Dreams (Like Literal Dreams)
Nonfiction. Putting the Psycho in Psychoanalysis. Yeah I'm still doing these.
There are eight things on my bedside table. A mouthguard, a lamp, heavy duty lip balm, a library book about norse mythology, prescription nasal spray, a wanky $10 pen, a whistle (don’t ask), and a little yellow exercise book that I use to journal my dreams.
I’m embarrassed by these things. Except for the lamp, I guess. We’ve all got lamps. As for bad teeth and dry lips and weird bedtime reading materials and cursed sinuses and expensive pens and don’t even ask me about the whistle, well, yeah. I’m embarrassed. I mention the things on my bedside table because I want to start the year off with a moment of (obviously very calculated) vulnerability. Which will hopefully endear me to you. And encourage you to, umm, lower your weapons. So that maybe you’ll be forgiving about the cringiest item on my bedside table, which is the subject of this month’s Egg.
If my house was burning down and I had to sprint back into the flames to quickly get my affairs in order, I would do everything I could do to make sure my Dream Journal caught fire. So that it burned. To dust. To ashes to ashes. To smithereens. I hate that it exists. It’s full of unrepeatable very-late-night ramblings, deeply troubling personal revelations, shaky doodles of imaginary monsters, and bad aquatic punchlines from the (high-rating) nautical-themed breakfast talk show I occasionally dream/host called ‘Boats and Jokes’.
Can you see why I want to set the thing on fire?
I keep the Dream Journal because it’s a requirement of my arts degree. If I don’t write in it, they’ll revoke my qualification and I’ll be even less employable than I already am. The same goes for having a podcast. And smug stationary. And a lot of time on my hands. I also keep the Dream Journal because I think dreams are generally genuinely amazing. They’re streaming, tangential, self-produced movies, visceral and surreal, layered with complexity and narrative nuance, that explore your innermost desires, fears, and ideas for breakfast talk shows.
I can appreciate that self-psychoanalysis of my January dreams might be uninteresting for some people. Okay, maybe for most people. For everyone but me, potentially. For this I can only apologise, and promise to return to the All My Eggs Classics next month.
If you have any idea what the heck the ‘The Classics’ might be, please email or connect with me on LinkedIn as soon as possible.
Welcome back, by the way.
Dream: I pay an (actual) arm and a leg for a machine that makes me move fast. I soon find it’s hard to really hit top speed with only one arm and one leg, but that’s fine, I’m still fast. I’m now playing soccer, and though I’m totally unable to kick the ball because of my amputations I have a lot of fun hyperspeed hopping around the field. I’m approached by a spectator. He’s an undercover recruiter for the ATO. I ask if he meant to say ASIO and he says ‘No,’ then covertly flashes his chartered accountant certification as if it is a top secret document. He wants me to help fight tax fraud using my advanced speed, the actual practical details of which he is unable to provide because they are ‘confidential’. I decline because I want to have more fun playing soccer and am instantly surrounded by police officers in riot gear. The ATO guy points at me, yelling ‘That’s the bastard! That’s the cheating bastard!’ I hop away, fairly spooked.
Analysis: It might seem as if my psyche is trying to teach me a lesson here, about sacrifice and/or the importance of gainful employment, but I honestly doubt my psyche is that switched on. I reckon I just really want to be fast. And okay, yeah, the Australian Tax Office and the taxable income threshold have been in a lot of my dreams recently. But that’s probably for no reason, right? And I’m sure being arrested for choosing fun over a job is just, umm, totally arbitrary and insignificant? Yeah. Yikes.
January 6th, 7th, 13th, 22nd
Dream: Nightmare (recurring) that the bus I’m on is the wrong bus and I can’t get off. It drives me further and further in the wrong direction, through spooky valleys, past a meadow of melting ice sculptures, down into fiery hellscapes with extremely high UV ratings.
