Home - Writing - The Million Word March Mail Hal C F Astell - Site Map

A Mid-Spring Night's Dream

Sunday, 6th May, 2001

Due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, I got woken up at around half past two this morning. It was OK - my girlfriend had promised to ring when she got home, and circumstances decreed that she couldn't do this until later than she'd have liked. To be frank about it (though I'm not sure which Frank), time zone differences suck.

It did however mean that I got to remember a snippet of the dream I was having, which is something rare enough for me to note.

You see, I almost never remember my dreams.

I know I dream. To be honest, I think I dream more often than I sleep, which is probably not a good idea and probably not always the safest thing in the world. I also think I dream more than once a night, possibly the end result of having a kitten who sleeps with me and requires a well aimed scratch or three at random points during my slumber.

So why don't I remember my dreams? As a fledgeling writer, still early on the road to my million words, they'd surely come in useful. Many a classic piece of writing was the product of a dream, most famously 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'.

Waking up at five in the morning with the full script of last night's dream could give me a story a day, of which one or two may be worth keeping. My imagination would be far happier, I'm sure, as it probably feels far too neglected as it is.

I can see imagination's hands on its hips. 'Look, buster, I'm here to imagine things for you. I go to all this trouble every day, slaving away to bring you dreams and you can't even be bothered to remember the things! I ought to go on strike! What would you do then?'

Maybe that's where writer's block comes from. It's not a brain fart after all, it's just imagination having a hissy fit. The trouble is it isn't that easy to find its shop steward and how can you avert a strike without negotiation? I guess it'd just get bored on strike, and boredom is not a natural state for imagination.

It would be nice for me to see what results I'm getting though. It's fine to have imagination slaving away, but it could be getting up to all sorts of hijinx and I'm not there to join in. Well I am there to join in, but I can't remember. It's not much fun misbehaving if you don't remember it. The memory is half the fun.

It could be that imagination is protecting me, as dreams are supposed to be an insight into the psyche. If I could remember all my dreams, I might just understand a little more about myself, though of course that could be the realm of King Nightmare instead. Was it Freud or Jung who wrote about the interpretation of dreams? That's another trivia question I always get wrong. It was Freud or it was Jung, that's all I remember. Or maybe it was Freud when he was Jung. Whichever, someone wrote the textbook and I can't apply the knowledge.

A pox on imagination! But maybe I'm being too harsh: I have insufficient data here of course. Maybe imagination is doing its utmost to bring me my dreams and its actually the Sandman who's blocking them from my view. I certainly sleep enough for that to be the case. Maybe imagination has my dreams all laid out for me in cartoon storyboards, awaiting my flick to glimpse through them, but I can't see for all the damn sand in my eyes.

Who knows where the stumbling block is? I probably dreamed where the stumbling block is but the stumbling block blocked it from my sight. So a pox on stumbling blocks instead and an apology to imagination.

Which brings me back to last night. I have a snippet, a mere snippet, that's all, but it's enough to intrigue the heck out of me. What was the context? What was the background to the dream that unfolded like this?

You see, I was in a room. I'm not sure how I was in a room, as I vaguely remember being on a train. I had to get from point A to point B but I had to go via point C to pick up my kitten, not that I have a clue why my kitten wasn't right there in point B where I'd left her. But back to the room. it was populated by six people - myself and five ladies.

No, no, no! Not that sort of dream! Please! Maybe you should examine your own psyche too.

One of the ladies was trying to get me to dance, rather forcefully I might add, as if to scare off the others from beating her to it. The implication was that some plan or other would go into effect if only she could get me to dance. Two of the others didn't want anything to do with her and backed off straight away, but the other two looked like they would be happy to pick a fight over it.

'Fighting over li'l ol' me?', said the wascally wabbit. But no, this wasn't suggesting I was important or anything. I think she just wanted to kill me. Of course that could suggest that I am indeed important, but in the wrong sort of way. Maybe I'm just paranoid.

I'm not sure, of course, quite how a plot on my life could only take effect if I was dancing with the assassin, unless I misunderstood a subtle point here and it wasn't a plot on my life but on those watching who would have died laughing. I have two notoriously flat feet and a tendency to dance in ever decreasing circles, requiring extra talent on the side of my partner.

Maybe the rest of the dream would have given me the answer, but if it had then I probably wouldn't have seen it, because the dream would have been complete.

Is this the trick I should be following then? Get into a routine of sleeping at exactly the same time every night and getting myself rudely awakened at a set point so as to find out the plot of my dream just before it disappears from view in a puff of logic? If I miss the right time, then I'll just adjust for the next day and gradually finesse it down to hijack the damn Sandman just as he's about to do his job.

Soon I'd get to see the whole film and just miss the credits. Why can't dreams be like old black and white movies that have the credits first. That would do the trick! As long as it was just the credits that I missed, and not the finale. Missing the finale and remembering the rest would be ever so annoying, just like reading a detective novel with the last page missing.

Did the butler do it after all? And if butlers do it all the time, then why do people still have butlers? It smacks of recklessness to me. Life insurance should be doubled if you have a butler, leading of course to the subtle alteration that yes, the butler did it, but he was paid to by the victim. Nah, Fletch beat me to that one.

Tony Hancock fashioned a whole half hour comedy show about a missing last page, prompting the invention of the last location in my work-in-progress children's novel, The Last Page Bookshop that contains no page before the last one. If you're dying of curiosity, ring The Last Page Bookshop where you'll find your last page at last! Maybe I should have it run by the last page in the kingdom. If the world got rid of butlers, pages would soon follow.

Of course, writing about The Last Page Bookshop would open up a whole new discussion: what if the last page read:

*this page left intentionally blank*

I'm still trying to wrap my logic around that one.

I think there's a solution, but maybe I just dreamt it. Sigh.

Home - Writing - The Million Word March Mail Hal C F Astell - Site Map