The Ghosts of My Dreams

The places, events and people of my life emerge from my subconscious as the settings, plots and characters of my dreams.  In my sleep I pluck from a lifetime of who, what and where like I am trick-or-treating at doors across the world. Then, my mixed assortment of real people, places and scenarios appear in eerie fictional stories, out of time and situational context, as the ghosts of my sleepy-time entertainment.

The ghosts of houses past loom as stages for the dramas behind my closed eyes, with the childhood home of my elementary school years as the most frequent backdrop.

In the latest, I peered out that familiar living room window on Fisher Lane to see a bridge explode and fling debris through our ceiling. (Never mind that that particular bridge crosses the Missouri River 20 miles in the other direction). Fortunately, the home of my teenage years with a centuries-old cemetery—or graveyard as we called it—in the back yard has slipped from my nightmare writer’s notice.

The ghosts of decisions past add anxiety to my sleep when I discover that I am reliving old deliberations with new twists and outcomes. As a notorious second guesser, whether I am awake or asleep, I am more suited to the role of third party observer of a friend or family member who is weighing his or her options.  That is why I particularly enjoyed a recent dream when my friend invited me along on her house hunt, where we easily chose a cleverly-updated ranch with new tile and a curved bar in the kitchen. In reality, she moved over six months ago.

The ghosts of people past reacquaint themselves with me in the oddest places and times in my dreams.  I’ve had fictitious mass reunions with people I have known in a food court of a shopping mall and while waiting in line for a restroom. Our conversations create comic relief during a night of fitful sleep.

The closely related ghosts of relationships past are far more frightening than funny. I get a little panicky in the morning when I remember my dream included someone from my life five, ten or twenty years ago. Why is my subconscious pulling HIM into my dreams at this time? Is is a crush I never outgrew? Does it mean something more?

If you’ve ever read Dicken’s Christmas Carol, it is hard not to wonder why each ghost appears. Most nights, though, my candy stash of characters and scenes doesn’t add any more meaning to my life than a handful of Milk Duds. But think of the possibilities I can pull out of my bag during the day when I write.

Author’s Note: Since I am not a huge Halloween fan, the theme of “Ghosts” for Scribbit‘s October Write Away Contest nearly scared me away, but it was fun to dress up my writer self in a little different costume for this entry.

1 Comment

  1. Michelle at Scribbit
    Oct 7, 2008

    I’m not a big Halloween fan either–and I like the way you dealt with the topic. I love trying to figure out how I came up with a certain dream, where the figures came from and why I would have dreamed them.

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