Remembering dreams

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My dreams are back, those stories I tell myself at night. I don’t believe the stories ever left, but for most of the last four or five years, I have woken up with no remembrance of my dreams.

 

For years I wrote down my dreams in the back of my journals. My day-time thoughts began on the first page, my night-time thoughts began on the last page, and each moved toward the other, claiming pages until the book was full.  It seemed fitting that my dreams were hidden in the back, behind my more lucid thoughts.

 

On Tuesday night I dreamt about a good friend in Japan. I still carry some of the joy of seeing her again, if only in my brief dream. My emotions don’t seem too concerned with the fact that I didn’t actually meet her face to face. It must be like this when a mind is in decline. People are forgotten, the world grows strange, but the emotions are remembered, as familiar in this singular reality as they were in the shared reality of the former life.

 

Before the world spun me old, I lived as a young woman. That was decades ago. I remember dreaming that I was old and was riding a bus through an unfamiliar city. I sat next to a window and watched the world go by. When the bus stopped at a light, I saw a good friend standing on the street, still her young self. When our eyes met, we both smiled and, for a long moment, I couldn’t tell who I was or whose dream it was. Was I an old woman dreaming about her as a young woman, or was she a young woman dreaming about me as an old woman? When the bus stopped, the doors opened and I got off in the room of morning light where I lived life.

 

For the last three nights, I have remembered the stories I told myself in dreams. I stopped journaling three years ago when I lost my words. Writing this blog has helped me find them again. Maybe that’s why my dreams came back.

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Photo courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible by Mrs. Alexander Hamilton Rice and Linda Adair Miller <http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=32331&gt;

51 thoughts on “Remembering dreams

  1. I dreamed a poem once. It was recited to me in my dream by someone named Peter…which had been the name years before of my imaginary friend (well, he was Petey in those days). I remembered part of it on awaking, and wrote it down–trying to hold onto the mood of exaltation that the poem had given me in my dream. There’s nothing about the poem that resembles my writing style except the last two lines, which I tagged on when I wrote it down. Shades of Kubla Khan? No opium involved, though. I continue to think of that dream as an event in another yet actual life….Perhaps your bus dream was too.

  2. Memory is such an individual and illusive quality. Quite a weaving you’ve written today. Maybe that’s why I’m blogging too. Trying to find something but I don’t know what it is yet.

  3. As a child, I dreamed I could fly. But it was so real, that it became a memory. It’s still with me even as I write this sentence — I can see every detail. Maybe I did fly…

    • I have a memory of some plastic ducks becoming real ducks and walking about a yard down the street. It seems like it really happened, so I don’t know if I dreamed it or only imagined it.

  4. I hope it is a very good feeling to have your words back. For a very short time (weeks only) I wrote down my dreams – I could never make sense of them. But maybe that was for the best. After reading your post I think I might leave a notebook and a pen by my bed.

  5. I hope it is a very good feeling to have your words back. For a very short period (weeks only) I wrote down my dreams. I could never make any sense of them but that may have been for the best. Having read your post I think I might leave a pen and notebook by my bed.

    Apologies if this is a duplicate comment – I am not sure if my first one was posted.

    • I know we all have REM sleep, so we all must dream. It’s interesting that sometimes we remember and sometimes we have absolutely no recollection.

      I still remember your posts when you were under the influence of Nyquil. 🙂

  6. There are several dreams that I have over and over. I also have the dream that I am flying. That’s a wonderful one. It is interesting that the visual style of dreams has brought the written word back to you. Do you see words as you dream? Hear someone narrate a story? I am fascinated by dreams. Many of mine are actually in a movie format with titles and credits. So far, no subtitles.

    • I think I have the dreams that most people have; I’m part of a story, sometimes I’m me, sometimes I’m someone else. No narrations and no visible words, just spoken words, although sometimes I read something.

      How fascinating that you have titles and credits. That is interesting.

    • Wow, you are the only other person I have come across to have this too! I only had it once, that the credits went up at the end of my dream. Sadly, I never knew who was in it. It may not have been in a language I understand.

      I once had a dream where I was aware of the text, not like subtitles, but as you are aware of both text and images when reading. Only the dream was written in this code alphabet I’d invented. Very weird. And sometimes if there’s a book in the dream that I look at, the text keeps changing so I can’t read it. I love my dreams!

  7. I always try to remember my dreams. They are so clear the moment I wake up, but each second that goes by dissolves them… Unless I concentrate very hard on them as I get out of bed and begin my day, they are gone by the time I get out of the shower.

  8. Glad your dreams have returned. Years ago when I looked young I did some dream work and learned that I needed to honor my dreams by writing them down. Then, my dreams feel appreciated and visit me more often.

  9. hello, yearstricken,

    i like the way you put this – “Before the world spun me old, I lived as a young woman.”
    glad your dreams are finding you back… ^^

    btw, i wrote two compositions before – one’s about the photographer in our town and the other’s about a woman writer wondering what to write. that was four years ago and three years before I started blogging (in Tagalog language). curiously, my jobs are usually about writing. but more often, they’re the dry and technical kinds. methinks blogging helps us reconnect with our old selves and find the words we thought were missing… 🙂

    • Thank you so much for reading. I do think that writing a blog helps stimulate us to write more. Glad, too, that it has allowed you to reconnect to another part of yourself. Writing is a kind of exploration of the world and the self.

  10. Loved your dream… what an interesting one for a young woman to have, and reminiscent of the poem about the man who dreams he’s a butterfly. For many years I believed that I dreamt only very rarely… even after I heard that factoid that we all dream… and then I began to realize that I didn’t want to know what I dreamed about… but after I realized that, I started remembering them now and then, in a version for beginners… I’m truly grateful to be old… life is so much easier to take these days…

    • You’re right, ShimonZ, that sometimes we don’t want to remember what we’ve dreamt, or, perhaps, we are not ready to remember them.

      Some days I am still surprised when I see myself in the mirror: I don’t feel as old as I look. 🙂 I have grown more contemplative as I’ve aged and I don’t get as worked up about things as I used to. I like that part.

  11. Whatever the cause, how glad I am that your dreams have returned to speak to you again–and that you are willing to pass along the tales so that we can dream with you. This post is so wonderfully evocative of the experience of dreaming as well as of a specific, if unclear, storyline that I feel as though I’ve just awakened from dreaming it myself.

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