I had terrible nightmares last night.
I can’t remember what most of them were about, but in one I was associating with a mutant frog human and pretending to be one so she wouldn’t hurt me. She didn’t look much different from an ordinary human. Young, punk, wearing a dark hoodie. The two of us had broken in to someone’s house where other mutants had been partying the night before. She disapproved of me for some reason. I believe she was beginning to suspect I was not a mutant. I was trying to make frog noises in my throat to convince her, but I wasn’t doing a good job. The mask was slipping.
My dreams for the last few months have been vivid, and rather unusual. On May 15th I dreamed that I had invented a time machine and that I must travel back to the early part of the 20th century to soothe “Mahler’s frenzy” — a line I pinched, even in my dream, from the poet Adrienne Rich. I had two dreams of time travel that week. The night of the election I dreamed I was in a coffin filled with blue confetti (no interpretation necessary there.) On May 2nd I dreamed I was being stalked by my psychiatrist, who was in love with me. It goes on.
Dreams have always been important to me. I do not believe they are particularly prophetic, or meaningful. They are simply a way for my unconscious to work out issues that trouble my conscious mind. When I was a kid mostly all I ever had were nightmares, many of them recurring, or sad dreams in which I lost something dear to me (often my favourite Teddy Bear) and could not find again. My parents often had to come to my room at night to calm me in what I suppose now would be called night terrors. I don’t regret the dreams. I have a good imagination, and the price we pay for that is that we can’t always control it. I’m also afraid of the dark, and enclosed spaces, and bugs, and the possibility of teenagers coming into my house and tying me up and robbing me.
I frequently dream of these things too. These days I keep a dream journal. As soon as I wake up I write my nightmares, or any dream, down so I will not forget it. When I was writing Still Life With June I dreamed about a work of art called The Hand Of Judas which went into the book pretty much unchanged from how it came to me in my sleep. So since then, I keep dream records. You never know when something will come in handy.