Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Those urban among you, gentle readers, may not find this image as odd as I did in 1982. Soon I would have some experience of tough neighborhoods in Paris and Rome, then, in some ways tougher, E. St. Louis and Denver, but at the time I had this dream, I knew very little about such places.
When I realized that I was dreaming, I was standing on a dark side street. I looked at my hands, then around at the dark cityscape, in some amazement, since I'd never seen one before. A young man, a bit older than I was at the time, came quickly up to me and said - "You are not safe here." Somehow I knew that he knew I was in a lucid dream. He quickly wrapped me in a blanket, got me off the street and into a room nearby. I wasn't able to speak, or really do anything but be grateful and think about how strange it all was. I wondered if I'd ever get out of the lucid dream and back in my own world again. I had no idea how to do it. Eventually I went back into ordinary sleep and woke up.
That was early in my lucid dream experiments. Later I'd acquire more skill - it takes a long, long time. After I finished work on The Stone Man in 1990, I continued to have occasional lucid dreams, but I ceased actively pursuing them. The result was that they came less often. In the past several years there have been very few.
It would never be out of place to use the opener "Then, suddenly..." as a beginning for a lucid dream, as they always, in my experience, begin suddenly. They're called lucid dreams because of the awareness of having crossed a threshold between dreaming and being conscious of being, as we say, in a dream. It's a philosophical quandary that puts our sense of being in a peculiar kind of jeopardy. Realizations, though they may be prepared in time, come of a sudden.
Suddenly, the other night, I realized that I was dreaming. I was standing in the road about a quarter mile north of dandyland, in the dark, and I decided that since I was dreaming and the dream seemed to be stable, I would fly home. This is a perfectly viable option in dreams and I choose it every chance I get. I read somewhere that flying dreams are sublimated erotic dreams, but that seems a reductionist position to me ~ why should every fabulous sensuality default to sexuality? The usual problem, for me, with flying dreams is that the state of flux brought on by flight tends to accelerate until the forms of the dream become incoherent, or, much the same, I wake up. But this dream was different.
I flew through the darkness, past certain hazards on the way, with space and time all just as you'd expect it to be if you were flying over farmland at night. It was glorious.
When I woke up my first impression was that dreams and art are much about the correspondence and inversion of images.