@

One night, after my toddler twins went to sleep, I wandered aimlessly around my dining room. I looked at the dishes in the sink, the pile of unpaid bills and stacks of papers that needed my response, the unread book with testimonials of changed lives, which I’d been reading three pages at a time for a month. I surveyed my options for a moment and decided on the book – in theory, I wanted to change my life.

I went to say goodnight to my teenage daughter, who was watching The Truman Show. I stood by the couch, book in hand, and watched the movie. The next thing I knew, I was sitting on the couch, book on my lap. An hour and a half later I got off the couch, picked up the book, and said goodnight. I placed the book back in its spot and stood staring at it for a long time while I considered whether I really wanted my life to change.

The Truman Show is the story of a man who one day realizes that his life is a charade, and that everyone knows but him. I wondered, and not for the first time, if I was a dupe – and what it would be like when my real life began. I’d considered this before, of course, as many of my favorite movies carry the same theme – The Matrix, Vanilla Sky, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – these all involve characters faced with the choice of living in a world of reality or non-reality. I questioned whether the life I wanted to wake up to would be any better and began to panic as I considered that this may in fact be the real world and that I was already awake. I decided that I wasn’t sure which was which and went to bed.

As I lay there near my husband, shifting this way and that, futilely trying to get comfortable, I attempted to define my life. I searched for a metaphor, straining to encapsulate it all into a pithy phrase, but couldn’t quit thinking about what Roman told me when I was seventeen. “You need to stop thinking in analogies,” he’d chided. “You’ve got to stay real.”

I made up my mind that my life was like being adrift on an ocean with a compass, but no oars. I thought this was brilliant and ran downstairs to text Erica, who could always be counted on to stroke my ego. I returned to bed, phone in pocket, and waited for Erica’s response. As I was falling asleep, she replied, saying that if I had no oars, then I just needed to rip somebody’s leg off and use that. I passed out with a smile.

That night, I dreamed that I was standing on a pier that ran alongside a large body of water. A river? An ocean? A lake? The morning sun glistened on the placid water and the sky was blindingly bright and cloudless. Birds sang. My boys splashed around between the pier and the bank and I thought about how that was the safest place for them to be – close to land. There was something foreboding about that water.

I stood on the pier, watching my children play, paying special attention to the way their mouths looked when they yelled and laughed, how big their bodies had gotten since they were babies, what they looked like when they bent, how their hair shined in the sun. They were having a fantastic time and I felt happy and in love with them, appreciating them more than I had in months. It would’ve be one of the most pleasurable moments in my life if it weren’t for that water. There was something foreboding about that water.

From out of nowhere, two airplanes plummeted from the sky and collided just above the water, about a hundred feet out from where I stood. There was an apocalyptic explosion as fiery pieces of aircraft dropped into the water. Frightened and shocked, I looked around at all the other parents playing with their children, but nobody seemed to notice what was happening. I looked at my boys, but before I was able to gauge their response I heard an explosion up above. I looked up to the sky and saw that two more planes had collided and fiery wreckage was falling downward. Suddenly, there were dozens of planes in the sky, all of them headed toward each other, and I braced myself for the impending disaster.

I opened my mouth to scream at the people around me – Watch out! Run! Don’t you see what’s happening? But no words came out of my mouth. I looked at my boys again, and now they did seem upset, but only because I was.

What’s wrong, momma? Why are you crying?

I looked back out at the water again, to the spot where the first wreck occurred, and there was an emergency response team there, paddling lifeboats toward the burning fuselage.

“There’s no hope,” I heard one of the men say. “Just look for body parts.”

I woke up suddenly to a dark room and didn’t remember my dream until later in the day at therapy.

“How have your dreams been lately?” my therapist, Lynn, asked and I suddenly remembered. I related the dream excitedly, each dreadful image flooding back to me.

Lynn looked at me for a long moment then told me to return the next week, free of charge. “To relieve my own anxiety, if nothing else,” she said.

I talked to Lynn for a while, telling her about my Truman Show epiphany, my impending separation from my husband, my trouble staying emotionally connected to my children. About how things in my life were going eerily well.

“You need to consider all of your options carefully,” Lynn said. As I wandered out into the bright, cool fall day, she added, “Try to stay as real as possible.”

TAGS: , , , , , , , , ,

Gloria Harrison GLORIA HARRISON is a writer whose work has been featured on The Nervous Breakdown, Fictionaut, and This American Life. Gloria was the lead editor for The Portland Red Guide: Sites & Stories of Our Radical Past by Michael Munk, which was published through Ooligan Press in 2007. She was also a contributing editor to Pete Anthony's book, Immaculate, for which she received a high five and a ten dollar gift card to Stumptown Coffee. Gloria graduated from Portland State University with her B.A. in English in 2006 and now focuses on her own writing. She had a work of flash fiction published in The Bear Deluxe Magazine (No. 26). You can follow her on Twitter here.

