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What's your biggest house dream?

fuseli_nightmare400.jpgI 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'


Posted on Wednesday, July 4, 2007 at 02:02PM by Registered CommenterBrenda from Brooklyn | Comments4 Comments

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Reader Comments (4)

You are so gifted... can't believe I first found such a treat on the Brownstoner site...
then I clicked into this marvelous garden of words magical...

Happy Fourth to you and yours Brenda from Brooklyn.

July 4, 2007 at 06:28PM | Unregistered Commenterbren
Jung is one of my favorites. Certainly his catalogs of dream symbols speak to me more than any others.

I love those exploring the house dreams. And yes, the house is the self, or a possible self. My favorite was a recurring dream which spanned many years. At first, I only saw the house from the outside, pulling up the driveway in a dark, cool car. In later dreams I got out of the car, then later walked up the front steps (yes, it was a mansion, even from the outside), walked inside. Over the years, I walked into rooms on the left, then the right, then went up the stairs, and so on. Eventually, I just stopped dreaming that dream.
July 5, 2007 at 11:40PM | Unregistered CommenterXris (Flatbush Gardener)
Most of my house dreams have escaped but one from before I moved in will stay with me forever. In reality, the day before we had moved out of the Park Slope brownstone that we had lived in for 13 year - a splendid rental. We were waiting to close on our new house in Crown Heights, but in the meantime living in a loaner apartment on Dean and 6th Ave. It was June, hot, and we slept with the windows open. That first night I dreamt that we were in our new house. In the dream I looked out the window and discovered that it was immediately beside the BQE, something that I had definately not picked up on the last walkthrough. Ther was tremendous, constant noise. I was puzzling over this, trying to find a brightside. I broached the subject with my normaly curmudgeon-like partner, and much to my surprise he is pleased because it would now be much easier to get out of town- no more pushing our way through downtown Brooklyn traffic. I am unconvinced and experiencing buyers remorse.

I awake to discover that the open windows in our temporary home face Atlantic Avenue & constant, 24 hour traffic. In reality my new home does not suffer from traffic exposure. Barking dog and ambient music, yes, but no traffic.

July 6, 2007 at 08:53PM | Unregistered Commenterameraleed
"Renovators of the blogosphere, what are your House-Related 'Big Dreams'? (Tell me I'm not the only one who has 'em, please!)"
No, you're not the only one who has 'em...although it was an odd sensation to realize that I had, in fact, had 'em. Not until I read through your dreams did I recall MY dreams, creeping myself out somewhat. I too have dreamed of discovering vast new rooms in our house, and of vast new attics crammed with stuff. In some of the dreams I am delighted with the prospoect of rifling through all this new "other peoples' stuff", in other dreams I am quite horrified by the filthy array of junk that I have to sort through and dispose of. I've dreamt of being lost in the sheer unknowable size of our house (nothing mysterious about that one!), about calling out for my husband and racing from room to room endlessly never reaching him (but, on the plus side, running through quite a nice possibly Federal house to do it). To sum up: hmmm, mixed feelings about our house and our abilities to complete our (ha, ha) 10 year plan of renovations. Pausing to reproduce in our mid-forties has ham-strung our drive to complete projects, but not, strangely, to start them.
(The bank allows us to live in - and work in - a 125-odd year old Victorian on what was once the outskirts of a small farming town, but now is a teeming metropolis of condo bungalows, and much higher taxes.)
P.S.: More cat bloggin' Fridays, please! I adore kitten pictures.
July 27, 2007 at 05:40PM | Unregistered CommenterRennie Innes

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