All is Illusion

I fell asleep after lunch and dreamed again! I dreamed I was at a science fiction con called "Space Camp Con" - only it was ACTUALLY a hurricane con. The entire con was in a series of rooms constructed on the upper floors overlooking an atrium. In one room, there were people actually watching an endless broadcast of the progress of the hurricane. I got on a two-way radio and spoke to rescuers in an amphibious vehicle that was ploughing through the streets of a drowned city.

I could watch the whole thing on a big screen with cartoon like representations of the characters. I went to another room and saw that a man on TV wearing a protective hat was speaking into a microphone, directing a rescue.

As I said, the rooms of the convention were all in a square opening onto an atrium, and a common veranda, made of wood, runs around the inside, making a common area were all the convention goers are gathering, There's also a scenic lift that opens onto the veranda. I don't know how many stories up it is, but I know that the hotel we're staying with, that atrium isn't an ordinary atrium because it has a huge tree growing through it all the way up from the ground floor to us, a tree with thick gnarled ashen branches ... in fact the tree is Yggdrasil itself, I realize.

As I walk along everyone recognizes me as the one who spoke to the rescuers on the TV. I've become a minor celeb, like a news anchor.

Across from the elevator, a boy with dark hair and a white shirt is standing next to his little sister. Somehow they do not seem to quite belong. The boy says, Can you help me, I am constructing a model of a mediaeval french castle. I say, sure, if you show me what you've built so far. The little sister pipes up, No! You can't show this work to just anyone! The boy says, "It's all right, I've known him since we lived in Baltimore." At that point I realize I'm on the west coast of the US and this must be some time after I moved to California.

He asks me to follow him to where his model is, and I start to do, but I reach the corner room and there is a gap in the hotel. In the corner there is a sort of brick-walled bit of wild terrain with trees and bushes, and a man is speaking into a microphone. 

There is a blackboard leaning against the wall and it appears to be reporting the progress of the hurricane, a list of cities being hit, but sometimes it is also a menu with cakes and pastries — it keeps changing.

The man with the microphone is wearing a protective hat (sort of like a miners hat). Astonished, I realize that HE is the man on the mike I saw on TV, and that the vegetation behind him is a set. I may not have been communicating with rescuers in the flood. All of reality might be an illusion.

As I come to grips with this cosmic paradigm, I wake up...

Central Casting

In last night's dream, as I leave my house I stumble into what looks like Grand Central station and a Hollywood "cattle call" is in progress. (That's a casting session where pretty much anyone can come.) A little girl is sitting on a park bench trying to emote to herself.

Her parents say, she's trying out for this Roman Polanski movie. We don't know how she should act. Presumptuously I say to them, "Oh, I'm sure ROMAN would just want her to be natural." The parents grasp on to this straw and I sort of wink and nod to establish myself as a fount of wisdom, though I've met the man precisely twice.

He walks past and greets me (looking unchanged from one of the only times I ever met him, at a dinner party at Sumet's house, when my mother became starstruck because of Rosemary's Baby) and to my surprise remembers who I am. He's carrying this script under his arm. He's wearing a tweed jacket.

I ask to see the sides (script pages) and to my amazement, the script has tipped in, full color, near-photographic storyboards next to each line of dialogue, and they are pictures of THIS little girl. I don't think you have anything to worry about, I tell the family. He obviously already sees her in the role. 

But as I look up, on dozens of park benches scattered randomly under the dome of central park, dozens of little girls are studying scripts containing storyboards representing their own image, and all are emoting wildly, with varying degress of success....

And well then I woke up.

The Mundane World

Dreams, dreams, dreams....

Last night my dreams were neither fantastical nor especially colorful, and yet they remain in the memory more than they should.

The first dream: I'm staying in some woman's house and I find, in the bathroom, a piece of sheet music. It's in A major. I know that my job is to take it to someone who's having a music rehearsal down the block. I steal the music and misplace it, then go back looking for it in the bathroom, and it's no longer there … but then I find it again, only it's changed, now it's got a green cover and appears to be a Peters Edition.

So, rather furtively, I tuck it under my arm and leave the house - it has an inner, wire mesh door and an outside wooden door, and go down the street which is like a New York city block. And yes, I approach the building where I have to deliver the music and I hear a chorus singing this rhythm: Hey - you - heyyouheyyou - Hey - you - heyyouheyyou over and over (first minims then crochets, alternating) ... I enter the building which is sort of like a school building, and the the chorus sings louder and louder ...

