Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Dream World


What is a dream?  We don't really know.  There are many theories, and they have been studied as long as people have been walking the earth. And maybe before that, as we know animals can have them, too. The images come from our experiences, except when they are so fantastic that we don't know where they came from.  Maybe they are a way for the brain to clear itself of a day's worth of ideas. The bible is full of stories of dreams being used to carry messages from beyond, warnings even.  Psychoanalysts have spent much time trying to interpret people's dreams, with mixed results. One common thought is that the subconscious uses them to reorganize our thoughts, and as such may use that part of our brain to figure out what our conscious mind can't figure out, or doesn't want to deal with.  Or it may just bring together a bunch of weird things we did or saw during the day. I have often had some very odd dreams, but that goes with being an artist.  Years ago one of the DSM's listed something called "dream anxiety disorder", but never defined what it was or how many or how frequently to qualify for the disorder, but did say that it was more common in artists.  Makes sense.  I have read that artists seem to have an excess of a certain natural neurotransmitter in their brains, which acts a bit like LSD.  Generally not enough to cause hallucinations, but it does make it easier to connect weird things, or to jump from one thing to another.  

One common type of dream is what is ofter called wish fulfillment, where we have dreams about things we don't have but wish we did.   A meeting with a person we'd like to see, of an object we'd like to have.  Into this category I'd put a common thing that has appeared in a lot of my dreams recently, small hole in the wall restaurants, the kind of place where you can pop in and get a slice of pizza or something simple.  Nothing fancy or expensive.  In my dreams, just a place on the street selling quick snacks, visits are short.  Nothing is particularly memorable, but they serve a purpose in real life.  Except in real life they don't exist much any more- Covid-19 made much indoor dining illegal around here, and some places won't let you come in even to get take-out.  You don't know how much you'll miss this kind of thing until suddenly it is forbidden and unavailable.  

What brought this all to the fore was an email from my college friend Doug. If he was to have a wish fulfillment dream, it would probably involve going to see a favorite band, perhaps one that broke up 30 years ago and he never got to see. In his mail he mentioned a particular band where a member may have had a connection to SIU, a place where Doug had visited me and saw some live music.  In his letter, who wrote of how he missed the old days when colleges regularly booked cool bands and people could go see them.  Maybe that's what made me think of the joy of walking into a small place a getting a slice of pizza. And maybe my next piece should be about one of these fantasy places.

None of these dream locations are particularly memorable- not the buildings, not the food.  Plain outsides, dimly lit inside.  So it's more about the idea.  Had some business with Nichole today, but otherwise I was in my space working on this idea.  Wrote a lot of words, did some very rough sketches- all on paper, as this isn't ready to be put on wood yet. Here's what I did today-

The Don's logo came from a boardwalk print, a thing I made up years ago, but it's original.    I see brick walls, which fits with some of the dreams.  Neon signs in the windows, and through those windows we see lots of people, since a restaurant full of people is pretty much a fantasy these days. The visuals aren't much yet, but this piece is more about the idea than anything else.  I expect it will get better as I go forward.


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