Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Dream Diary: Of Damon, Guitars, and Open Doors

I had a dream this morning in which a member of my church, an older lady, came to my house to deliver a mechanical device I had bought. There's nothing very special about this set-up, as far as dreams go, but there are some things you need to know in order to understand the context:

  • This lady experienced some financial difficulties a few years ago and tried to interest me in a product she was selling. However, I did not have the money myself.
  • In the dream, she was working for Google or some other high-tech company. She wore a uniform consisting of a white shirt, tie, shorts, and cap. She drove a Google (or whatever) van.
  • In the dream, I was living at my old house in St. Joseph, MO. This two-story, 100-plus-year-old house with its high ceilings and two living rooms often appears in my dreams, even though I haven't lived there since 1993.
Anyway, she showed me how to use the device, which we set up in the kitchen. Among its many features, the device auto-tuned my guitar--which thrilled me.

We retired to the living room to settle the account. Another Google (or whatever) employee was there, a friendly older woman whom I showed to the door and watched get in her own Google van and drive away. My church friend lingered, though, and tried to interest me in buying a second device as a gift for someone. Initially, I agreed because I wasn't sure what she was asking. When I realized I would be paying out an extra $189 for the second device and had no idea who I would give it to, I declined.

I returned to the kitchen, picked up my now auto-tuned guitar, and started strumming some riffs I knew. I played the opening to "China Grove" by the Doobie Brothers--an infectious riff but easy to play--but couldn't get the volume on the guitar loud enough. After fiddling with the controls, I returned to the living room, where I thought my friend would be finishing up the account. However, she had left. The front door stood ajar, so I went outside, but her Google (or whatever) van was also gone.


So much goes into dreams. People, objects, and surroundings from different chapters of our lives can combine and collide into new relationships, leaving us wondering how they all fit together and what the dream means. I've read several books and websites on dream interpretation, but none have proved satisfying. The most logical explanation for dreams, I think, is that they simply represent our minds at play: sorting out ideas and information.

Dreams are also the stuff of fiction: they encourage us to defy logic and sense and just "play"--as we used to when we were children (or still do if we haven't fallen victim to the disease known as Growing Up or have children of our own to give us an excuse to play). Dreams exist for no other reason than the joy of playing. But dreams can also tell us a lot about ourselves.


I'm currently writing the sequel to The Power Club; it begins with a dream. Damon, my now 14-year-old protagonist, finds himself seated with his family in a fancy restaurant--but the menu is written in hieroglyphics! Far from being disturbed by this, Damon relishes the chance to explore another language. But then the dream changes, and Damon finds himself among the other members of the Power Club, the group of powered teens he joined in the first book. They want to explore a cave, but Damon fears that if he enters the cave he will lose his power--the ability to create darkness. The others dismiss his fears and run into the cave, leaving Damon behind.

And then the alarm goes off, and it's time for school.

I'm not sure what significance the dream holds in the story yet, but it does reveal a lot about Damon's fears and how he feels about how things ended in the first book (no spoilers!). It also tells us something about what he wants.


Likewise, I'm not sure what my dream reveals--if anything. However, it does expose, albeit indirectly, some of my own wants, fears, and feelings about certain situations. Like Damon, I want my presence in the world to count for something and for my special talents to be recognized. I want to help those close to me but struggle to understand the limits and boundaries of relationships. I also feel sad when people disappear from my life, or when I disappear from theirs (which sometimes happens), without a clear understanding of or resolution to the relationship.

And, like Damon, I sometimes just want to hit the snooze alarm and go back to sleep before being thrust out into a chaotic world where I must make sense of incomplete information and mixed motivations. In a dream, at least, I don't have to pretend I understand anything.

NOTE: The Open ClipArt site says the photo above can be by anybody for any reason whatsoever. That's great, but I always feel an artist or site should be attributed. If you want more information, go to Photo:


Karin Gastreich said...

Hi Greg! I really enjoyed this post. I've paid a lot of attention to my dreams over the years, and even on occasion try to keep a dream journal. If nothing else, they provide some great story ideas & food for thought.

You've set up a beautiful blog! What's the best option for following?

Greg Gildersleeve said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Karin. I've kept a dream journal on and off for several years for much the same reasons: story ideas and things to think about.

I've added a "Subscribe" feature at the top of the page. Thanks for catching that!

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