Dreams are a great help in writing. Capturing dream images on paper can be quite rewarding. I find it useful to classify my dreams to gain a better understanding of myself. What do dreams mean to you? Have you ever written about dreams? From my list below, do you see any dream categories that are familiar? Any dream categories that you would add? If you have a striking dream, try to describe it, and see where the writing takes you.
1. Examination dreams. I’m taking some kind of exam, and often parts are missing or I forget to fill in certain parts. I usually do poorly on exams. I often wake up disturbed wondering why I need to take such exams, because I was at the university for fifteen years!
2. Dormitory dreams. I often find myself in a dormitory with other residents. Sometimes I talk with old friends, but I usually feel uncomfortable, and want to leave. There is often a feeling of being boxed in. Then I wake up and think, “Aren’t I past all that?”
3. Travel dreams. I sometimes learn that I am on a trip to someplace, often a foreign country, but sometimes between California and Oregon. I usually think about food, and whether there will be enough and what kind. The more I think about the journey, the more I dislike it, and often return to starting point. Or if I’m in another country, I generally want to leave after some time has passed.
4. River dreams. Very common. I often see rapids that are different from ones I remember. I am surprised and sometimes scared. Waves are sometimes huge, rocks large and menacing. Many times I try to get out, and mostly succeed. Sometimes I give advice to others; I’m usually not alone. Often my Dad is with me. Sometimes the river is dried up, and I feel frustrated. Maybe the river is my mind’s symbol for obstacles. I do love rivers, and this makes it a natural choice.
5. Book and Record dreams. I sometimes dream I’m in a store that has records and books I’ve been looking for. The records are often 78 albums of children’s records, which I love to collect. However, when I approach the desired books or records, they seem to disappear or turn into something else. The stores that exist in my dreams almost never refer to stores that actually exist. But there is a kind of dream logic in that stores in one dream will occur in another dream. This is also true of other kinds of dreams. In other words, in my dreams, certain stores, rivers, countries, dormitories, and exams seem to be recognized by my dream state as real.
6. Lecture dreams. In these dreams I try to explain to others the meaning of certain ideas or philosophies. Such dreams are often populated by known personages. Sometimes when I awaken and recall some things I said in lectures, they seem absurd. I often get the simplest number calculations wrong. My thoughts don’t seem as rational. But in the dream I am center stage, and feel I’m doing something significant.
7. Missing Car dreams. These are quite common and disturbing. I look for my car, but am unable to find it. I feel sure I know its location, but it isn’t where it should be. Sometimes I find the car, and sometimes I don’t. Perhaps a better title for this section would be Lost Items dreams since I occasionally lose shoes, parts of apparel, keys, and so on. But cars predominate, and hence the title.
8. Getting Lost dreams. These are also quite common, and seem to last for a long time. I’m often tired and restless after such dreams. At some point in the dream I turn down the wrong road, and I try through many obstacles to get on the right path. Sometimes I wake up when I’ve succeeded. Needless to say, many, if not most of my dreams combine elements from the different categories.
9. Losing Car Control dreams. These dreams involve situations where I can’t slow the car down, and it appears out of control. I become frightened when a curve comes, and often the car flies off the road and drops down speedily resulting in destruction. Sometimes I manage to gain control of the car and avert destruction.
10. Wishful Thinking dreams. In these dreams I feel I can do just about anything; sing like an opera singer, dance like a great dancer, jump several feet off the ground and move forward by waving my arms. These are empowering dreams; they are always positive.
11. Chasing Dreams. These are perhaps my most menacing and frightening dreams. In them familiar personalities often become transformed into ruthless killers. The sudden transformation often elicits terror. I sometimes feel that when I try to run, I move ever so slowly. Most of the time I escape, though not always without injury. It seems that I feel the sharp pain when I am struck. When I wake up, however there is no evidence of a struggle.
12. Confinement Dreams. I often find myself in small spaces that I must get through to proceed on my way. I feel I must squeeze through tiny openings. There is a feeling of claustrophobia. Sometimes my body is turned around, and there is a distinct feeling of discomfort. However, I almost always move on.
13. Appetite Dreams. In these dreams I have a great appetite, which is not satisfied. I am in restaurants, cafeterias, or other places that sell food. I watch myself eating with gusto, but am disappointed to find out I’m just as hungry as before. I often wake up with a decided appetite.
14. Relationship dreams. This is the most complex category of all. Intimacy, fear, affection, rejection are all combined in sometimes hazy, but often quite vivid images. However, there are times when the dream is so reassuring and cozy that I don’t want to get up!