Living the Dream

Archiving the Adventures of the Unconscious
I know some people record dreams to find meaning and think about how they work, while others do so to aid in lucid dreaming, but I record them just because I think it’s really funny to share them.

I was part of the mafia. For some reason, my mentor was LeVar Burton.

This is how the first entry in my dream journal begins.

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Naturally, the former Reading Rainbow host and I were visiting my elementary school, which—just before we left—turned into a bar.

We had to go look over a house to kill someone or steal something. As we were going around the property, LeVar suddenly said, “Shit—no, this is wrong. This is all wrong, RUN!” 

So, we started running.

He stopped and tried to hide, but I kept running, looking for my own hiding place. I ran until a missile was shot in front of me. 

I’ve been recording my dreams in the Notes app and in Voice Memos since 2016. 

I don’t record all of them—only the ones I find interesting. 

I managed to dodge around the explosion, and I looked to see what was shooting missiles at me, expecting a flying drone, but it was actually an augmented goose. Since it didn’t have any ammo left, it stopped flying and went to swim in the river. I ran back to LeVar and discovered he had been shot in the chest six times. 

His wife was there, crying and holding him, but then he woke up and we all started running to the hospital. I held my hoodie to his chest for pressure to stop the bleeding. 

At present, my digital journal consists of over 120 dreams. I recorded this one the morning of May 18, 2016.

We were making our way along a road when I saw a guy open his jacket and flash a gun at me as a threat. I also think he had a machete. 

I turned us around, and we headed down a side path through a forest. We could see the hospital, but we weren’t there yet, and the guy with the machete was gaining on us. I told LeVar and his wife to keep going and that I would stop the guy. Once they left, I charged at him. When I did that, I saw that he had a chainsaw, not a machete. But as I got closer, I realized it was fake, so I ripped it from his hands and chased him down and beat him with it. 

When I caught up with LeVar and his wife, I found out that he was okay, but he was also a different person, as was his wife.

It ended up that I was just with a group of my friends, and we all sat down together to talk about anime conventions. Eishie was talking about someone visiting her table at a con, then I laid down and fell asleep.

That’s kind of what most of them are like. 

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As you can probably tell, my dreams don’t exactly stick to a storyline or make much sense, but they make enough sense that I find them amusing. I know some people record dreams to find meaning and think about how they work, while others do so to aid in lucid dreaming, but I record them just because I think it’s really funny to share them. 

Sometimes I forget to write the particularly crazy dreams down, which always disappoints me. But that’s why some end up as voice memos. If I can’t be bothered to write it down, I can at least mumble it into my phone. 

This does cause a bit of a problem if I haven’t woken up enough, as I assume I’ll remember more than I record. My favourite example of this is a voice file that is six seconds long and consists of three seconds of silence, followed by, “reading to Joe about darkness in an elevator.” 

Now, there’s no punctuation and my voice is flat and steady, so it’s hard to say if I was reading about darkness that is inside an elevator or if I was reading about darkness while Joe and I were inside an elevator (though the vibes I remember say it’s the second one). Writing them down on my phone is generally the better option. 

There are dreams that I remember that I don’t record because they don’t interest me enough. From one I had the other day, I just remember cleaning a big empty house and feeling lonely. Which, sure, that’s a dream, but it’s not weird enough to warrant my attention, let alone others’. Plus, I have much better examples of that kind of feeling in other dreams. Like this excerpt of one from October 23, 2020: 

I’m in a diner, and I’m sitting with a couple who have learned a whole bunch of other languages. I was supposed to have learned with them, but I’m lost and can’t understand what they’re saying.

This came at the end of a dream in which I had visited a Queen and explained locking doors to her, stayed in an Airbnb, and made friends with a construction worker while lamenting the fact that they would move on once their job was done. A much meatier dream than just cleaning a house and feeling sorry for myself. 

The dreams I record are all in the style of that first one. Some become epic adventures, and some are terrifying. There are several that just have great ending lines, my favourite of those being: “I rode around in a shopping cart and got nowhere I wanted to be” (April 22, 2018), and “At one point we were confronted by angels who had turned our brother good, and we were upset at them. But as I was waking up, I realized that I had never wanted to be evil and asked them to make me good, too” (October 1, 2018).

I’ve even taken inspiration from my dreams for short stories in my CREW classes. Usually, it’s just the pieces and feelings, but there is one story that follows a dream almost exactly, except for the ending. The dream had this sudden twist in it where I was filled with terror and discovered my worst nightmare (I do not remember what it was, just the feeling of dread and finality) so I wrote a happier ending, as it’s hard to express the random feelings in dreams when there’s no reason for them.

I’m not sure if recording these dreams helps me better remember them or if it just means that I’ll have more strange dreams, but I’m happy that I do it because I love being able to share these weird creations from my brain and get even weirder looks from the people I tell them to. 

On that note, I’ll leave you with my last recorded dream of 2023:

I was swimming near Gabriola with my friend Bryan, and there was a sleeping dragon under the water in a bay where we had been planning on snorkeling. 

You know, where dragons normally sleep, right?

Bryan was upset because the dragon had stirred in its slumber, meaning we weren’t allowed to swim near it. It had been motionless for centuries, so it sucked that it was moving now, when we wanted to swim. 

Don’t you hate when that happens?

Later, I was in a cave system. I’d come to an area with three big tunnels all in a row. I didn’t want to go down any of them because they all got difficult after about twenty feet.

I almost got stuck at Horne Lake Caves last time I went there, no way I was repeating that!

I was at the part of the first of the three tunnels just before it got difficult. It had a step down and it got really narrow. You had to crawl to get through, but since I was just sort of kneeling in the lower area, the main tunnel was about chest height. 

I was playing around with my lights and looking at the lichen, poking at all the glowing mushrooms and making them go off when the light behind me went out. 

I had a flashlight with methank goodnessso I pointed it back toward the tunnel’s opening. All I could see in the circle of light afforded by my flashlight were the shadows of fingers grasping the edge of the rock.

 

Tara Wohlleben
Contributor

Tara is a third-year Creative Writing major and English minor. They enjoy writing genre fiction and experimenting in poetry. They are a Poetry Editor and Feature Editor for Portal 2024. 

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