My Dream Palace

Strangeness in the subconscious

I don’t often remember my dreams, but this year they have become increasingly vivid. Rather than the occasional flashes they used to be, they have developed into fully scripted narratives with plot twists and recurring characters. My friends are featured, along with people I have not seen for years, and many unnamed guest stars. I have conversations, go to places, make plans. Staying house for the best part of a year, only my parents in the flesh but all my friends digitally (thank goodness for Zoom) has opened up a world of social activity in my subconscious mind.

It all started in April, before I was supposed to fly to the U.S. As the possibility of a lockdown crept closer, I dreamt I was on a plane. The plane was not a direct flight, which struck me as odd, and had a stop to make en route. I would have to find an alternate way to arrive at my destination: airports or some sort of travel feature in my nightly dreams. With so much uncertainly, I am still striving to arrive at my destination.

The Surrealists believed the subconscious mind was liberty from the trappings and weighted restrictions of rational thought. Much of their ethos was rooted in Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (1899); of the freeing of creativity, emotion, and desire. It is no surprise that so much of the movement’s art, or movement’s associated art, concerns dreams and nightmares scenarios.

I have had a couple of nightmares, most recently involving relatives refusing to social distance, I woke up sweating, and others just too bizarre to comprehend but disquieting nonetheless.