OH always says that no-one can interpret a dream better than the dreamer, and I think it’s true; whatever theories psychologists may have, you know best what’s really going on. When I was so rudely awoken this morning I was bang in the middle of a very vivid dream, one of those where it takes you a moment to realise you’re not in a theatre about to do a performance, you’re in bed. In Loughborough. And it’s time to wake up. Ugh. I usually try to write down these dreams before I forget them, because they seem important – and if we no longer (since Freud anyway) interpret dreams as portents from the beyond, we do recognise that they have something to tell us, usually something our conscious mind has pushed to the background while it gets on with more important stuff. (Or so it would have us believe.)
Interpreting a dream is not so much about what happened – though that matters too – as how it felt. What was the atmosphere in the dream? What was I feeling? You can feel threatened even if good things are happening, or vice versa (incidentally I think one of the most brilliant bits of plotting in Harry Potter is in The Prisoner of Azkaban when, during a Divination class – a subject generally seen as worthless – Ron reads Harry’s tea leaves and concludes, ‘You’re going to suffer – but you’re going to be happy about it.’ At the time it just seems silly but in the end this is the essence of the plot: Harry suffers, but he’s happy about the outcome.)
Anyway. As we all know a dream can contain the most delightful elements and yet feel unaccountably threatening, like a film where the characters are walking happily along a beach but sinister music is building in the background. So. This dream from which I was so abruptly awoken was generally a positive one, though there were elements of doubt in it: I was giving a performance of poetry to a large audience; I’d waited a long time to get on stage (that figures) and when I arrived I realised I’d lost my set list. But the audience was very friendly and an enthusiastic fan knew all of my work off by heart and suggested poems for me to do.
So all in all I see that as a positive and hopeful dream, albeit with a bit of anxiety thrown in.