On Dreams And Remembering – An Oubliette And An Army Of Spies

I am sitting in a café called Les Oubliettes thinking about remembering. I can’t remember my dream from last night until I read my notes. Before I read them I have a single image: I am standing at the top of a high, long, dark wooden staircase. That’s it, just a place.

When I read my notes the whole word comes back. The moment on the staircase is the moment of finding out that there is a tuberculosis outbreak, the feeling of the city and maybe the whole world slipping into darkness. (In the real world at the café I just sneezed, and the gent I’m sharing a table with is on the phone with an airline agent who hears me and tells him to tell me ‘Bless you’… driving home the dream warning that a virus in this connected world will travel quick.)

I head outside in my dream, where somehow the epidemic and the dark are related, and I go into an old man bar for something I need. The men are sitting around big round tables (a lot like this one at Café Oubliettes actually, where I’ve never been before today.) There is a giant stone bowl on the table like one for French Onion soup (which Marc is making for dinner) but 100 people could eat from this one. It’s enormous and communal, but it’s empty tonight in the twilight of plague. The old men sit around it drinking small glasses of beer.

The man next to me at the bar is talking. He says he is getting all new parts. He turns to show me that his face has been replaced.

An image of safety pins and skin.


Do I use dream logic, and try to extend the narrative inside the dream to understand this plot twist? Or do I use the narrative and symbolism of my daily life? Is the Man getting new parts to fight or fend off the tuberculosis that is shutting down the world?

Or is he a symbol of how I feel about Men and Masculinity these days, despite the many kindly men I feel love and sympathy for – the men sadly waiting for communal logic to return?

The air these days does often feel virus dark, heavy with #MeToo stories, and the disease of power summarized by Harvey Weinstein and his spies.

Yet last night I went to bed on a wave of optimism as Americans elected openly trans leaders, new immigrants and Black Lives Matter advocates.

Maybe the Man is slowly getting all new parts, not just a new face?



This Dream I Had About Casual Lunges

In this dream I had last night I was at a house party. I was carrying around a large green suitcase with a change of clothes. The party involved taking buses, like old trolleys, to other parts of the house, and I sat next to a guy and we got along. It was a bit flirty but mostly friendly. I thought we might hang out at the party, but as we got off the bus he started singing a love song to “sweet, sweet cigarettes” so I lunged away from him. Like several long, low stretchy lunges. Because lunges are very casual/sneaky.

I found my friend Emilie. She really enjoys a good lunge. She asked if I had a good book recommendation. We got back on the bus and I could see the whole bus route in my mind, and suddenly I knew we’d have to go past places where they were triaging the wounded…



This is real life. No matter what I am doing – partying or lunging – somewhere they are triaging the wounded. I work quietly on my laptop while there are waking realities infinitely stranger and more nightmarish than my dreams happening  just down the street. It feels like I can’t quite take in enough life to do justice to it all. Maybe that’s why I’m interested in all the life I’m living while I’m asleep.


This Dream I Had About Dreams I’ve Had + A Lady Mayor

I had just decided that I’d take weekends off from recording dreams and writing blog posts about them when I woke in the middle of the night and wrote them all down anyway.

I listed them carefully and felt comforted and amazed by them, and then I closed the book I was writing in. As I looked at the book I noticed it was a giant leather, wood and metal book. Huge.

I don’t own a book like this in waking life, so then I realized: this is a dream.

In my dream I was writing down my dreams.

It’s reassuring to me to think that all the projects I have spun up in the air over the years, and that I beat myself up for not being further along on, my unconscious brain seems to be still quietly working away at, making notes while I sleep.

Just because we take breaks from our projects doesn’t mean they take breaks from us.


In another dream I had this weekend I was standing in a small room with a high ceiling, and all around me the walls were covered in wooden shelves piled high with loaves of fresh bread.

It was a perfect, calm room and it smelled just wonderful.

I have a feeling of bounty and ok-ness these days, which is still surprising to me after quite a while of night terrors which I’ll tell you about some other time. I don’t think there is a more basic symbol of wholesomeness and of getting your needs met than bread, and I’ve been awed and grateful for the image of that bread-filled room ever since my subconscious gave it to me.


In other news, Montreal has elected her first Mayor, and the most women ever to city positions. This alone makes me feel full of happiness and hope, despite the inevitable and relentless fight-pickers, threats, and tumbling tragedies on the Internet. Everything goes on. But we do keep dreaming the world into brand new shapes all the same. Much beaten we still rise.  Nothing can stop us.


A Dream I Had, But Also: Why?

Last night I dreamt that I was in a canoe at night with Marc. Meanwhile he dreamt that we were making love in the bathtub. Outside in real life it rained.

I am on my 3rd day of writing about dreams every day for the month of November, a totally self-imposed, made-up challenge, and I’m feeling all the rush of but whyyyyy.

Well, here’s why:

For one, it’s a challenge for me to be vulnerable in public, so putting my unconscious on the internet feels like a step in the right direction.

And it’s a project for me to get inspired, I love the hallucinatory imagery and metaphors in dreams.

And it’s a project to make more of my life conscious, or to integrate my unconscious, sleeping adventures and perspectives into my mundane daily life.

And also this: When I was really little I had this intense feeling that I was 2 people living two lives, one on this side of sleep and one on the other.

I remember feeling fear that I would die on one side, and the other would also be gone.

And I remember feeling this big resigned sadness that I think all kids feel, the strange feeling of growing up and losing the other side.

There is still no unified theory of why we dream, but I think there’s a clue in how we use the word in waking life: I Have A Dream. A dream can help invent the world.

Kids know this best, because they are inventing their worlds and themselves at a super fast rate every day.

I guess I just want a bit of that energy back. And I want to wake up to a better world.


A Dream I Had: Floor Game

So this dream I had last night started with a single scene, flickering:

I am standing outside an old movie theatre. It’s glowing white against a black night, and the marquee tells me that it is an altar to Diana. I have no associations with Diana.

Now that I try to remember, I know she is a huntress.

In the next memory scene I am in a beat up old car with 3 guys I was friends with in undergrad: Dave, Scoob (Yes. It was undergrad.) The 3rd I can’t see.

I leave them parking the car and walk up to my parents’ new house. In real life, my parents recently did some renovations, but this is an entirely different place, absurdly tall and dream weird.

The colours around it are like water colour. Blurry and saturated. The driveway is huge and painted in massive geometric angler shapes, white and dark blue. My mom yells from a window not to walk on the driveway, so I leave the boys behind and go climb in through a side window.

Inside there is no one around. It’s dim. There are tiny sculptures made of small pieces of wood stacked and carved in elaborate jengas and patterns all over the floor, which I know I’m still not allowed to walk on.

So I climb on top of a door and it swings wide, and the door itself unfolds into more doors on hinges as I hang on. It swoops me across the room.

From the top of the door once it’s unfolded I can reach a small, high window. I climb through, and jump, and land on the end of a high loft bed where my step dad, John, is sitting grading papers. He’s annoyed at being interrupted, and I say don’t worry, I won’t bring my friends through here.

Back on the street I am barefoot, skipping barefoot through rotting bananas and big, black sticky fruit on the street. The run-off from a honey factory.

In the next scene I am cleaning up after a murder.

I’m with Dave and I don’t know who was killed, or who did the killing.

We are in a small room in a basement, and it is very important that, as he lifts things, I blow sand into piles under them so nothing looks disturbed.

The door is partially open, and through the crack I see a skinny pair of legs waiting for us on the stairs, and a white cat, watching.

As I wake, an upbeat, automated voice informs me that we have improved our phone help line satisfaction by 25%.

I’m very pleased.