Ever since I was a child, I’ve had vivid dreams — and multiple dreams — every night. Some are just odd or whimsical, some frightening and foreboding. I often liken my overactive ‘dream life’ to the fate of Emma and Stephen. It sometimes seems that I lead two lives and that if I didn’t dream, I might feel more rested. (Hey, it’s a theory.)
What I find most fascinating about dreams are the unique, extremely specific details. Last night I dreamt that my cousin Kathy and I visited an antique shop. I entered a storage room to view an antique table and chairs from China. The details were so clear: the black and red lacquer finish, the intricate carvings on the tabletop, the red silk of the chair covers, the ‘feet’ of the table legs that resembled lion’s paws. Next, I browsed dusty shelves where I found an old leather-bound church hymnal. It was square and the spine of the cover had pulled away from the browned and aged pages inside.
Have I seen these items somewhere before? Or are our minds capable of storing a million (billion?) tiny bits of data that we draw on to construct these dream worlds? Do we tap into a collective unconscious as Jung would suggest?
I don’t have the answers but as a writer, the questions compel me. When I construct a world on paper, what images do I rely on? My own memories? The images absorbed through movie, television, books? Or, do our imaginations — like our dream worlds — draw on the collective unconscious?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you dream? Where do you think your dreams come from?