Many hours later I have another dream of surprising mundanity ... it takes place in an oblong room which appears to be the ground floor of a house I find myself living room. I am my secretary Ratana are sitting on opposite sides of the room. She is at a desk typing and she has on her desk a set of hanging red file folders each one of which is very clearly labeled (nothing could be further from reality — perhaps this IS the fantasy element of the dream.)

On my side of the room, there are some filing cabinets. I am sorting out everything in my life and filing it away piece by piece. One of the filing cabinets is lying on its side on a large desk. I fill it with carefully labelled files under different categories and move the cabinet so it stands neatly with other cabinets. I find there is one extra cabinet on the furthest right (the cabinets are arranged to form a U shape) so I tell Ratana she now has a place to put her files away, they don't have to mess up her desk anymore.

I open the cabinet and find that it has no shelves; it is an empty shell.

The shelves must be outside, I tell her. She says to me, "You know, I've never regretted I don't have a television at work; I don't watch television." I tell her I am so sorry she can't watch her favorite shows at work.

I open the front door (which is actually a back door) into an alley, and there is a bunch of furniture that never seems to have been moved into the house. Among the furniture is an old fashioned dark mahogany bookcase with elaborate scrolled carving. There's also a simple, bright red painted wooden bookcase. I locate the missing pieces of the filing cabinet, and i wake up.

What is strange about those two dreams is that they take place in very ordinary places, not palaces or weird attics or bizarre spacecraft and there are no animals or monsters. They are the most earthbound dreams I ever remember having, and that in itself is sort of fantastical...

Curry Créole

I know I am always saying I had a very strange dream, but....
This kind of takes the cake. 

It starts off at the lunch counter of some kind of diner, where we are lining up to get plates of curry. The curry looks and tastes very inauthentic and presently I hear a voice behind me, "That's because you didn't order a croissant with it." I'm wondering why it should be served that way when I hear the voice of the owner of the restaurant behind the counter and he's speaking French. He's a middle aged, slightly balding man in a chef's costume.

"Things are terrible. Business is bad," he says. "I must sell my slaves."

We're in front of the building now. and there is a dirt road. The restaurant is right in the center of a small town where this is the only street. Two black women dressed in rags are standing there. One is slender and attractive. The other is very large, like an earth-mother, a neolithic Venus. Everyone is speaking French. There is a small crowd gathered.

I notice that it's not really French. "Ici on palé kréol," one explains to me, in something that is halfway between French and Haitian Creole. He goes on to explain that Creole is the official language here, but no one can speak it properly, because this country is called Louisiana, not Haiti. (And yet the place looks nothing like Louisiana USA either — it's another country that happens to have the same name, maybe a Caribbean island.)

The restaurant owner says to the two women, they are to be sold. Each one of them is lashed, face up, to the back of a horse. I panic, thinking that they are tied to both horses and that the man will have them pulled apart. I offer to buy them to save their lives, but he says, "Non, non," and explains that this is simply the custom in this sparsely populated town of making sure enough customers bid in slave auctions. He slaps a horse's withers and the two horses fly in opposite directions, each with a screaming woman spread-eagled on its back. 

My dream-eye follows the horse with the large woman on it as it races through the fields. There are sugar-plantations and distant blue mountains. People look up and stare curiously. She is screaming. It's a harrowing, break-neck journey. Eventually the horse seems to realize it has reached its limit and turns back. We are in the street in front of the restaurant again.

The beautiful woman on the other horse arrives back at the same time, but I'm following the fate of the earth-mother-looking one. "Untie me!" she says (now in English.) She screams as they pull her off the horse. She spreads her arms in a sort of "crucified" pose and they take the ropes off her arms and I see they have caused lacerations and that she must be in terrible pain. The owner is grumbling that there are no customers.

I wake up. This isn't a dream within a dream, but a pretty one-layered one. It was incredibly vivid — REAL, even, like reliving a memory — and realistic as well — not with fantasy elements like many of my dreams. 

As I sit here I realize that it's actually 3 pm. Last night I had unbelievable insomnia and didn't sleep until 6 am. It's broad daylight here. The dream, too, was very very bright, unusually so. And so clear that I keep feeling it must contains elements of a past life memory, even though I don't really believe in reincarnation.

