To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause
If then true lovers have been ever cross'd,
It stands as an edict in destiny:
Then let us teach our trial patience,
Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy's followers.
Why, then, we are awake: let's follow him
And by the way let us recount our dreams.
My dreams will, sure, prove ominous to the day.
I did in time collect myself and thought
This was so and no slumber. Dreams are toys:
Yet for this once, yea, superstitiously,
I will be squared by this.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being anger'd, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.
'Break up the senate till another time,
When Caesar's wife shall meet with better dreams.'
Next time I'll keep my dreams unto myself,
And not be cheque'd.
Now o'er the one halfworld
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd murder,
Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace.
No matter, sir, what I have heard or known.
You laugh when boys or women tell their dreams;
Is't not your trick?
O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and count
myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I
have bad dreams.
1. What's the last vivid dream that you remember having?
I enjoy dreaming. I sometimes have very vivid dreams, very interesting, a bit like watching (and participating in) a good movie.
2. Do you have any recurring dreams?
There are two recurring themes I have had in dreams that have repeated over decades.
One is that I am in a classroom as a teacher. This has nothing to do with the kind of teaching that I now do (teaching computer professionals). This is based on the fact that during the late sixties and early seventies I was a high school teacher. In these recurring teaching dreams (and I've probably had one variation or another perhaps two dozen times over the past thirty-five years. I am unexpectedly in a classroom -- either I have just accepted a job and have been assigned to work or I am a subsitute or I am there for some other reason and circumstances force me to assume this role. I have an idea for a lesson and I am attempting to teach it but I can never get really launched into it. I am constantly interrupted by announcements over the PA system, by students coming in late, by students being called to the office, by students asking totally irrelevant questions... it is a dream of non-stop frustration. In a very real way, it is a reflection of what those years were like.
The other recurring theme is that I am smoking a cigarette. I quit smoking more than twenty years ago -- after a quarter century of heavy smoking -- for years I was going through two to three packs of unfiltered Camels every day -- I smoked my last cigarette a few minutes past five p.m. on October 31, 1980. The cigarette I am smoking in my dream tastes so good, oh it is such a wonderful feeling. I want to smoke another one but I am also terrified. I was a total tobacco adict and I am feeling real stomach grabbing fear that I am about to get hooked again. I think that I can survive having had that one (oh so wonderful and delicious!) cigarette, but I am terror-struck by the thought that having a second cigarette (which I want so very much!) will mean the tobacco monkey will be on my back again and I'll have to face the ordeal of quitting again. Sometimes the agitation is so great that I actually wake up. Sometimes (see question 5 below) I realize that I am only dreaming -- my reaction everytime is great relief that this is only a dream -- and since it is only a dream, it doesn't really matter, I can't actually get hooked again, so I immediately light up another cigarette.
3. What's the scariest nightmare you've ever had?
There are three totally terrifying dreams that I have had -- all of them many years in the past and yet they immediately come to mind upon reading that question. In one I am on some kind of train, not something like Amtrak, more the kind of train you might encounter in an amusement park or perhaps an narrow-guage railroad going into an old abandoned mine... this one leads into a cave-like opening in a rocky cliff, except that there is an aura of ancient Egypt about this, pyramids and mummies and sarcophogi (yes, that's the plural of sarcophagus)... and there is something totally horrid and evil inside that opening... something hideous, something to be feared... and I am afraid and I want to get up and escape but I cannot move, I am fastened to this half-pint railroad car... and the train is getting closer and closer to the tunnel and the vile things within... The second dream was very simple and very terrifying: I dreamed my brother had died and I woke up sobbing and crying... The third dream didn't come at night... I fell asleep one afternoon while studying (I was a grad student in a doctoral program at the time) and was in a very real and involved dream, visiting with friends in the waterfront town of Bayville (on Long Island, a town I had lived in for a year as a college undergraduate), very vivid and real and colorful... and then something happened to one of their children... we got word of a possible drowning... and things became nightmarish... the quickest way to where their child had drowned was via ferry but we didn't know when the next ferry would come and I was hunting for a ferry schedule in some kitchen cupboards (which were actually in the kitchen of my childhood home... and in real life one of my first grade classmates had drowned in the Rondout Creek, just a block or two from my home) and I found the schedule but couldn't seem to read it, it was as if the light were slowly dimming down, becoming too yellow for me to focus on the faded small print of the ferry schedule, and as I struggled to read the sailing times (which seemed to be based on a schedule of high and low tides) I began to get a sinking feeling that my friends' child did not match the age and gender of the reported drowning victim, that those details matched a description of my child and that my belief that it was their child was simply a defense mechanism to keep me from realizing the truth... and the need to read the schedule grew greater but my vision kept dimming as my terror grew... and then I woke up as my alarm went off to remind me that it was time to pick up my son from nursery school (and he may have wondered why I scooped him up and gave him an extra big hug that day)... In retrospect that dream seemed to me to have the ingredients to make a chilling horror story for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and perhaps I could write it down... but it was so scary I could not bring myself to even start... (See next question)
4. Have you ever written your dreams down or considered
it? Why or why not?
Yes, as a matter of fact I have. Here's one I posted to my journal. Why? Because it amused me to do so. Why not? Well, I did spend quite a bit of time (thirty years ago) thinking about turning that nightmare into a horror story, but every time I tried, I found that it was just too frightening to me for me to write it down.
5. Have you ever had a lucid dream? What did you do in it?
Smoke a cigarette (see question two)
This has been an exhausting week... taught a class all week. Now I have a three day weekend... the week after next I have to teach another class and so during this coming week I will be knocking myself out preparing for it... You see, the lab exercises cannot be and so new exercises need to be created... but that would take two weeks to complete that task... I have four days... Ah well, I'll manage... one way or another...
Left column quotes... all from Wm. Shakespeare... in order: Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream (twice), Troilus and Cressida, The Winter's Tale, The Tempest, Romeo and Juiet, Julius Caesar, Henry VI part II, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and Hamlet again.