I’m keeping a dream journal. I think I’ve tried to long ago in the past but it didn’t take. This one came about because I’d started having really vivid dreams last February, and I could even recall them a couple days later.
It so happened that I’d purchased a pack of Moleskine large red Cahiers but had no purpose for them: they were only beautiful so I had to possess them. They sat around, pristine, in my apartment for nearly a year and then I found uses for them. One is my beer journal, wherein I record my misadventures with homebrewing, my tastes and judgment of commercial beer, and anything interesting I uncover in my studies (like a Sumatran prayer that is actually a beer recipe).
So that leaves one red Cahier unspoken-for, because the second is my dream journal. If I’m very lucky, or diligent, I will wake up (usu. when the cats demand to be fed) and sit down with a scrap of paper (usu. the tear-away sheet in the back of any other Moleskine notebook) and pen my memories as fast as I can. I have to jot the notes down quickly because, seriously, the memory of dreams really does slip away.
I woke up one morning from a very clear, lengthy dream and lay in bed, reliving it in my head. I got up, sat down in the living room and replayed it some more in my head, but I’d begun losing details. By the time I finished making coffee and had found a pen to make notes, most of the dream had melted away like an ice cube in the sun. I was outraged that my brain would actually subtract an active memory from my head, esp. when I’d taken such pains to burn it in and impress it. It seemed not fair, like walking in a straight line, down a street, across a city for 30 minutes and abruptly finding yourself back where you started just because something in reality decided to reset.
So I have to drag myself to the table and write the notes as fast as I can, regardless of whether they make sense to me or not. I just have to write words and codes down, and when I visit them later usually some images will emerge and I can at least write out a reasonable semblance of the original dream.
I don’t know what I’ll do with these. They’re so banal that a psychoanalyst couldn’t possibly find them germane, and they’re so disjointed they defy easy translation into a conventional short story. But the red Cahier is almost half-full of three months’ worth of dreams, and for some reason this is satisfying to me.