Black Vegetation Arm

I had another really complicated dream which I need to tell you. I soon as I write it down I'll probably go back to sleep because I haven't had enough sleep yet. In my dream, I am married and living in the suburban house with a son named Brian. It's morning . My wife who is white is trembling very hard. She holds 2 cups of coffee and one of them is about to spill.

I realize why it is. Every morning my son, who is Chinese, waits in the kitchen. He's a holy terror and always feelings himself at home to surprise her when she comes into the kitchen every morning. This time is no different. He wears an orange anorack and is waiting to spring on her. 

But she has out what it him she comes in from behind. She's holding the coffee and the baby. When he springs he misses. It's because she has painted fake eyes on the baby's head so that he miscalculates his jump.

My wife calmly sets the coffee on the table. My son is very hyper active because his trick didn't work. He grabs me by the hand and pulled me out of the back door and says we're going to the park.

We get into a subway which is completely green. I mean the train is green. Suddenly I realize that I am dreaming because the train doesn't stop in subway stations. Instead it stops right at the destination where people want to go. So now it stops right in the park and we get out and we are in the park itself.

Holding his hand I walk alongside the green wooden wall. Now that I know I'm dreaming, I tell myself to wake up.

But when I wake up, i'm still in a dream and I wake up in a bed I don't recognize. I want to get to my own room. I stagger out of bed and I have to avoid Mikey's legs. He appears to be sprawled on the floor next to the bed. I open a wooden door and go out. On the other side of the corridor to the right, that is my real room.

When I go in however the room is windy because the window was open. Outside it is night. I'm just in time to see a round red fluffy thing fly out of the window. I know it's not a bird because it is so round. 

The floor is covered with unfamiliar undergrowth. In fact my room appears to be somehow in nature as well as in the house.

Suddenly, what appears to be a black zombie hand but is actually composed of some kind of vegetation, starts crawling towards me. It's neither alive not dead. I pick it up and it's fingers are quivering. I scream at it who are you? In Thai. As i scream I think to myself I'm still dreaming and I want to why I'm speaking thai tonight because in my dreams I rarely do.

I shake and throttle the black vegetation arm. It still moves. I fling it out of the window. Then I wake up.

An Inner Anime

I dream I'm inside a heroic Japanese anime with large-eyed youths and dragons. Suddenly my perspective shifts and I'm not *in* the anime, but watching it on a small screen leaning against a glass balcony in a huge Korean shopping mall. 

After a while, I realize that the mall is itself animated when a line of electric blue letters hanging overhead seem to start twisting and shifting. The walls, the shops, the floor, all are part of a larger animated image, and so I step back and I realize I am watching this larger animation.

I hear a boy laughing and, stepping back more now, I see that this animation is being watched by a young blond boy and his teenaged older brother and the young boy has created the animation somehow to "trick" his brother. "Haha, I fooled you! It was all an animation!" he is telling him.

Stepping back again, I see that I am watching the conversation between the kids on a computer screen. So it's an animation within an animation within some kind of live action film. And it turns out that it's an edit screen in Finale Cut Pro and I'm dissatisfied with it because it's been shot on a single, unstable camera.

In the shot on the computer screen, the screen (in which the boys have been watching the animated Korean shopping mall inside of which there is a small screen with a Japanese anime going on) ... becomes an upright piano that he is playing as well. I decide I will edit the film by chopping it up and cropping some sections to look like it was shot on a multicam system.

I selecta portion of the video where the camera is moving rapidly from a shot of one kid to the other kid. I use the cropping tool to turn one of them into a closeup, but when I run the segment, the first kid keeps morphing into the second.

Then I wake up. CNN is on and North Korea has tested a hydrogen bomb... I wonder if this had anything to do with my dream. Also, while I frequently have dreams within dreams, this is my first dream of a film within a film within a film....

Laurel and Hardy

So, I had a dream last night but forgot it before I wrote it down. Then Mikey started to tell me about the dream he had, this afternoon, and it made me remember bits of my own...

