This Writing Life--Mark Terry
Thoughts From A Professional Writer

do your dreams have a narrator?
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July 12, 2005
I had a very intense dream last night. It started with coming across my mother in the woods. She was digging a hole for her new home, claiming it was the way other people were doing things. Then she pointed out where another group was doing something similar, only they were using very large chunks of apple--like 6 feet long, 6 inches thick, three or four feet high--to create the walls. (Hey, it was a dream. It's not supposed to make sense).

My mother then decided she was going to go home to her house. Just so anybody reading this has some context, my mother has Alzheimer's, lives in an assisted living facility, was recently moved to the dementia unit, and isn't happy about it, and is always asking to go home. All you Freudians, keep your analysis to yourselves, thank you very much.

On my way to chase her down in a large RV, I got into a big accident, which lopped off the foot and hand of one of the victims. I remember thinking, "Oh god, guilt over the damage," followed by, "the ensuing lawsuits are going to destroy me and my family."

It's around this point that things get weird. (Oh, just now, you say?) The narration begins. It was half spoken, but as if read, and the narrator says something along the lines of, "As it happens, these events were happening at the same time that actor Kevin Bacon discovers a neighbor girl falling off a horse on nearby property. Tragically, she had frozen to death on the horse." This is accompanied by an image of a frozen girl on horseback.

I then get to jump-cut back to my vehicular accident, trying to track down my mother, deal with the victims, and contact my sister, who both my brother and I always contact first when it comes to maternal problems. But the narration seemed to continue.

Somewhere I woke up, reasonably certain of the causes of some of the aspects of this dream, disturbed, and not wanting to go back to sleep. I reached out and held my wife's hand and thought, "I'm going to have to blog about this," and tried to remember more details. I do remember a dead raccoon (did it die from the poisoned apple? I don't know.) And what was Diane sawyer and Robin Roberts doing a story on people digging holes in the woods to live in doing in my dream? And why did the narration feel like it was written by Doug Stanton, author of "In Harm's Way."?

And if my dream seems entirely too linear (really?) and story-like, well, when I remember my dreams, they are often surrealistically lucid.

Do your dreams have narrators?

Mark Terry

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