DreamMachine, USA

I’ve been thinking a lot about dreams lately. This might be because for about a week or so I’ve been stricken with what I like to call “anxiety dreams” which are not quite as scary as a nightmare, but just as disruptive to a good night’s rest.

None of these dreams have been especially abstract: in one I am trying to figure out what to do during an earthquake (because what Midwesterner doesn’t worry about earthquakes after moving to the coast?).

In another I am trying to convince a talent agent that I am, in fact, a filmmaker looking to hire an actor, not an actor looking for representation and being scorned at every turn by skinny, gorgeous blondes with skinny, gorgeous, blonde, beauty pageant babies.

In another I am sorting through a pile of bows and arrows: the bow has half a dozen bowstrings, some of which are too loose and some of which are held together by knots and all of the arrows have been shot through by other arrows making them one big tangle.

After dreaming I wake up feeling insecure and anxious. I find myself turning to fortune cookies and horoscopes for reassurance an guidance: searching, perhaps, for proof of some higher plan that I can rely on and finding none. With dreams like these, I sometimes wonder why we use the same word for our aspirations that we use for our revelations? Why do we “follow our dreams” when we really mean that we are pursuing our aspirations?

Here in LA there are a lot of people “following their dreams”. I can hardly exempt myself from this class since the whole reason that we packed up all our worldly possessions and drove two thousand miles cross country was for me to take a running leap at becoming a film director. The time was right. Perhaps we choose to use the word “dreams” because when in dreaming we are at the mercy of powers greater than ourselves: our muses, our unconscious, our inner gods. When we dream we are freed of the rules of the waking world; we transcend reality. And perhaps to substitute the word “hopes” for “dreams” when describing our destiny is too weak of a word. It is one thing to hope to become a filmmaker and it is quite another to dream of becoming a filmmaker. One who hopes takes no action. One who dreams is drawn along by a greater force. And maybe when we say that we dream of doing something we are offering a prayer to this greater force in an effort to court favor and be chosen for success.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 23, 2012.

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