Lately I've been keeping a dream journal. If I can remember to write soon after waking up, I tend to remember a lot of detail. In my recent blog post How Art May Save Us From Ourselves, the part about elephants being penned and painted and a slender earnest beautiful woman trying to set them free was from a recent dream of mine.
In earlier times, people believed that dreams were messages from God or from the dead or other folks. I suppose some people may still believe such things. Why not, if they believe in horoscopes and haunted houses and prophecies from Nostradamusand so forth? Freudbelieved they were a key to better mental health. My attitude toward them is an existentialist one similar to my attitude toward many other things: I don't know how important they are, but they're interesting.
Some highlights from recent dreams of mine:
I was among a large group of people, mostly artists, being driven around in some downtown from one opening, reception or similar event to the next. At first I was underdressed to the point of wearing no shoes and one sock, but then this problem was somehow resolved. A tall handsome painter wearing a tux who looked like Brendan Fraser and may have been Brendan Fraser was accompanied by a small woman who was his art agent and who shouted unpleasant things at him, into a cell phone and elsewhere, just an all-round unpleasant person. People were carrying a two-sided painting by the tall artist, with a full-length portrait of Julian Sand on each side, incorrectly labeled "JULIAN TEMPLE" in large bright block letters on each side. Our group found itself first in the extremely metallic-looking lobby of a huge skyscraper, and then inside a vast apartment high up inside this skyscraper which in great contrast to the lobby was very warmly furnished in wood and other earth-toned things, and went up for several stories, with open-aired spaces going up the full height of the apartment, sometimes with stairs, sometimes with ladders or other fun things to climb.
I dreamed I was playing basketball on a very large court in the courthouse of a hotel or motel, in a pick-up game with large groups of people, many more than five a side, none of whom was dressed to play basketball. Some wore suits, others casual street attire. No-one else but me seemed to be taking the game very seriously, which annoyed me greatly.
I dreamed I was in the middle of a big flea market which was either under a tent or in a large dimly-lit building, and Lindsay Lohan was figure-skating with a partner through the crowd. I was amazed to see that Lindsay could figure-skate in addition to all of her other talents. I was annoyed that the crowd generally ignored her, not even moving out of her way, which made what she was doing even more impressive. I'm no expert on figure-skating, but I was impressed. Her costume wasn't the greatest, a green satin minidress, but she looked very strong and healthy, which was a relief to me, as I've been very concerned about Lindsay's health since she went through that deathly-skinny phase a few years ago. In the dream it didn't strike me as strange that Lindsay and her partner were ice-skating on a surface which didn't seem to be ice for all of us flea-market shoppers, who were walking and not slipping on ice.
I dreamed I was a "Roman" conquering "Gaul," although the conquering seemed to consist of pleading with individual French people who mostly ignored me, and we all appeared to be in 1950's Paris or a good imitation thereof. A large group of beautiful female medical students in long 1950's style skirts came walking toward and past me out of a medical school in the Sorbonne, all carrying books under their arms. The entrance to the medical school had a 1950's, Frank-Lloyd-Wright, spacious and glassy look. I and several other people rode in an enormous Citroën around the edges of Paris rooftops.
I dreamed I was caught in the midst of a cultural conflict of some sort which sprawled over several boroughs of New York City. It was not clear what people were fighting about. It may have had to do with ethnic resentments, or women's rights, or sexual orientation, or all of those things and more. The threat of physical violence seemed to be constantly "in the air," as they say, but luckily, at least where I was, the conflict was waged mostly in the form of a game which resembled basketball in that a ball was thrown at a painted totem roughly the size of a basketball backboard. And in some cases the totem seemed to be mounted on a pole or over a garage door at about the height of a basketball backboard. But sometimes, as on a totem pole, the totems were stacked from the ground up. There was one miniature version of such a totem pole, about a foot high altogether, inside a casing of bars, and one had to throw the ball -- more marble-sized in this case. Usually they were similar to basketballs -- at the totems through the bars of the casing.