was because I woke myself up laughing. This has happened to me from time-to-time, but never has it been quite as memorable as this.

The lucid dream

In an among the vast array of semi-medicated dreams I had last night, was the extremely rare “lucid” dream. A lucid dream occurs when the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. It is not when the dreamer hopes that they are dreaming, as in a nightmare when you say to yourself, “I wish I were dreaming” (and it later turns out you were). Instead, it is the sudden realization that you are dreaming and you can take control of the the dream.

The lucid part last night came when I was in a bookstore or library of some kind. I caught the title of a book. I don’t remember what it was now, but in the dream, I specifically remember committing the title to memory. I once read somewhere that one way to tell you are dreaming is to read something, look away, and read it again. If the thing has changed, it’s an almost sure sign that you are dreaming. (Because of the way the mind work, things are not static in dreams, but change rapidly as different memories are triggered.) I remembered this as I passed by the book and decided to test it. I stopped, went back to the book, and looked at it again. Sure enough the title had changed and I immediately began to shout out that I was dreaming. I decided to run down a long corridor, shouting this over and over again, just to prove I was in control. After that, the dream must have ended because I don’t remember much.

Now here’s the most interesting part to me. While I was dreaming, I was certain beyond any doubt that I was in control of my actions. I decided to run down the corridor. I decided to shout out the mantra over and over again. It was as clear and obvious as my decision to go for pancakes this morning. And yet, when I woke up this morning and thought about the dream, it seemed to me that I hadn’t decided it at all. The free will I had in the dream was noting more than an illusion, created by the dream. The dream was still very much movie like, and while I was an “actor” in that movie, I was merely following a pre-defined script. It made me wonder if anyone actually had a lucid dream, or if lucid dreams are nothing more than a wishful concept that allows people to act out their fantasies, but is forever unattainable.

Long night

I went to be early last night and lights were out by about 9:30 PM, but it was still a long night. I fell right asleep, and slept well until about 1:40 AM. I woke up after a strange dream (involving a massive tidal wave that I barely escaped by climbing to the top of a building) and thereafter, had trouble getting back to sleep. It wasn’t the dream. It was just that I kept tossing and turning. I slept intermittently until about 3:30 AM and then I finally gave up, turned on the light, and read until 4:40 AM. At that point, I tried to get a little more sleep–and did manage to fall into a deep sleep. Alas, by 5:30 AM it was time to get up.

So, while I was in bed early last night, I didn’t get as much sleep as I had hope and I’m a little groggy this morning. I’ve got 3 hours of meetings today, beginning at 11 AM, so hopefully, I will be more awake by then.

Heads up!

This is both strange and funny. I didn’t sleep much last night. For some reason, I just couldn’t sleep. I tried for a while, and finally, turned on the light and read until I finally could sleep. The result is that I got very little sleep. I was up this morning at 5:30, came into work as usual. Instead of reading until 7 AM, as I normally do, I napped, as I do during my lunch hour. Usually, when I nap at lunch, I fall into a pretty deep sleep. This morning, in the space of half an hour or so, I had several strange and even funny dreams.

Dream 1. I dreamed that I came into work, napped, woke up, went down for a bagel, and then stopped to chat with someone. Of course, I was sleeping the whole time, and I was a little disoriented when I woke from this dream, having already dreamed the routine that I was planning on going through.

Dream 2. I dreamed that I came into work, napped, woke up, and found crowds of people outside, each of whom had a special ID badge on, here for some sort of special study. They didn’t have enough conference room space so they were putting people in open offices. My door had been closed so they didn’t use mine, but as soon as I left my office to get a bagel and chat with someone, I came back to find people sitting there waiting to resume whatever it was they had been doing. I woke up and of course, I was alone in my office and no such thing had happened.

Dream 3. I dreamed that I came into work, napped, woke up, went out in front of the building to get some air and the strangest (and really rather funny) thing happened. Something in the sky caught my eye, I looked up behind me and saw a package come crashing down out of the sky, bounce a few times along the sidewalk, and finally come to a stop. Turns out it was a FedEx package. I’d heard a rumor once (urban legend?) that packages sometimes fall out of airplanes and come crashing down to the earth. Luckily, not one was hit by it. Here’s the funny part. It came to rest right in front of a Fed Ex pick-up box and there just happened to be a Fed Ex delivery person emptying the box at the time this packaged crashed to the ground. He saw it too. I watched him walk over to it, pick it up, inspect it for damage, and then toss it into his truck. I thought it was pretty cool that the package would get to where it was going, even after falling out of a plane and crashing to the ground.

All three of these dreams happened in the space of half an hour. It’s interested that all three were rather self-conscious dreams (dreams that I had come in, gone to sleep and finally woken up) because on the train ride into work this morning, I was reading the chapter on consciousness in Up From Dragons. I think that may have triggered some of the dreams.

Or who knows, maybe this whole blog entry is part of the dream.