The Tabby has had some restless nights this week. She didn't seem to know whether she wanted to creep under the covers on the bed, or to wander around the house, so she did both. Repeatedly. Maybe it was because the temperature dropped to below zero several times and the cold drove her to seek shelter. We've had some hard frosts. One morning the water in her drinking bowl out on the deck was frozen solid. But despite the weather, a cat has nocturnal duties to carry out, so the Tabby emerged from cosy comfort at regular intervals to carry out a patrol of the rest of the house, and of course every time she arrived back, she woke me up.
So I've been dreaming. Or rather, I have been aware that I have been dreaming. Apparently we always dream, but we don't always recall it by the time we are fully awake. I'm much more likely to remember a dream if I'm jolted awake, say by the Tabby leaning her paw on my forehead, or licking my nose, because she wants me to let her under the blankets.
One morning several days ago I had dreamed one of those epic dreams full of adventure. I had a long tale to tell about my dream and what had happened. (The cat had even had a walk-on part.) The drama was set in one of those houses that you sometimes revisit in your dreams, over your whole lifetime - a house that has never existed as far as you know, but that continues to reappear in various forms, and you just know that it's that same dream building you have been in before.
Someone once told me that that the special dream house - where you walk from room to room - is a metaphor for your own psyche.
Anyway I told my dream to the first person who would listen, because let's face it, I'm getting older and my memory is not so good, and I usually do sleep quite soundly, so every remembered dream nowadays seems like a triumph.
Funnily enough, that person had also had an unusually vivid dream, and we compared notes. For some reason, part of his dream had been set in Wellington. But no, he had to qualify that, so he said: "It was Wellington but it wasn't Wellington."
"It was, but it wasn't" - for me that really sums up that simultaneous strangeness and yet familiarity, of dream locations - and sometimes the dream people too. "It was Grandma but it wasn't Grandma."
Yesterday I looked at a blog I have chanced upon in my wanderings, that I like very much, and that I have started looking at regularly. The author, who I don't know at all, had also had an epic dream during the week, and shared it in a fascinating blog entry. The dream was set in a Library. At once stage he says:
"The other strange thing - thinking about it now - was that I’ve been in that dream library before. On other nights. It has its own dream geography, only vaguely related to the real world but which is consistent (kind of) in between dreams. I have a few other dream places like that."
This whole experience has reminded me that dreams are a great resource for a writer. I have only recently resumed my years-ago habit of carrying a writing notebook around with me in case inspiration strikes. It might be a good idea to write any more dreams down before they vanish. Then I can have my own library of dreams.
Janet Frame in Baltimore
4 hours ago