Pretty much the only thing I hate more than my own dreams are yours

Michael Chabon in the New York Review of Books:

Nemo_png_470x647_q85I hate dreams. Dreams are the Sea Monkeys of consciousness: in the back pages of sleep they promise us teeming submarine palaces but leave us, on waking, with a hermetic residue of freeze-dried dust. The wisdom of dreams is a fortune on paper that you can’t cash out, an oasis of shimmering water that turns, when you wake up, to a mouthful of sand. I hate them for their absurdities and deferrals, their endlessly broken promise to amount to something, by and by. I hate them for the way they ransack memory, jumbling treasure and trash. I hate them for their tedium, how they drag on, peter out, wander off.

Pretty much the only thing I hate more than my own dreams are yours. “I was flying over Lake Michigan in a pink Cessna,” you begin, “only it wasn’t really Lake Michigan…,” and I sink, cobwebbed, beneath a drifting dust of boredom.

Dreams are effluvia, bodily information, to be shared only with intimates and doctors. At the breakfast table, in my house, an inflexible law compels all recountings of dreams to be compressed into a sentence or, better still, half a sentence, like the paraphrasings of epic films listed in TV Guide: “Rogue Samurai saves peasant village.” The recounting of a dream is—ought to be—a source of embarrassment to the dreamer, sitting there naked in fading tatters of Jungian couture. Whatever stuff dreams are made on, it isn’t words. As soon as you begin to tell a dream, as Freud reminds us, you interpolate, falsify, distort; you lie. That roseate airplane, that wide blue arc of cold water: no, it wasn’t like that, not at all. Better just to skip it, and pass the maple syrup.

More here.

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