Analysis: I was once IRL traumatised by getting on an M54 going the wrong direction. Clearly this bus continues to haunt me. Unless it’s a metaphor? Either way, I wake up from this one doused in sweat, from the stress. Or maybe from the high dream-UV. I cannot explain the ice sculptures.
Dream: I see a vivid dawn.‘Boats and Jokes’ is going to air in fifteen minutes and I can’t find my tie. This is all happening in a pretty turbulent high-tide. I’m on a little boat. And the sea is angry this day, my friends. My executive producer tells me to shut up about the missing tie, and that it’d in fact be better and ‘more boaty’ (sic) if I wore a bintang singlet. She calls me Skipper. But, like, in a sarcastic way.
Analysis: I just don’t think Karl Stefanovic and co. could compete with a nautical-themed morning show that hits all the breakfast programming tropes with the added spice and danger of being broadcast from international waters. You know what I mean? Am I wrong? Should I pitch it to Channel Ten? Am I crazy? Hello? Is this thing on?
Dream: It’s the desert but the sand is crushed crystals that glitter and the sky leaks purple inky threads that are sweet when they touch you. It’s beautiful. Serene. So slow moving that it almost seems still. I am an abstraction, I am only eyes. In the distance great snow capped mountains roll like tumbleweeds. I go up. Flying in loose swirls and it’s not hard work at all. I soar. Float. Sink into weightlessness. Someone or something else is here, and that’s okay, you know?
Analysis: Pretty self-explanatory.
Dream: I’m in Olympus, at a toga party. It’s opulent, decadent, Greek—everything is gold—everyone is gold too, except for me. I try making small talk with the Gods but they’re all busy doing little parlor tricks with their divine gifts. Zapping each other with lightning. Zapping their drinks with lightning. Zapping inanimate objects with lightning. All powers seem lightning-based and a bit unoriginal. Which I mention. Which is a mistake. One of the Gods fires back a ‘Well who the fuck are you?’ It’s hard to say who I am. I can’t answer. Then another God zaps me with lightning, and the world begins to morph into something else, something featureless. Did I die? I’m alone and not quite me. Things, people, and places I love are rapidly racing past. I don’t want to be alone anymore, but the more I move the faster everything moves, so I stop. Lie down. It’s like memory foam concrete. It absorbs my body. Soon the ground softens and I do backstroke through honey. I can’t see anything really, but it feels nice. And I’m swimming towards something. There is a destination. I don’t know what, but I know I’ll know what it is when I get there. I am finally a—BWARRRR! BWARRRR! BWARRRR!
My alarm goes off mid-stroke, and I’m ripped painfully out of the dream. But there’s a moment, a fraction of a second after I hit snooze and roll over and try to dive back into it, where I can see a split in the honey-concrete pool, like a sinkhole but with sharp edges. I try to grab at the image, trying to will myself back into the dream so I can understand. But I’m too awake now. I can’t get back to sleep. I just squirm, fully-conscious, until my alarm goes off again.
Analysis: Every night we dream. Even if we don’t always remember. Memories, hopes, fears, ideas, lies, simulations, absurdity and truth all collapse into a single, streaming narrative that is coherent in the dark. Less coherent in the light, in the morning. Dreams tend to make less sense the further you get away from them. Usually. Almost always. But, every now and then, we dream dreams that really get us. We dream ourselves into careers or romance or metaphors that we didn’t realise we wanted. We dream ourselves swimming towards golden precipices and it makes sense. We dream of being zapped, and we’re glad.
I like to think these every-now-and-then dreams we dream are a chance for us to tell ourselves things we can’t usually say.
A tacky and vague way to end, I know. Sorry. That’s a requirement of the arts degree also.
If you liked this story, it only takes a second to hit the heart icon at the top. You can go back and check out past stories on the proper website, only a few clicks/taps away. Oh and tell your friends. And tell them some of your weird dreams while you’re at it. Or tell me.