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Dreams – Part One (Dream Journal)

I kept a dream journal from 1994 until a few years ago.  When my best friend in high school was interested in witchcraft, we used to go to the Barnes & Noble to look at the books about it.  I wasn’t as interested.  I looked at the dream books, which were conveniently located right next to the witchcraft.

The Dream Game by Ann Faraday

I was already interested in my dreams and writing them down, when I bought a book called The Dream Game by Ann Faraday.  It taught me two things.  The first was that the most important thing you can do is to keep a journal of your dreams.  The reason for this, as I experienced firsthand, was that as you try to remember your dreams to write them down, in time you remember more dreams and remember them more clearly.

The second is something I can’t be sure, but I think it was in the book.  I got the impression from the book that people’s dream diaries could be collected and studied.  And so, this strange assumption drove me to diligently collect and interpret my dreams for almost 15 years.  It is something I have mentioned in my blog before.  My desire to be famous, although I really have no talent for anything that would easily translate into fame.  So, I jotted down my dreams for years, thinking that someday when I died off as an old grey-haired lady, maybe someone would study them.

My very first official dream journal

I never did finish reading The Dream Game.  I am always meaning to reread it, but haven’t.  Even now, it is in my bedroom waiting to be fully read.  My first dream journal shows signs that that book made a big impression on me though.  Besides the date and description of each dream, the back contains an appendix of:

    The “emotions” the dreams evoked

    Number of instances of people and objects/themes in my dreams

    What cities I was in in my dreams

    Places in my dreams

    How many dreams I had per night

(These categories would all be so great to put into a spreadsheet, now that I know what one is).  It is strange that I started a dream journal as I was starting college.  Those four years were the least sleep I have ever gotten in my entire life.  Mostly I seemed to dream about my friends, the boys I liked, and the college building all my Communications classes were in, and Christmas (?).

Later, after college, my dream journal evolved.  I no longer kept stats at the end of each volume.  My interpretations sometimes became longer than the dreams themselves.  My green-haired friend inspired me to add additional content to my dream journal.  It now contained email conversations from my friends and pictures clipped from magazines of my favorite bands.  It morphed into a real journal, which gave the dreams a nice framework in which to be interpreted within the context of my everyday life and influences.  It also became much bulkier and more time-consuming.

For a while I tried to write down my dreams in the middle of the night, but they seldom came out legible.  Then I started writing them down in the morning when I woke up, but having to be to work on time interfered with that.  So then I started putting my dreams and interpretations into emails when I first arrived at work that I sent to my friend and kept a copy for myself.  (I am sorry to everyone who had to spend the time to delete them out of their inbox daily.)  At a later time, I would cut it off of the 8 ½” X 11” papers and glue it into my journal.

The Secret Language of Symbols by David Fontana. While not strictly a book on dream symbols, I often used this book in interpreting my dreams.

Type and paste was a great technique to get reasonably timely dream details and interpretations recorded for posterity.  But, it created a tremendous backlog of loose-leaf dreams that needed to be compiled into the journal.  At one point, I was two years behind.  Then my mom had her kidney removed and I got caught up during her recovery.  Then I got two years behind again.  And then I just threw that stuff in a Paperchase storage box and called it a “dream box” and gave up.

Now I am relegated to telling my groggy husband my dreams before I get out of bed in the morning, which he promptly forgets or never hears in the first place.  I contemplated making a separate blog to store my dreams in.  I thought that would make it funner.  But that also seems like a lot of work for something I wouldn’t really want people who don’t know me to read.  What if I dreamed about someone and they read it?  And conversely, if a person didn’t know me, why would they give a rat’s ass about my nocturnal adventures?

Come back tomorrow for Dreams – Part Two (Adventures in Dreamland)

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