Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Interpretation of Dreams

Interpretation of dreams anyone?

I’ve been having some pretty strange dreams, so I am putting this up on both of my blogs to get some feedback.

My Aunt Exposed

In the first dream, I walk into my aunt’s room, mistaking it for the bathroom, and find her lying in bed with her breasts uncovered. She is an older woman and her breasts are very large and very black. She tries to cover them, but the sheets keep falling away from them. I am stunned, embarrassed, and I back out of her room apologizing profusely.

What does this mean?

Well, a good friend of mine, mostly in jest, provided an interpretation: “Subconsciously, you want your family to keep their secrets to themselves. They have been revealing things to you of late that you do not want to know. You wish they would not tell you these things. You do not want to know these things.”

Wow. My friend may have been kidding around, but his interpretation rang true for me. I have of late learned some dark family secrets that both saddened and angered me, and one of these secrets does in fact involve my aunt.

The second dream is even weirder.

My House Invaded

In the second dream, my wife and I are in our bathroom brushing our teeth as we do every morning when a tall, innocent-faced young man reaches over my shoulder for one of our toothbrushes to brush his own teeth. I react with shock and anger, telling him to get out of our bathroom.

As the young man retreats apologizing, I ask my wife: “Who is that guy?”

She jokes: “He is my boyfriend.”

I say, “You’re kidding, right?”

She says, “Of course. He looks twelve, if that.”

When we leave the bathroom and enter our own room, my mother-in-law is on our bed with our son, who is 13, but in the dream he is much young, maybe 6 or 7. I am alarmed that there are people crowded into the room, opening closet doors and looking through our things. As I recognize some of their faces, I realize what has gone wrong. The college where I teach is having some sort of event and the attendees got the wrong address and ended up at our house instead. I say to my son, “Get these people out of here. Show them how to get to the college.”

Then my little son gets up from his grandmother’s lap and begins to lead the people out of our room, out of our house and I suppose to the college.

Then I leave my house (I can’t remember the reason why) and I become disoriented when I try to find my way back. I can’t find my own house. Everything looks familiar, the neighborhood, the houses, the cars, but my memory lapse is so severe I can’t remember which street I must go down in order to get back to my own house. At that point in the dream, I say to myself, “If I were in my car I would know how to get back home, but not on foot. I am lost on foot.”

When I spy a familiar security guard from the college, I say to him, “Which direction are you going in? I need to get home.”

The guard, who is wearing his neatly-pressed black uniform, says, “I am going to the college. I can only take you as far as the college because I have to clock in.”

This sounds good to me. I am convinced that if I can get to the college, everything will look familiar and I can find my way home from the college as a starting point.

So I follow the security guard, who for some reason gets out of his car and leaves it behind. We are walking through another familiar looking neighborhood that I can feel in my bones is near where I live, but I cannot figure out how to get home from here. If I had my car, however, I could turn down each and every street until I found the one that was mine. But on foot like this, it is too much of an effort to go down every street one at a time. I am so weary for some reason, so exhausted.

The security guard stops at a tree-lined section of the neighborhood and lights a torch and begins to set the trees on fire. The fire leaps from one tree to the next. He stands back and asks, “Do you think they will all burn?”

I say, “No. The fire will stop after that tree.” I point to a gap in the trees behind the houses. “You are going to have to light that second row of trees.”

The guard says, “Okay. You’re going to have to wait until I am done. I have to do this before I clock in.” Then he leaves to go light the second row of trees.

As the trees around me burn, I am upset because my only chance of finding my way home is with the guard and I have no idea how long this new duty of his is going to take. Will I ever get home?

Then I spot another guard from the college, an older, heavy-set female guard who has a reputation for being chatty and friendly. She too is wearing the black uniform. I do not want to betray the first guard, but I have to get home. So I ask the female guard if she can help me find my home and she says, “Hop in.”

I get into her car with the feeling that she is not going to be any more successful in getting me home, but at least I am off my feet. I feel very tired, exhausted. It is good to rest my feet.

I think the dream ends there.

Thanks,

Preston

1 comment:

Pia Jensen said...

Sounds like your friend is right on the first dream. The second dream has so much chaos in it. And there seems to be no way to get control of the madness that prevents you from finding home, peace, and rest from the chaos of the world around you in this dream. But, dreams are a funny thing - they may be filled with great import reflecting what is happening in your life (1st dream) - or, they could be an accumulation of the pieces of your life, resulting in unrelated leaps between the pieces. But, I think you have some interesting fodder for stories in your dreams!

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Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

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Bio


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.