by R.B Simpson
a cup of espresso with half a sugar
I have a way of dreaming, and most of my dreams are like this: they follow a sort of pattern, or format; going over the same details, just in slightly different ways. It’s like a style of movie-making some film directors have, someone like the late Stanley Kubrick for example who made 2001: A Space Odyssey and … what was that one with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman ... ? Oh yes, Eyes Wide Shut. (Quite fitting, that title, for my kind of dreams.)
Anyway, Kubrick had an obsessive style of directing: never being able to decide exactly how a certain sequence or scene should finally work itself out. He’d shoot the same scene over and over again with sometimes a change of angle or viewpoint only he could see, and changing his mind from day to day, changing the dialogue, never able to bring himself to say, “That’s it. That’s the final take.” He’d prevaricate and dither in a way that drove the other people on set crazy – the assistant directors, the producers and, especially, the actors. This indecisiveness was the reason many people in the industry didn’t want to work with him, brilliant director though he was.
Well, that’s the way I tend to dream, most of the time - haphazardly. Except for the occasional horrible nightmare which always tends to follow a hurtling helter skelter kind of action movie plot rather like a Michael Bey film – he of Transformers fame. These nightmares get rapidly worse and don’t backtrack, just plunge relentlessly on at an ever-increasing pace and get wound up into a knot of tension and anxiety that eventually culminates in some or other gruesome or weird and blurry finale. This is usually where I or a member of my family or someone close to me, is in dire straits facing a freak show of imminent destruction that appears inescapable as the vortex of violence swirls around us – and this is usually the point where I wake up, sweating and out of breath and looking around to make sure the monsters are no longer there with me. Then comes the sense of relief – it was only a dream … or was it?
There are other kinds of nightmares I have too that are altogether quite calm but carry an evil icy undertow of cruelty, a feeling of being exposed and shamefully embarrassed. These usually resolve themselves in murmurs and a feeling of being disdainfully dismissed, leaving one with a vague sense of unease. Rather like a Coen Brothers script directed by David Lynch. (Mulholland Drive.)
Fortunately my nightmares tend to fade away quicker than my more run-of-the-mill night dreams. These kinds of dreams can be a bit frustrating and even boring but at least they’re not life-threatening. You cover the same ground over and over a la Mr Kubrick, and it can get a bit bland but at least it’s within the realm of normality – if you can call dreams normal, which you have to really as everybody has them. They usually involve me as a character going through some strange episode with someone I know, repeating ourselves but also sometimes getting a 360 degree view where you can see the whole scenario in perfect roundabout.
Sometimes in these dreams I’m ecstatically happy – often stunned by my dream of perfection right there before me. But, and here’s the thing with dreams, they never come to final fruition and have slid away within minutes of you waking up. You may have been on the cusp of solving the riddle of the universe or come up with a sure-fire billion dollar scheme – and poof! - it’s gone.
But maybe there is a way … get a job at DreamWorks and work for Steven Spielberg, you know, with people who wake up every day and go to work on their dreams. Now that’s what I call a realizable dream.
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