So in this dream, I am watching a TV movie. The movie portrays a fat straight man and a skinny gay one, but they are twins, and they're wearing identical orange jump suits as though they're in jail. So after setting all this up, they cut to a commercial. But when the movie comes back on, they are still in orange jumpsuits, and nothing happens ... nothing at all ... I'm watching all this and telling myself, why am I watching this, nothing is happening after the interesting setup ...

Then I wake up ... apparently BORED into wakefulness....

I'm surprised I remembered even this much....

Film Noir

I had an incredibly detailed dream and I am rushing to write it down before it fades because it is so bizarre.

First, the WHOLE dream is in black and white, which never happens with me. In fact it's in very stark, exaggerated black and white; it seems to be happening inside a film noir. In fact throughout the dream, I am sort of speaking in a Humphrey Bogart voice.

I'm in a messy office, and an old fashioned 1930s style phone starts ringing I pick it up and its a faint voice, an operator, from America. "It's your son William John Raitt, from L.A. You need to help ... instantly ... there's terrible trouble ... a murder...."

"Put him on," I say.

But instead, he walks into the room. He's wearing a swimsuit and holds open a tabloid newspaper. "Sorry, I had to contact you this way ... I had to make sure you were home."

I'm very happy to see him. "Hi, Johnny" I say. "You're getting fat." (But actually in my dream he more lean and buff than I last remembered him). I look around me and actually we're not really at the desk anymore ... the desk is still there but we're at the edge of an Olympic pool (which is grey = it's a black and white dream.)

Johnny says "Read the tabloid. You're doomed. It's all been discovered."

I start reading. In the article, someone has uncovered some emails, and receipts, proving that when our orchestra went to Carnegie Hall, I somehow submitted an invoice to pay for a Chinese restaurant to someone twice. "But this is not only minor, but it's untrue," I say. I read on. The paper begins to lay on huge charges of corruption based on this invoice. There's also pictures of bills and invoices, like a prosecutor building a case.

"What are you going to do?" he says. (In between taking dips and using the diving board.)

Suddenly a tiny slip of paper falls out. It's the name and address of a lawyer named GADY WILLIAMS. It's not a business card, more like typed up, obling rectangular slip of paper, sort of like an errata slip. I look at the slip and wonder whether this is the name of some kind of blackmailer or of the lawyer who will salvage this situation.

The unusual aspects of this dream include the whole film noir look and feel of it and the fact that in the dream I sit down and read an entire article in a paper and much of it was sort of coherent in a dreamlike way.

More Cats

Friends, the cat-dream continues; I woke up from a vision of a calico cat found behind a large book case when it is being shifted to the wall...

For cat-dreams within a month ... and all four cats quite different; all seemed to inhabit my real space (eg the corridor outside my bedroom, the landing next to my home office, the hotel room I was staying at.) Most cats appeared in fleeting moments before awakening and often as the most surface layer of dreams within dreams.

Can any oneiromancers explain this?

Flinging the Dog

I had another dream about a cat and a dog, suggesting that someone is trying to tell me something. This dream started with a bunch of us looking a board on which were pasted some recent reviews of my work. One person said, Oh you must sent this one to this journalist guy and I said, Why him? I was shocked and woke up from this dream only, once more, I was still dreaming. 

In that layer of the dream, I was in my bedroom and went outside into the corridor which leads to my home office and a landing. In the corner of the landing, I saw that my dog Gustav had peed on Sun's violin case. Only it wasn't a hard black case, but a soft, blue one.

I saw Gustav scampering down the stairs and I angrily reached out with my hand - my arm got longer and longer and got all the way down the stairs where I pulled Gustav back up by his tail, but retracting my arm back into my body. But, as I caught Gustav in my arms, there was a strange cat tangled up with him. The cat was white and golden-colored and strangely calm (Gustav was looking very guilty because he had just peed). The cat was huge ... the cat turned and SMILED at me.

I woke up. I had only been asleep for a couple of hours, so I went back to sleep. Yet when I woke again, 5 hours later, the above is all still vivid, though there is much more of an earlier part of the dream that I have forgotten.


All I can remember about last night's extremely elaborate dream is a Japanese woman telling me I have permission to use a hidden cathedral to perform a concert of sacred music with our choir.

The curious thing is, I do not know this woman. But there was another unknown Japanese woman in a different dream a few days ago who had redesigned my house.

This is not the same Japanese woman, because this one has sort of a round face and is chubbier.

