For as long as I can remember, back to my early childhood, my sleep has been accompanied by vivid, memorable imagery of different kinds, while I’ve sometimes heard music and conversations, as well as occasions when it’s seemed to me as if my other senses of touch, taste and smell were also involved.
I’ve experienced numerous nightmares of varying intensity, while I’ve had the rare prophetic dream in addition to a series of lucid dreams over the last few years. I had believed I’d experienced just about every variety of dream there is, as well as the baffling phenomenon of never having knowingly dreamed about Stonehenge, a place that’s occupied me extensively for almost two decades, but last night, something new came to me as I slept and it was so intriguing that I thought it was worth recording here.
I’ve had a tough year primarily on account of illness and the persistent nocturnal activity of my old dog Blueboy, which can’t have helped matters, but I’ve been vexed for a long time about how best to present an original piece of work I’ve composed. I first found my way into print in hard copy in 1973 and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been published since, so I’m perfectly aware of pitches, press releases, sample chapters, introductory letters, CVs and all the other aspects involved in transforming an idea on a document on my computer into something that acquires a new reality and independent existence elsewhere.
I long ago learned how best to present my varied offerings to different sources and the answer’s invariably a very simple one. A piece of work is either fiction or non-fiction, it’s poetry or prose, it’s lengthy or it’s short, it’s intended as a book or a feature, it’s of value and interest because of such and such a reason, and so on. Like everything else, it’s easy when you know how, but I found I’d created something I was uncertain how to classify.
In casual conversation with others, this kind of thing doesn’t matter, but if I want my work to find a real home, then I must be able to present a description that’s beautiful, clear, accurate and concise, so that it instantly leaps off the page to the person who finds themselves reading the introductory or covering letter. I’ve done this many times before with a pleasing degree of success, but on this occasion, I’d uncharacteristically found myself at a loss and it’s something I’ve applied myself to unsuccessfully for months.
Last night, however, I dreamed that I was sitting at a table with someone else – someone who’s known to me personally in real or waking life, but whom I’d never considered would be able to assist me. There was no preamble to this dream, because the two of us were simply there, analysing the problem I faced in the most calm and pragmatic fashion imaginable. I remember very little of our exchange, but this doesn’t matter because I clearly recall that at the end of the dream, my helper informed me that they felt my material would be best presented in a particular way, and that was that.
Since I woke, I’ve naturally thought about little else . I can’t fault the ‘professional’ and impartial opinion I was given by my ‘dream consultant’ and it makes sense to such an obvious degree that I can’t understand why I didn’t come to the same conclusion myself a long time ago. It remains to be seen if I’m successful in this venture, of course, but all that matters now is that I have a crystal-clear view of how best to proceed, as opposed to experiencing the agonies of indecision that had plagued me for months.
I find it strange because I’ve never had a dream remotely like this before, wherein I spoke calmly and clearly with someone else about a particular problem. I must have been in a similar position on many occasions over the decades, where I found myself wondering how best to proceed with a given matter, but I’ve certainly never been blessed with what I can only describe as a ‘dream consultancy’ before.
I vaguely recall reading an episode resembling this in one of Dennis Wheatley’s black magic novels decades ago, where two characters known to each other in their waking lives conferred on an astral plane about a matter of mutual interest and importance, but I have no meaningful explanation for what I experienced last night other than to quote Lord Byron, when he exclaimed:
“The power of thought! The magic of the mind!”