Papa, I dreamt I saw a sheep!
“Papa, I dreamt I saw a sheep!” my three year old daughter said the other morning. In all honesty it isn’t surprising she dreams of the woolly four legged animal. She’s obsessed. The root lies with her cuddly sheep, Dolly (aka Gukky, as she once was known). My daughter has a pathological love for the poor ragged toy, a love that I touched upon in an earlier post, Conchita and that thing called love. Indeed, the excitement she gets from seeing sheep is something quite special. “Look!” she cries when she spots a flock grazing in a field, “Dolly’s friends are over there.” No doubt, While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks By Night will become her favourite Christmas carol of all time.
From Homer’s literary image of the gates of horn and ivory to distinguish dreams that are true (horn) from dreams that are false (ivory) in The Odyssey, to Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, people have been captivated by the images conjured up during our sleep. For some, dreams are a way of escape; for others they’re worse than entrapment, and for most, dreams are nothing but a string of bizarre and surreal pictures loosely strung together by a common thread that’s often a reflection of our state of mind. When we wake, these stories tend to disappear into the ether like a thief stealing into the night.
There are some that stick: the recurrent nightmare, or a scene so comical that we laugh out loud (my Better Half tells me I do this quite often). Or seeing a loved one that has passed away. My mother once dreamed that I’d fallen into a river. Just as the current was about to wash me away, she pulled me from the water’s clutches. This dream is now legend as she claims it foretold my small act of teenage rebellion, spurring her to ‘save me’ from the wrong path. According to my mum if it wasn’t for her intervention, I would’ve ended up as a single mother living on welfare in a council flat. (That bit is up for debate, but for the sake of the peace, I let her believe it.)
In my case, if bad things happened in a dream, then good things in the real world would take place. Along similar lines of Homer’s image of horn and Ivory, I called it the ‘good news is bad news’ test. For example, the day before my A-Levels came out, I dreamt I’d failed. I was so depressed that my mum took me out for a drive. Little did I know that this was a rouse cooked up by my parents so that my dad could call my school to get my results because I refused to. Half an hour later we returned home to see my dad run up the driveway with a massive beam on his face. I think that day might have been one of the happiest of his life. A few years later, I had to take a string of exams for a well known qualification. I knew I’d failed if I’d dreamt I’d passed the night before. Vice versa: if I dreamt I’d failed then I had actually passed the exam. Such was the accuracy of this test that I thought I could patent it. And so my dreams continued to work this way. Although interestingly, after my children arrived, the accuracy of the good news is bad news test has, in the way of old technology, become a bit patchy.
My friend (the same who saw my Cabbage Patch Kid play the flute – see last blog post) recently dreamt she had left her job as a hotshot orthodontist to become a librarian working in a towering building with floor upon floor of bookshelves. Tasked with putting some books away, she came across my novel, The Silent Children. She was in a bit of a fix as she couldn’t decide whether to file it under ‘B’ or ‘K’. If she filed it under ‘B’, she would be forced to venture to one of the top floors to a part of the building that was dark and, according to her, really quite creepy. She then turned the novel over to find a picture of me looking like JK Rowling. Apparently I was famous and had sold millions of books … As if… Here, I think I’ll apply the good news is bad news test. Also, I’d rather not be famous … Though I wouldn’t mind selling a few copies* – particularly as 50% of my royalties will go to charity … I can only dream …
Until next time!
* The novel will be out early next year (I promise!)