And Then The Worst Part

Sure, according to the clear directions of my dream, it was going to be one of those frustrating days where I duck into the used-book-store for a morning coffee and the chance to smell decomposing paperbacks. And just stepping in I’d see that now it was 7 am, like an hour earlier than it could possibly be and that I’d already be late for work, and every minute that I spend there I’m a half-hour later although every clock moves backwards three minutes, the way you’d expect. Well, before you know it, I’m up on the roof of the old church, balancing everything I have just barely as I sit down to some serious writing. And then there’s a bunch of crows on the next roof glaring at me. Plus there’s this ostrich who keeps projecting her head out from the building and through the cupola windows to come just close enough that I think she’s going to snap at my hand. But the worst part is that in the dream I was putting on paper exactly the letter needed to reconnect with that estranged friend. And when I woke up I couldn’t think of a single word I had written. But at least I had it right for a little bit.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

2 thoughts on “And Then The Worst Part”

  1. In your dreams do you ever remember reading anything? I swear there have been instances where I read something while dreaming. Yet I have heard dream experts say that since dreaming takes place in the same areas where reading functions happen that it is impossible to read something in a dream


    1. I do have dreams in which I read things, yes. I can’t say that the reading necessarily makes sense. The end of a paragraph might have nothing to do with the start, and it might come out completely differently if I went back to re-read it, but the reading itself seems to go fine. I remember also a couple times looking at number or word puzzles, although not whether I tried or imagined being able to solve any of them.

      You could probably get a philosophy department going in a good fight by arguing about whether that’s actually ‘reading’. But at least in the dream I think that I’m reading and I come away thinking that I have read something. But then the part of my mind that evaluates whether or not I’ve done a thing is in on the dream too, and usually is trying to help the dream carry on, so of course that part would figure everything was well enough.

      So I don’t know. But the ‘you can’t read in a dream’, or a variation like ‘mirrors don’t look right’ or something, is a nice useful plot signifier for stories where the audience is supposed to find out someone’s in a dream. I won’t complain about it in a story unless I’m already annoyed by the story.


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