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Entry date: 6-3-2022 - More thoughts on Dreams - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

It occurred to me this is a new month. One hundred and fifty-two days of blogging behind me. A lot has happened over the first five months of the year. The school year is just about over and summer break looms like a comfortable, smiling moon.

I was thinking about dreams a lot the other day. What are they trying to tell us? Back in January, I think, and I really do need to catalog this thing, I wrote about the weird dreams I used to have about an evil Disneyland-type place. Throughout my life I’ve had serial dreams and they are usually super stressful.

Recently I visited one that I hadn’t had for years that takes me to this weird venue that is combination of Shoreline Amphitheater in Northern California outside of San Francisco and the Marquee Theater here in Tempe. The dream always is about playing a big show, and nothing seems to be going right. Sometimes there are bands involved that I love. The most recent one featured the Damned and they asked me to fill in on bass, which would be a dream come true, but not with no chance to rehearse.

It's always fucked up things like that.

When I was a boy, I would have these terrible dreams. My dad would tell me to think about something good before I went to sleep, which worked sometimes, but often I would toss and turn before falling asleep and have a hard time stopping myself from thinking about things that were the opposite of good. Even as an adult, I have to be very careful of where my mind goes to before I fall asleep, or I just lay there and stress out.

When I was young, though, I would often think about baseball. That was my first love. I loved the Dodgers, I have mentioned before, and I could stave off the bad thoughts by thinking about a Dodger game or what it would be like to play for the Dodgers. These days, though, I tend to just grab my phone and play some sort of video game or take myself out to the living room and watch TV until I fall asleep.

This is a poor substitute, I know, to imagination. It’s been hard to fall asleep for the past few weeks since Rhondi left. I’m not a fan of sleeping alone, although Bailey has been keeping me company. Over the last week, it’s gotten better and I can turn off the TV when I’m starting to get tired and not have to have it on ‘til after I drift off.

The dreams, though, haven’t been amazing. Last week I dreamt I was investigating a church because I was going to write about wrongdoing going on. I was undercover and pretending to be a part of the congregation. It made me feel dirty and lacking the authenticity that writing about the things I usually write about allow me to feel. During the dream I was looking for examples of impropriety but just not seeing anything blatant and it sucked. I woke up stressed.

Over the years, I’ve written down a lot of things I have dreamt. I wish it was more inspiring, in a way. I once interviewed a musician from a pretty famous band who told me that he always kept a recorder by his bed because he dreamed about riffs and would wake up and play them, record them, and would then go back to sleep. He said he loved checking his recorder in the mornings because sometimes he would not even remember laying down a new riff.

He told me which songs off his latest solo record came from these experiences and it was cool to listen to them. I wish I had that magic power because, alas, I do not. I think, at best, I’ve gotten a few lyric ideas from dreams.

I’d love to interview a neurologist with a specialty in how dreams and the brain work together. I think it would be fascinating to learn more and then write about it. Like, what does it do to our brain activity (brain waves, I guess), when we are having one of those dreams where someone who has died comes for a visit?

I have, like many of you, probably, a love/hate relationship with these dreams. On one hand, it is so good to hear the voice of the person if you get to have one where they talk to you. Sometimes you don’t get that lucky, but when you do, at least for me, I just want the dream to keep going on and on. These types of dreams must do something incredible to your brain, though, right?

We are tapping into some sort of heavy-duty memories here that must make our brain activity do some interesting things.


Side note: I promise I am not high right now. These are totally sober thoughts.


My students constantly remind me that the brain is a fascinating thing. I ask myself all the time, “How could such a bright little person do such fantastically dumb shit?”

Then I remember that I am in my early fifties and still do fantastically dumb shit. It’s part of being a human, I suppose. But still, it is really interesting to think of how our brains work. Dreams are such a cool part of thinking and being and experiencing life. They can be so great and so fucked up and all in a matter of minutes.

I wonder what I will dream about tonight. What will you dream about? Will you tell someone about it? Will you remember your dreams? I know people who claim to never remember anything they dream about, and I feel sorry for them. Even the bad ones seem like they are still important learning opportunities. I’m certain my toughest dreams have made me a stronger person, even the ones that make me reach out in the middle of the night to rest my hand on my sleeping wife so that I know I am not alone.

Bailey, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to do for the next few weeks. Just consider it an extra little pet. I’ll try not to wake you up.

See you tomorrow.

Sometimes I dream about doing this again. Photo by Rhondi, conqueror of my nightmares.

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