low bed with rumpled covers and art in modernist roomI am interested to know about your dreams. Tell me about your dreams. Did you dream last night? Can you recall a long, harrowing sequence of events? Or just a feeling you retained upon waking? Did you dream of specific people? People you see in your current life? People you knew in childhood? Have you had any particularly powerful dreams that you remembered for years afterward, that seemed to guide you, or terrify you, or watch over you?

Please tell me about your dreams.

No, no, no—stop there! I did not mean that I wanted a blow-by-blow report. Your dreams are not that interesting. Do you take offense? I am sorry. Well, then, how about this? To return the favor, I will not share a blow-by-blow report of my own dreams, either. Fair? Fair.

However, I do still want to know about your dreams. Do you dream most nights? Do you dream only rarely? Have you never once experienced a dream? Do you know you are dreaming when you dream?

I never know that I am dreaming. I have always had very vivid dreams. On certain medications, they get even more vivid. I have had dreams that were so steeped in meaning that they felt like thunderclaps, missives, mandates. Have you? I would like to share what I mean . . . so can we amend our deal? Please? A blow-by-blow report is only okay if it is meaningful, and if that meaning is explained. Deal? Deal. Now, here is what I mean:

When I was in the final stages of finishing my novel, and was nervous about how it would finally turn out, and whether I could get it right—this was a few years ago—I had a dream. In the dream, I was at a place that has great meaning for me: the capitol square in Madison, Wisconsin. For me, this place represents peace and stability. I could hear a beautiful symphony playing, and I knew I had written it. I had written it by typing words on the computer, and the result was a symphony, and it was the most beautiful music I had ever heard. In the dream, I listened to the music, and I was proud, and joyously happy, but also sad, because no one else could hear it, or wanted to hear it. When I awoke, I could no longer hear the music and did not know what it sounded like. But the loss of the music was bearable, because I suddenly remembered that I had something else: a nearly finished novel manuscript.

Some time later, when I was contemplating seeking an agent for the novel and starting a blog, I had another dream. In the dream, I was a dancer/stripper, auditioning for a part. I performed on the stage, dancing to the music before an audience, slowing taking clothes off. The removal of clothes was, I knew, the same thing as publishing my writing. I desperately wanted to remove all my clothes, but I somehow could not manage to take off the last layer. But I danced my heart out, and afterward, despite not taking off my sports bra and little skirt, I found out that I got the part. I was ecstatic, but also mortified. How could I bear to finally take my clothes off, when it came time to perform for real? I walked out into the audience, and my college roommate was there, having watched my audition. I was terrified about what she might say. I was shocked when she started telling me about something in her own life. It was then that I realized that she, and almost everyone I knew, did not care that much about any decision I made about my own life—as long as it did not affect them—and my worries that everyone would judge me were unwarranted.

Each of these dreams taught me something about myself that I had not known before. Each of them also guided me toward the future. I do not necessarily believe that this can be attributed to some sort of woo-woo mysticism, but rather to the workings of the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind often has access to knowledge that the conscious mind does not.

So anyway, few days ago, I had another such dream. In the dream, I knew I should do something, and I knew I should do it alone. It’s nothing bad or illegal or harmful, but it would require a certain outlay of money and time.

Should I do it?