Gloria lives in Portland, Oregon with her school-age twin boys. She is currently working on both a memoir and her first novel. You can contact Gloria via her Facebook page.

72 Responses to “Divorce Apocalypse”

  1. Mary Richert says:

    Wow, Gloria. This is just mesmerizing. That dream is so powerful, and you rendered it hypnotically. But why did you choose “movies” as the category?

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      Hi Mary. Sorry about the movies thing. I’ve fixed it now, and this piece is properly categorized. Operator error. :)

      Thank you for your sweet comment.

      • Mary Richert says:

        LOL Ok, that makes more sense. I was thinking perhaps you wanted to try and work Bruce Willis into the dream scene somehow…

        • Gloria says:

          Bruce Willis has petted played heavily in my dreams a time or two…

        • James D. Irwin says:

          Bruce Willis visits the dreams of all good boys and girls.

          In person.

          Except me. I did dream I was being chased by angry Al Pacino though in dream that was almost exactly like a bit of Die Hard 3…

  2. amanda says:

    well, it’s 4 words, not 3: “since they were babies.” do i win? do i?! :-)

    lovely read, as always, my friend.

    funny that the water was foreboding but it was the sky that was falling…

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      You totally win. How about I cook you a nice catfish?

      Yes, the sky was falling. But you should’ve seen how scary that water seemed.

  3. Richard Cox says:

    This is beautiful, Gloria. Immersive and vivid…dare I say, real.

    Then again, I’m a sucker for any post that includes PKD’s imaginary world philosophies. You had me at Truman Show. :-)

    But you already knew that.

  4. “You need to consider all of your options carefully.” You know, this is so very accurate that it pushes through the membrane of banality, like Jim Morrison Breakin’ on Through to the other side, and becomes profound.

    I am truly a sucker for the simplest philosophies. Semantics? Theoretics? Dianetics? Bah. Give me a solid line of unassailable truth.

    Which is why, I think, cinematic variants of The Truman Show have been endlessly made and re-made. Authenticity is a philosophy. And one of the most difficult to consistently, individually adhere to.

    • Gloria says:

      Yeah, you know sometimes the simplest philosophy is the hardest to think of yourself when you’re feeling like everything is so complicated. Sometimes I don’t like platitudes, but sometimes they’re really useful.

  5. Irene Zion says:

    Gloria,

    I don’t ever want to have your nightmares.
    I don’t even want to remember I read that one.
    In fact, I am forcefully pushing that memory right now out of my brain.

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      I think I promised you kittens and unicorns last time you had a reaction like this to one of my pieces, Irene. Turns out I’m not so good with kittens and unicorns. Although! You’ll be pleased to hear that I’m writing my sons a book for this coming Christmas, which I’ll have have bound – one for each of them. :) Also, Indigo and I are writing a screenplay together. He’s pretty much making it up; I’m just transcribing and formatting. I’ll send you those if you’d like.

      • Irene Zion says:

        I would like that, Gloria!

        (We’ll be away on a journey hither and thither for a month,
        so if something arrives during that time I will not know
        until we return.
        Gypsies are we.)

  6. James D. Irwin says:

    I really liked this. Your Truman Show epihany reminded me of something that happened to me a couple of years ago around the time I started hanging out here at TNB— and met you.

    Also, I almost forgot:

    Gloria!

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      Irwin!

      What happened? If you don’t mind sharing…

      • James D. Irwin says:

        I won’t go in to too much detail because it’s taken me ages to be able to write about it, and now I can I’m going to write about it for this very site.

        But basically there was a time in my life when I came to realise I was very different from the rest of my family in terms of what I wanted in life and I wasn’t as keen to jump through the same little hoops everyone my age is suddently expected to and that I don’t see a highly paid job to be the end goal. All that shit wasn’t important to me.

        So basically I became a hippy.

        There’s more to it than that, I think. I hope. That does sound stereotypically non-conformist. I suppose another way to put it would be that I realised I didn’t have to live by anyone else’s expectations…

  7. Art Edwards says:

    Free therapy? I’m stayin’!

    So much going on here, G. I hope this finds its way into a longer piece, like the one you’ll be sending to that agent one day.

