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Dreamed 1991/4/22 by Chris Wayan


My dreams have been pretty reluctant to talk to me lately, and when they do, it's in nightmares. They seem to be saying I push too hard. So I propose a deal, write it in my notebook before I go to bed:

"If I can have good recall and lucidity in dreams, I won't use the power to defeat scary figures or change the plot, but only to TALK with these figures. How about it? Is it a deal?"


The Ring of Power is in my neighborhood. All these people in Noe Valley and the Castro kept finding it on the sidewalk or in flower beds. The Ring should make them power-mad--it's utterly evil of course--but odd coincidences happen that make it easy for them to give up the Ring or throw it away. I expected riots, a fascist movement, a coup, but absolutely nothing changes. What a difference from Tolkien's day! I interview four people who held the Ring, and they seem quite unharmed. One lives by the trolley tracks on Noe Hill. I walk out of their house, cross the street... as a two-car trolley comes up.

The dream was fading: I was passively watching me cross, as if on a screen. Suddenly I realized "I'm seeing whatever I think about, I'm not in my body", and I concluded "this is probably a non-REM dream or a hypnogogic state." I threw myself back into the dream as vividly as I can--and then deliberately let the trolley car run over me! Picture the steel wheels crushing my ribs--and feel it happen. Horrible loud crunching, but no pain--rather like a pleasant massage, or the satisfaction when you eat something crispy.

I jump in front of a Muni trolley. Dream sketch by Wayan.
I calmly regenerate my body and think "Well, that proves it!"

The quality of the experience was definitely different than a REM lucid dream, where I just live in a solid dreamworld, as real as ours. Here the images were filmlike and fluid; I had to use willpower to enter the scene, not just watch...

Just before I woke, I shift briefly into a second dream: I'm watching my late godmother Joan-lee direct a major play. She really was a drama teacher, so seeing her direct wasn't unusual. But the Shakespearean scale and ambition of the project was!

As I wake and write the dreams, I think "Wow. My dreams agreed to the deal! Being lucid is okay, as long as I let the dream show me what it wants--not censor it!"


Later that day, I was going through some journals from 1980. The first page I turn to has two dreams on it.

  1. Dream 1's symbolic: two linked trolleycars. One car means childhood abuse and neglect, the other means the experience of being treated as a child prodigy. Abuse and genius, coupled, on the same track. I can't remember which pulled which. But progress for one issue means progress for the other! But stopping or ignoring one stops both, too.
  2. Dream 2's simple and realistic: it's just about my godmother staging a play!
I admit, I was going through my old journals in chronological order, and had stopped just before this entry. So my reading it the next day was predictable: there's no reason to call last night's dreams psychic. In a way, that's more interesting: cryptomnesia! My dreaming mind evidently has access to precise chronology as well as events, going back over a decade! Either that or my dreams DID recall exactly what was on the next page--one page out of twenty thousand!

Take your pick. Psychic, or a hell of a filing system.

I jump in front of a Muni trolley. Thumbnail sketch of a dream by Wayan.

LISTS AND LINKS: dreamwork - oaths & contracts - rings - Tolkien - cities - Only in San Francisco - lucidity - hypnogogic dreams - shamanic dreams - trolleys and trains - courage - suicide - dying in a dream - cryptomnesia - dreams about dreaming - digital dream art - massage - a dream-poem by Joan-lee: With Wild and Turquoise Eyes

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