Waking Moments

First things first: It Will All Make Sense in the Morning is about a woman named Sparrow who is plagued by nightmares. She asks her friend Alastair to take them away. Things happen from there.

Anyone who’s ever met me personally is now nodding her head. “A-ha,” this person is saying, “she finally found a platform for those wonk-ass dreams of hers.”

To those of you who have not met me personally: Hi, I’m Erica. I have wonk-ass dreams, and I wrote a play about them. Sort of.

When I was a teenager, I wanted to remember my dreams, so I read a book about them. The book suggested that, several times I day, I stop what I’m doing and tell myself, “I will remember my dreams tonight.” It suggested a minimum of ten iterations of this, spread out throughout the day, to reinforce it. I started doing this. Perhaps it worked. (On the other hand, this same book suggested a strategy for lucid dreaming — that I later saw reinforced on an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, of all things — which never worked for me.)

I write them down as soon as I wake up. Not always, but in my early phases of vivid dreaming I wrote down every detail of every one. These days it’s mostly bullet points to jog my memory later. So in essence, I remember my dreams because I… remember my dreams.

Who knows?

People have been telling me for years to write a book about them. I’m skeptical. I’m glad they entertain my friends (especially the people who show up in them; I’ve often been met with the reaction, “Wow, I was in one of your dreams? I’m honored!” which I find a little puzzling), but let’s be real, here: reading about other people’s dreams is boring.

What I want to be able to do is show them to people. I can’t always describe the bizarreness of what I’m experiencing: the peculiar shape of the red box truck that Brendan used as his kidnappin’ van; the feel of the nature-silent air in the parallel universe next to the Hunting Hills swimming pool; the expressions of the frozen animals next to the barbeque stand. I want people to watch them with me, if not always to feel them (I always hit the ground in my falling dreams, and man does it hurt), because I also want them to understand how paralyzing they can be. How unshakeable. How… exhausting.

Would I ever ask an Alastair in my life to take away my dreams? I don’t think so. Despite the fact that I usually wake up from them feeling like a zombie, there’s something fascinating about these crazytown pictures my mind throws up (and I mean that phrase both in the sense of “tosses forward” and “vomits”). Something absorbing. I stopped believing in the prophecy of dreams a long time ago, but every so often, I’ll conjure an image and know where it came from. Or imagine I know.

Want to remember your own dreams? Maybe what worked for me will work for you. But be careful: Sometimes they’re dangerous. Sometimes, they’re real.

–Erica Smith

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