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      Yes. I’ll Frankenstein’s Monster this together with the other odds and ends and make a cohesive whole. It maybe ugly, but it’ll have a heartbeat. :)

      I was working on something else that I haven’t been able to finish when I decided to post this. The piece I’m putting together is actually an exploration of the archeology of the memoir. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. :) Turns out I just needed to, you know, make sure I knew what the hell I was talking about with all the archeology stuff.

  8. Simon Smithson says:

    Reality checking is actually surprisingly simple. Whichever existence you have to pay taxes in is the one that’s real.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Unless you’re crooked!

      • Gloria says:

        I mean, I don’t know – - if you get to choose, why wouldn’t you choose the one where you don’t have to pay taxes? I’d also like the one where pizza and deep fried Twinkies are healthy for you, and where fertility is an opt-in system that doesn’t ever necessitate menstruation.

  9. Caleb Powell says:

    I have a huge prejudice against dream sequences, hate ‘em, whether I’m ten pages or a two hundred pages in a book, as soon as I read about someone’s dream I’m done. The only thing worse in literature than a dream sequence is the “is it a dream or not” game.

    That being said, it works here. Or at least I read to the end and thought this writing came from someplace real.

    • dwoz says:

      just curious…what is it about dream sequences that pisses you off?

      As a technique, I would think it functions in much the same way a third person narration might…?

      • Caleb Powell says:

        Anything said in a dream can be said with less words in prose, prefaced by “I thought” or “I feared” or “I imagined.” Vivid recollections of dreams and their Freudian/psychological “meanings” muddy up the picture. They are not an economic way of getting to any point. If the reader knows the character is dreaming, it just seems a boring way to get at tension, and, like I said, the “is it a dream or not” schtick is worse, especially in movies. (The Black Swan/Natalie Portman flick lost momentum, in my opinion, because of this…as magnificent and interesting as the cinematography was)

        That’s my aesthetic and I ain’t changin’, though I’m probably going overboard in my vitriol, and there are probably many examples of effective dream narrative in literature that prove me wrong.

        • dwoz says:

          I wonder if economy is really all that it’s cracked up to be?

          I mean, I RESPECT E.B. White, but I don’t really LIKE him. So much of the economy-in-writing movement strikes me as just a number 14 wine cork embedded in the production end of an otherwise functional alimentary canal.

          I get the “show me, don’t tell me” thing.

          Maybe I’m just ruffled, because one of my novel’s characters is a lucid dreamer.

          uh, oh!

    • Gloria says:

      Yeah, I agree about dreams as a device – it’s gimmicky, but can be fun in a popcorn and candy kind of way.

      However, in this instance, the dream I’ve narrated above is authentic in every way and, really, it shook me enough to motivate me. We’ve all had one or two like that – the ones that grip you, pin you to the bed, and you just know it was important. But, like your children’s 2 hour production of Jack and Beanstalk, often times these things only seem amazing to you.

      Thanks for reading, Caleb.

  10. Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

    Gloria, I love this. Just, wow.
    Powerful.

    I’ve tried to put words to my dreams in hopes that others could understand the feeling, even more than the images, but I fail every time. You amaze me. Beautiful writing.

    love

    • Gloria says:

      Thank you, Lady A.

      I actually keep a dream log. One digital and one in my journal, which I carry with me everywhere I go just in case I suddenly remember a dream in the middle of the day. I’ve found that writing them down the moment they hit you is the best way to capture exactly what you felt.

  11. Joe Daly says:

    Gloria, I think this is my fave piece that I’ve read from you. Effective and engaging way to lead into the apocalyptic dream sequence after such a pensive and contented beginning.

    “Try to stay as real as possible.”

    It took me a second read to recognize how jam packed that statement is.

    Does “real” mean, stay out of the dream world (where it’s dangerous) and in the present (that you can control?)

    Does it mean to stay as authentic as possible, which I read as the patent meaning?

    Why “try?” Does that imply that she’s asking the impossible?

    It’s the kind of advice that you hear thousands of times in your lifetime, and it always seems to make good, practical sense. But at the end of this piece, it’s ominous.

    Really good stuff, Gloria.

    • Gloria says:

      Well, I couldn’t remember if Lynn had said “real” or “present.” I’m actually more sure that she used the word “present” but since I couldn’t be sure, I took the liberty of changing the noun to fit my needs. But, yes, the context that she meant it in was “present.” And, yes, it was fairly jam packed. When I was going through the bulk of my apocalypse, she used to tell me that I wasn’t allowed to play alone in my head. She’s pretty good with the ominous advice, which I appreciate because she trusts me to be emotionally smart enough to “get” it. It’s what’s kept me coming back for nearly seven years. She’s a thinker’s therapist. Which is what I’d like to be one day, now that I’ve finally decided what I want to be when I grow up.

