Good morning! I’m having one of those mornings where your brain stays about an hour behind your body. It can be a good sensation, or it can be ultra weird. I’m not completely sure what this morning’s sensation is, yet. All I know is, I’m thinking about dreams.
I read a great blog post about dreams last night just before I went to sleep, which must have acted as the seed for my own brain-dancing last night – I had one of the most vivid nights’ dreaming that I can remember for quite a while. To begin with, I was in a prison camp with Caitlin Moran (who, of course, was far too cool to talk to me) and hundreds of other people, and my survival depended on my ability to see – and thereby avoid – the red lattice of laser beams keeping me and the other prisoners penned in. We’d just had a huge prison assembly when the guards started firing on us randomly, and some of the other people, who couldn’t see the laser beams, made a run for it but ended up getting zapped before they could be shot. It looked like I was going to escape, and I was running for it towards some trees… when something woke me. Then, I blinked at the darkness and panicked for a bit, until I realised that no matter how cruel a prison camp I might have ended up in, surely the cell wouldn’t look like my old bedroom at my parents’ house, so I concluded – cleverly, I thought – that it had all been a dream. When I fell asleep again, I was surrounded by the glass walls of a building that I’ve dreamed about before, several times. I’ve never been able to figure out what it is, or what it means – usually, I just pick a random corridor and follow it. It’s a low-ceilinged, green-tinted building, like a hotel designed during the 1970s. It’s mostly made of glass, with lots of ferny plants everywhere. Some doors I can’t open, and the ones I can lead to blank rooms with a view over the roofs of an anonymous city. Someday, I’d love to know where this place is. I’d be slightly worried if this giant, empty building represents my mind, so I’m hoping it’s just a repressed memory of a deeply unfashionable place that I’ve actually been to. Fingers crossed.
I woke up this morning, then, my brain full of pictures, and I started thinking about dreaming. Do you have a favourite dream? I do. When I was a teenager at school, I became obsessed with Jimi Hendrix. I listened to his music non-stop, I drew his image on everything I owned, and I read whatever I could about his life. Then, one night, I had The Dream. It was so amazing that when I woke up, brimming with the sounds, colours and beauty of my dream-experience, I had to write it down immediately in case any shred of detail would escape. It began in what looked like an old power station, and I was wandering around inside it, hopelessly lost. I passed iron doors that wouldn’t open, glass windows too dirty to see through. Then, just when I was giving up hope, I heard a liquidy guitar riff, coming from somewhere just ahead; I ran towards it, to find a door open. Through it there was an old-style American diner, complete with red leather booths and a large curving counter. The only other person there was Jimi Hendrix, up on a small stage; he raised his hand in greeting as I entered, and proceeded to play me an entirely new, completely unheard, utterly amazing piece of music. He then joined me in the booth, where we sat and talked for ages, though I couldn’t remember all the details of our conversation. He held my hands, and when I woke up, I could still feel the touch of his fingers.
I still get a thrill, even writing about it. I wish I could explain how much a dream like that meant to me, an awkward and deeply shy teenager.
I’ve sometimes been inspired to write by dreams; occasionally, details or names will come to me in a dream, and – if I remember them when I wake up – dreams can be rich sources of ideas. My problem is remembering things once I wake! When I was younger I used to record my dreams on waking, but as an adult that became impractical. Sometimes I dream solutions to plot problems, and once, in recent months, I woke with a strange word burned across my vision in red letters. I didn’t know what the word meant, but I wrote it down anyway and made a story around it. It would make you wonder what your brain gets up to at night, when you’re not keeping an eye on it.
Tell me about your dreams, do. Can you remember them? Do they inspire you? And – most importantly – have you ever dreamed about Jimi, and does he ever ask about me?