I set great store by dreams, too much store, I tend to think--but I feel vindicated by this article in the New York Times about what Carl Jung called "big dreams," the ones we remember all our lives:
“Big dreams are transformative,” Roger Knudson, director of the Ph.D. program in clinical psychology at Miami University of Ohio, said in a telephone interview. The dreaming imagination does not just harvest images from remembered experience, he said. It has a “poetic creativity” that connects the dots and “deforms the given,” turning scattered memories and emotions into vivid, experiential vignettes that can help us to reflect on our lives.
The article highlights "back to life" or "visitation" dreams of dead loved ones, but I'm particularly intrigued by the "big dreams" I've had over the past 20 years about the CrazyStable, as I try to grapple with its enormity. Given our history, visitations are a frequent part of these house dreams. I would love to hear housebloggers' best (or worst, or weirdest) House Dreams; do post below and share them! Here are my house dreams that have "deformed the given," the ones that remain as vivid (for better or worse) as the morning I awoke from them:
* We have gutted and sheetrocked the downstairs "tool room," but have managed to shut my mother up in the cavity walls. She is pounding on the walls from the inside, muffled but clearly outraged. This is disconcerting because, even in the dream, I know she is dead. (The day after this dream was not a good day.)
* This is a whole dream-genre: We discover new rooms in the house, and sometimes even an entire new wing. Typically, these "hidden" rooms are dusty and untouched from Edwardian times (and look like they belong to a deserted old English manor house); they are suffused with a chalky pale daylight. Once there was a big room with a central fireplace, massive carven mantlepieces, and gargoyle-laden sarcophagi. Another time, it was a huge white-tiled high-ceilinged kitchen and pantry accessible via a long-forgotten back staircase. The dominant emotion in these dreams is, "Cool--but how are we going to afford to renovate all this?"
* Weirdest "forgotten room" dream: We find a series of huge upstairs rooms with fascinating antique furniture left behind by the Changs, plus one of their (really-did-have them) commercial refrigerators. I open the fridge, which remarkably has been plugged in all these years, and there is a lion-headed goldfish swimming weakly in a big pickle jar. It is almost entirely milk-white, its gold color having faded after years in darkness, like a cave fish; it is on its last few molecules of oxygen. And even in the dream, I realize instantly that I have rescued, barely, some part of myself.
* Most delightful dream: I am showing people around the CrazyStable, and as I do so, the place proliferates, throws off wings, dormers, colonnades with balustrades, until it has achieved Versailles-like sprawling proportions. From a central vantage point, surrounded by CGI-like splendor, I sweep my hand across the prospect and declare to my dazzled visitors: And there you have it, folks--our little $150,000 house! (They are speechless with amazement and envy.)
* Coolest X-files-est dream, getting back to "visitations": My dad is home from the hospital in our house, in hospice care, weak but not in pain. (In reality, he died of leukemia in Mount Sinai Hospital a year before we bought the house.) I check on him, and he is about to fall peacefully asleep, but mutters, "In the morning, I'll show you how to repair that dish." I shrug, since there's no broken dish in sight, bemused that even in medicated decline he is thinking about fixing things, his old self. Upon awakening, I am told by Spouse that one of the cats' dishes, my favorite, has been broken into two perfect halves during the night. Okay, dad! Got it!
Now, this doesn't even touch the important category of Gardening Dreams--that will have to wait for another day. Renovators of the blogosphere, what are your House-Related 'Big Dreams'? (Tell me I'm not the only one who has 'em, please!)
Image: 'The Nightmare' by Henri Fuseli (1781) meets 'Tool Time'