I've just had some rather peculiar dreams lately. A few days ago I had a rather fun one. There was supposed to be a costume party at my husband's school where the theme was to come as your inspiration. My husband was thinking of going as J.D. Salinger, though he isn't exactly the type. I tried to decide which of my literary inspirations I would go as. Laurie R. King? Too old (sorry, Laurie). Margaret Atwood? Her hair was too curly. A.S. Byatt? Too much discrepancy between her figure and mine. Then I thought of being my favorite character, Mary Russell from the Laurie R. King series and making my husband dress up as Holmes to match. I could wear either a beautiful dressing gown like the ones pictured on the book covers or 1920s attire. But how to make my hair blonde? I was stumped for an answer, and the dream ended there. Pity I didn't get up to the party. I'd have loved to have seen us and our friends in costume.
This night's dream was on the macabre side. For some reason, my mother wanted my grandmother's casket exhumed and transferred to someplace in the mountains of Baguio. She enlisted my husband to load the casket into her car and he and I drove it up there. Thank goodness this isn't legal in real life. There was a priest present who insisted he had to bless the remains. My grandmother was cremated so we decided it was no big deal to open the casket and check on the ashes. So we opened the child-sized metal casket and found what looked like lumpy white flour, pure white with just a sprinkling of fine black powder. Now I recalled that the ashes were originally a very fine cream-colored powder and so I was worried someone had tampered with the casket's contents. I kept this to myself at first, and my husband closed the casket again and went to get a shovel to bury it with. I was in the kitchen preparing soup for the priest, and finally I decided to share my misgivings with him. We got into a philosophical debate about whether it mattered that those were her actual ashes. I think we were unable to resolve this issue, and I woke up.
Note that I do not say the dream ended because I woke up. I'm inclined to think that dreams end because our mind reaches its limits of imagination or a certain boundary between possibility and insanity.
My husband always says I could just write down all my dreams and come up with a fascinating novel. I don't know about that. Some of my dreams are just too peculiar. Some aren't really that exciting, but they are interesting.
I had some of my most exciting dreams when I was pregnant with my first child. These dreams were mostly set at home, but our house always looked vastly different. I guess a psychologist would tell you this was because I was aware the birth of my child would constitute a drastic change in the nature of our home. Sometimes the dreams were set in my childhood home. Mostly our house was still in the same general area but looked different externally, though the internal lay-out was always the same. My favorite was the one where our house looked like a small brown castle, a lot like the Chocolate Lover's store on Quezon Avenue. It had a secret passage that led out the back. So I was in the kitchen cooking one day when the household help (a couple of fictional silly maids) giggled and ran through the secret passage to escape from my dad, who had just come to visit. We had a long conversation and he seemed just about to ask me a favor, when we heard a noise outside and sneaked through the secret passage to investigate.
When I was pregnant with my second child, interestingly most of my dreams were set in shopping malls. Not any particular mall but huge sprawling ones where I would just walk on and on, getting lost. When I was expecting my first child, I spent a lot of time in the mall, partly because there were so many near where I worked then and it was so convenient to walk through them. And of course I did have a lot of baby stuff to buy then. I didn't really need to buy anything for my second child before he was born, so I didn't shop very much in actual life. I hardly went to the mall anymore because I was too busy with my daughter. So why was it in my dreams I was constantly window shopping? Perhaps it was a certain wistfulness brought by a subconscious realization that there was so much that I needed to give my children that couldn't buy. I'm not so sure, really. Any ideas? And any dreams that can top mine for weirdness?
My husband is not only impressed by the peculiarity of my dreams but their lucidity. Very often I can describe every detail of important objects in my dreams, even if these are completely imaginary objects. Possibly being a writer has a lot to do with the sharpness and the strangeness of my dreams. I'd love to know if it's the case with other writers.