However, as soon as I set foot in the hidden Cathedral which had to be reached through the vestibule of a more public church, I immediately recognized the Cathedral. It was a circular stone building in which there were many levels encircling the center like the levels of an opera house. The reason I knew this cathedral was that it has been in a different dream of mine along time ago. If I can look up that old dream, I can connect the meaning. 

For some reason, the Japanese seem to be playing a big role. I don't know why. Anyway, although I know the dream was elaborate and complex, the scene is all I remember.

A three-layered dream

I slept fitfully last night and had a dream. It began with a discussion I was having about the Oxford and Cambridge dinner in which I was explaining that I had managed to invite VS Ramachandran to speak. The person I was talking with kept saying, "But no, we are getting George Orwell" And I kept insisting Orwell is dead. The argument grows heated and I wake up ... or I think I do ...

And when I wake up I'm still in a dream. It's a mysterious hotel room with blue velvet drapes. I lie there thinking about my dream. Suddenly, a naked man (on my left) rears up beside me and terrifies me. I thought I was alone. He fades away. It might be a ghost or a nightmare but it frightens me and I wake up. Or think I do....

Still inside my dream I get up and I try to put on the lights so I can sleep without being afraid. I wander over to my right where there is a hallway and bathroom. I seal the hallway off by pulling some blue velvet drapes that are the same color as the curtains.

As I walk back to bed, a huge, neon-green Persian cat is purring against the wall. It can't be real, I think, yet I think to myself but this is no dream, I just woke up. I pick up the cat which is soft and delicate and stroke it. i start chanting to myself, this is no dream, this is no dream. With the cat in my arms, I turn around to go to bed and suddenly I see a dog on the floor.

The dog seems to be a collie. It is a beautiful large dog and completely motionless, even its hair, as though frozen in time. As I watch the dog comes to life and stretches and turns to me. I wake up for the third time and I'm in the real world.

My Secret New House

My dream:

A tall, beautiful Japanese woman who is a friend of Miho Fukutame has been the new interior designer of my house. There is a big reception going on to celebrate this design. The reception takes place in a large living room with wooden stairs that go up to an interior veranda, and on the left there is an entrance to my secret headquarters, a library, bedroom and a toilet accessible through a French window.

Me dream starts in medias res with the Japanese lady explaining the new color scheme and its meaning. Miho is watching. There are some very meaningful potted plants, but on waking I forgot their meaning.

I go out of the secret area and mingle with the guests for a while, then I slip back inside to use the toilet, but while I do so one of the guests, a tall German who appears to be some kind of ambassador or diplomat (but it's not my friend the German ambassador because this guy is bald) accidentally walks into the private area and sees be through the French window. In alarm, he leaves.

I continue in the toilet for a while, then I get up and go back to the guests. I can see, on the balcony, back through to my private space and I wonder why there door is glass. Through it I see the shelves of an enormous library with green and orange books. There are so many guests, the party is becoming cramped.

As I feared, my guests open the glass door and flood into the private area. I run ahead hoping to stave them off. I haven'd had time to fix it all up, I think.... but, as I enter, I see that an empty, sunken space has now been lined with an elegant, purple sofa with a zig-zag shape, a modular sofa thrown together to fit the sunken space. 3 or 4 steps lead down and the guests enter the new area, oohing and aahing about the design of the room. I realize that my staff have, in the last few moments, redecorate the private area with old furniture that had been hidden or discarded and it fits the new space and looks completely new ... as Miho's friend explains to the guests the color scheme, I turn a corner deeper into my private space and see more furniture I thought was lost, including a white sofa I had thrown away long ago, and now it's mix-and-matched with other old furniture and looks like a new design completely.

Thank god, I'm thinking, I've fooled all the guests into thinking this is all part of the new redesign....

Then I wake up.

Secrets of the Universe

My amazingly vivid dream. I was working as an apprentice to a mad scientist who was collecting all the most powerful secrets of the universe and hiding them, disguised as ancient artefacts, in an antique store, a very ordinary looking store in a strip of shops along a boring city street.

The time has come to gather all the secrets and use them to build the machine that will hold the ultimate truth. I go to the shop and realize that the interior is on fire. The fire is burning brightly but nothing is charred. Next door, there is a Chinese restaurant where everyone is eating and laughing, but I notice that they are frozen. My boss has slowed down time.

