“Properly speaking, the unconscious is the real psychic; its inner nature is just as unknown to us as the reality of the external world, and it is just as imperfectly reported to us through the data of consciousness as is the external world through the indications of our sensory organs.”
– Sigmund Freud
When I was younger, I used to have vivid dreams every night. These dreams would take me to other worlds, place my mind in other bodies, and then have plot twists that often made no sense whatsoever. As the years have gone on, however, remembering my dreams has become something of a rare luxury. I’m always excited when a dream stays with me upon waking, fresh and hot, ready to be dissected and analyzed. Of course, this eagerness to explore my subconscious is probably part of why I don’t have the same vivid dreams anymore.
I’ve often suspected that the matter is due to my choice of profession; whereas I spent my younger years just imagining storylines, I’m now someone who writes them down pretty consistently, and thus I’m exploring my subconscious fears, yearnings, and angst in a very active way on a regular basis. This strikes me as an extraordinarily healthy way to plug into the subconscious, chew on life’s stresses and find solutions.
Still, I miss having regular dreams, primarily because they often served as fuel for writing. After all, Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein based on a dream, right?
One nightmare that I always come back to is a recurring one that I experienced when I was a teenager. Something about this dream has always stayed with me, and I imagine at some point, some part of it will work its way into my fiction.
This dream, which I call “the Axe Dream,” is a rather gruesome story: be warned.
In the Axe Dream, I’m a janitor working at what I believe is a high school. I climb the stairs to go to the rooftop, which is concrete, and see an elderly woman in rags smoking cigarettes with a group of high schoolers. I start walking up to them, the woman shrieks. She then charges at me with a wooden board, slamming me across the head, as the teenagers try to knock me the ground. The elderly woman trips over one of her follower’s legs, and then grabs an axe from behind a cardboard box. As I’m pinned to the ground by the teenagers, she proceeds to swing the axe at my head–first lopping off a piece of my skull, and then embedding it firmly within the brain. They walk away, laughing. As warm blood pools around me, I can hear a voice in my head saying that I’m dead, I’m dead now, these is my last thoughts before I die–until suddenly, I realize that I’m not dead. I stand up, fully alive and resurrected (albeit with an axe submerged in my head) and I walk away.
So, what about you guys? Are there any dreams that have stuck with you, for one reason or another? Dreams that have come back from out of nowhere, or dreams that you’ve always wondered about?
Let’s hear them!
P.S., on a side note: this weekend, I’ll be participating in the 2015 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, a charity event put on by the Alzheimer’s Association. IF you’re interested and want to find a walk in your area, check out their site.