Sunday, July 5, 2009

Has no one any sympathy for the clown?

I am one of those folks who rarely remember their dreams. I'm sure some Freudian reader out there is already getting ready to reveal what that reveals about me, but I really don't care. I rarely recall my dreams past waking, and I'm perfectly happy with that state of affairs.

When I do remember my dreams, like this morning, they are often science-fiction dreams (although I also had some sort of medievalist dream this morning, in which my colleague Pat featured, though I don't recall any other details). I have a long tradition of science-fiction dreams, usually of the "alien invasion" sort. When I was young, I think they were scary dreams, but I no longer find them terrifying in the least, I think--my memory of most of them is not clear enough to be sure.

But once in a while, I have a dream that is a bit more memorable, or that (when I wake up) I tell it to Rose quickly enough that the retelling makes it stick in my memory. Once, for example, I dreamed I had the Ebola virus. As I told her the next morning, in my dream it really wasn't so bad: all I had were the ubiquitous "flu-like symptoms," and I recovered quickly enough. I'm sure that dream eased me of all sorts of anxieties!

But my favorite dream memory is waking up in the middle of the night one time with the title of this post swirling through my brain. I don't remember anything else, such as what sort of narrative antecedents might have led up to this rhetorical question, but ever since, I guess it's fair to say I've had a slightly different perspective on the life of a clown.

But I've never had another dream of one. As far as I can remember.


Jim said...

Hmm ... can't help but think you're baiting me a little. Alas, I have no insight whatsoever, except the observation that alien invasion, the ebola virus, and clowns are all things that inspire fear and loathing in the waking world. Not knowing your colleague Pat, I can't comment further.

Incidentally I gave up Freud when a student wrote about dreaming of being chased through the forest by a native with a big spear.

Tom said...

Not really baiting, but maybe a shout out. I had you in mind, but didn't expect any real analysis.

As for Pat, I'm now trying to figure whether I'd put him closer to clown, ebola viroid, or invading alien. He's not likely to be flattered by any of them, except in comparison.

dhathaway said...

I've read of writers who keep a pencil and note pad at their bedside so that when they wake from a dream they can jot down the high points they wish to remember. I understand that usually produces a memory the following morning. I can't speak from experience.

David BH.