In the split second that has stretched and stretched, a long line of purple robots march into the antique store and each one carries out one of the ancient secrets. They move, slowly, majestically, in a long line down the street. The leader stops and each one walks into him and the robors connect one by one to form a massive, purple tank like vehicle. 

Then the vehicle moves off and we follow in what appears to be an old jalopy but is actually a high-tech device, also in disguise.

Suddenly, we are being followed by another high tech device disguised as a jalopy. She is chasing us down the highway as we follow the huge purple robot tank. The driver is a determined woman. She's wearing like a gendarme cap. 

She fires various projectiles at us and finally there is a magnetic disk attached to a chain. It flies over and strikes our car, reeling us in.... we are stranded on the side of the road and I wake up....

Wheelchair Class

I also had a dream the previous night, which I only remembered because I told Stacey Tappan over lunch.

I this dream, I'm confined to a wheelchair but I've been invited to a special display of a handicapped business section of a plane. We're in the air and the cabin has no seats, just railings and windows, and I'm able to fly around on my automatic wheelchair from corner to corner. I'm whizzing about on the wheelchair and the stewards and stewardesses are standing around beaming and applauding. They tell me how much work has been done to accommodate wheelchair customers in business.

I say, "But what about economy?"

And I look past the crowd of stewards and stewardesses to what looks like a dark and crownded cabin with rows of cramped seats.

The chief steward says to me, in an arrogant tone, "Oh, THOSE people don't have the same objectives when they travel."

Then I woke up.

Release the Tapes!

I dreamed that I was invited to what I thought was a writers conference. I was thrown into a room and tortured to reveal what they characterized as fascist secrets. I noticed a video camera. But thought nothing of it at first. 

It was a very painful session and I screamed and said many things that I wished I had not.

Afterwards, the rest of the conference was kind of fun. It was a free exchange of ideas. But towards the end the newsletter was shown to me. In this newsletter that was an ad, with a little box you could check to order tapes of my being tortured.

I completely lost my cool and said that they didn't have permission to publish the tapes. I was screaming at them. They said, "but all the other writers have agreed." I said, "this is a moral issue. I have to refuse." I was screaming my head off when I woke up.

The Bus Home

I can hardly remember any of this dream except the last scene, which is that I am with a large crowd of people waiting to "go home", standing in a kind of big concrete plaza. A bus comes up and everyone piles in, but I and my sister are unable to get on before it leaves. We wait in the empty square for another bus.

When the second bus comes, we get in the side near the back of the bus (left hand side) and I immediately see two (or more) terribly wounded soldiers lying on the back seats, deeply scarred and with awful wounds, their flesh looking like it's been in a grinder, ill fitting bandages, greenish-khakhi-ish uniforms.

We sit down in the first available seats which are black leather, foldable seats and they are really dilapidated and worn.

The bus leaves and we are jerked about because the square is full of deep potholes. There is an announcer voice, as if this were a tourist bus: "We are passing through the site of the Iraq war, the bloodiest in our country's history...."

Then I wake up.

That dream was preceded by an incredibly long and convoluted narrative which is all gone from my mind; only the final scene remains.

Songs of Praise

So my dream ... this is a full 13 hours later but I still remember one big part of what was a very long dream. It is that I am on a sort of inner veranda of a hallway and below me, people are singing a beautiful anthem. They're seated at a long table or in pews. Indeed, I'm overwhelmed by how harmonically pure and beautifully it is sung. So I walk down the stairway toward the singers.

Suddenly I find I have to accompany them on the "organ" ... but it's not an organ at all, more like a succession of shelves with abacus-like pegs and beads, and each shelf is in a higher key than the one below.

They start to sing an incredibly familiar hymn, but it has irregularly rhythmic phrases and I keep stumbling over it. When I wake up the melody of the hymn is ringing in my head but I can't for the life of me remember its name.

So now - 13 hours later - the words of the hymn come back to me as I'm getting ready for bed. I type the words "brothers and sisters draw near" into google and I get the whole text of the him which is: "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation."

That's the tune which was stuck in my head all day long, the melody vividly remembered from Eton, but the words only just coming back to me hours after I woke up.

As I type this, I'm getting goosebumps, suggesting there's more to this dream than I think.... probably in the part I don't remember....