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Dean Whitbread 2013

Dean Whitbread 2020

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Written on November 6, 2007, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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I do not recall which curmudgeonly commentator pronounced that there was nothing so boring as hearing other people’s dreams, but I’ve never agreed with that sentiment. Aside from the fact that the psychologist in me (get out, Carl, you’ve been in there long enough) finds the tumult of inner worlds a fascinating landscape to explore, the link between consciousness and unconsciousness, the willed and the unbidden, the instinctive and the planned is at the root of all creativity.

I have a good memory, and bizarrely for a person with no psychology training, a tendency to remember the dreams of others, especially those people close to me, but not exclusively. In the last two days I have been told of three dreams, one of which was a second-hand account of a sibling’s dream, which are all striking and somehow resonating the bell of my own mind.

Dreams in their semi-randomness seem often to reveal pre-occupations and neuroses, if not obsessions. Obsession, like paranoia, is a much misunderstood term and an often too casually applied definition. When people talk about their obsessions what they mostly mean is neurosis, the dents on the mind left by traumas which, unresolved, cause the twitch, the facial tic, heightened states of anxiety, even phobia. Mild neurosis, shallow but persistent psychological imprinting, is suffered by many, obsession by very few. Seeing people in the grip of genuine obsession is enough to make you think twice about using the word lightly.

My mother’s neuroses were several, but many of them are resolved now, or at least less constricting. One thing that remains however is the claustrophobia which derives (we think) from being in bomb shelters. “Open the door,” she’d suddenly yell, “you know I hate being shut in!” She was quite open about it and without shame, demanding that we accomodate her. The crude semi-submerged Andersen shelters offered blast protection and some respite from falling masonry, that was about it. It must have been terrifying, hearing bombs drop and knowing that a direct hit would be the end. So this is an entirely logical neurosis, with an easy to determine cause. Less so the fear of heights, which she managed to pass on to me. Not all heights, in my case, just occasional, very high heights. Sometimes, even on TV I get the pit of the stomach, bollock-tightening sickness which conjures up the dread.

I used to have dreams of falling, especially when i worked on floor 15 of a tower block. Spectacular views, and no fear whilst in situ, but over a period of months I’d awake suddenly in cold sweat with a gasping intake of air: not a nice way to spend the night. I have every so often experienced lucid dreams, and I believe it is possible to encourage and develop lucid dreaming, in which flight is possible – this would be a great remedy. In waking life, I conquered vertigo by climbing Cornish sea cliffs, but not entirely.

So, this morning’s dream was relayed to me about an hour ago by my good friend Egg, who told me a convoluted and dynamic tale of money, bullying and protection with the excellent detail of me stuffing Pierre Cardin shirts into his bag. To avoid the evil school-type bully, David Bailey, he lied, said they were a duvet. See, even in other people’s dreams I have good fashion taste.

Yesterday’s two dreams come via Mrs P who dreamed she was being mauled by foxes. Disturbed, but understandable if you live in a green London suburb. London is full of foxes. I am thinking of starting a campaign to bring back hunting on horseback with hounds, but in cities, where they are needed. The third dream was also relayed to me by Mrs P whose brother dreamed the very same night that he was being mauled by puffins. As she told me this in a London street, her face lit up and we fell about laughing. That’s the fraternal difference showing through: the clever urban predator versus the swimming, tunneling seabird. As for the mauling, bite marks, beak marks, you pays your money, you takes your choice. Except, we don’t choose our dreams, do we? If we could pay to have dreams we wanted to have, someone would make a fortune. In that uncontrolled space, dreams choose us, they find us to show us things about ourselves which sometimes leave us confused, sometimes enlightened, and sometimes most marvellously amused.

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This thing has 4 Comments

  1. Laurie
    Posted 6 November, 2007 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Oddly enough, I read something recently where the person was commenting about their disinterest in hearing about other people’s dreams. I find dreams fascinating.

  2. La Sirena
    Posted 6 November, 2007 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Oh, wow! What an excellent post, Deek. Much of what you elucidate here, have been themes for me the last few days. Synchronicity and whatnot, I guess.

    Oddly, a friend and I were discussing last night how ideas and creation aren’t so much an individual’s invention as a mainfestation. Imagine it as the artist as an antenna — therefore, it would kind of follow that we’re discussing the vivid dreams we had on Sunday here in Chicago, while you folks are discussing your’s in London, and an ant dreams all of us into existence on a sun-drenched stone at the shore of the Tigris-Euphrates…or some other such nonsense.

  3. Twit
    Posted 6 November, 2007 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Interesting post.

    Me ditto with Laurie also.

    Does anyone else ever dream about blogland, or am I just fucked up?

  4. Indigobusiness
    Posted 7 November, 2007 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    That’s more like it, D.

    I think Sirena is onto something with that ‘artist as antenna’ bit.

    Here’s something you might find painfully interesting. Nightmarish.


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