      Thanks for the read and your thoughts, Joe.

  12. Sarah says:

    “I questioned whether the life I wanted to wake up to would be any better and began to panic as I considered that this may in fact be the real world and that I was already awake.”

    I’ve had these moments. It took me a long time and a lot of collateral damage for me to accept that this world is real and it’s up to me, and only me, to MAKE it be the world I want it to be. Waiting to wake up only left me in a haze and daze while those around me whom I loved and who loved me were living, hoping I’d one day join them. Life certainly isn’t perfect, but I’m so much happier to be an active participant in it now – even the bad parts. Plus, the control freak in me is thrilled to be back in the driver’s seat!

    This was beautiful, Gloria.

    I’m sorry you had that dream. There is no greater nightmare than witnessing impending doom, especially for your children, and having no voice or power to stop it. I hate those dreams.

    Also, free therapy? Hmm, I might have to borrow your dream to see if I can hook that up.

    • Gloria says:

      Hi Sarah!

      Well, that’s part of growing up, right? I think the blue pill/red pill analogy (and all the other forms it takes in various other stories) is a good metaphor for maturation. Especially emotional maturation – which happens at warp speed once you go from the frying pan into the fire.

      Please feel free to steal my dream in order to get free therapy. Let me know if it works!

  13. Although I share Caleb’s dislike for dream sequences, I really enjoyed this piece, Gloria. You are such a great writer, and I think the dream description juxtapostioned against the advice to stay anchored in reality works really well. I especially liked where you go from remembering Roman’s advice to stop thinking in analogies to starting off your next paragraph with an ocean/life analogy. Heh. I am also glad the divorce is long behind you and that you are doing better now.

    I think my dream sequence dislike stems from people telling me about their dreams in real life. It’s like someone saying, “Hey! Here’s a nonsensical and rambling story about something that didn’t happen! Wanna listen?” Great. Sign me up for that. (Yet my disdain shocks me, because I read primarily fiction. So maybe it’s not that I dislike dream sequences, I just dislike poorly-delivered dream sequences? Because I liked this piece by you. Hmm.) And in books and movies, dream sequences can often come across as masturbatory, or worse, deceitful, when used to trick the viewer. I think what I’m trying to say is that I blame the television show Dallas. It’s all J.R.’s fault.

    xoxo.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      I always feel like people will be interested to know if I had a dream that they were in and what happened in that dream, but as it turns out, it’s only interesting to me, and the other people just find it kind of creepy.

      • Gloria says:

        Right. My coworker recently came in really disturbed that he’d dreamt of the violent death of another coworker the night before. Luckily, he shared it with me, not her. Because, really, why does she need to know that?

    • Gloria says:

      I can see that. J.R. ruined my whole sense of reality, too. My grandparents were uber religious and bound to all manner of decorum, but they watched this sexy adult “story” once a week. I never understood that.

  14. Jessica Blau says:

    Wow. When was this? Are you fully divorced now? SO interesting. AND free therapy for a dream–holy moly!
    I, too, go into my mind sometimes for too long–have to knock myself in the head to drop back into reality.

    • Gloria says:

      Hi Jessica,

      This was 2006. Yes, I’m fully divorced now – thank all the gods in all the pantheons of all religions in the history of all planets. Ever. :D

      I, too, go into my mind sometimes for too long–have to knock myself in the head to drop back into reality. I could see this about you. I know the author is not the writing, but I got this sense when I read Drinking Closer to Home and it really connected me to the character(s).

      Thanks for the read!

  15. Becky Palapala says:

    I second Sarah’s comment here:

    It took me a long time and a lot of collateral damage for me to accept that this world is real and it’s up to me, and only me, to MAKE it be the world I want it to be.

    Sometimes the only answer to “What if?” is “So what if???”

    I actually do that. Send myself down that cognitive slippery slope, that line of catastrophic thinking, fully consciously. “And then what, Becky? Then what will happen? AND THEN WHAT???”

    9 times out of 10, I end up newly encouraged. It’s never that the end-of-the-world scenarios are particularly unlikely or impossible, it’s just that I realize they don’t, in fact, constitute the end of the world.

    I find that rubbing my own nose in my self-made bullshit reality tends to highlight how bullshitty it really is.

    So glad you chose the reality you did.

    • Gloria says:

      I do that, too. Talk myself down, that is. And when I can’t, I, at the very least, recognize that I need to be talked down and I call on one of my friends with a stronger sense of reality and pragmatism than I can muster at the time and ask them to set me straight. I’m sure you had no idea I do this. ;) On the other hand, I’m happy to offer the same service to my other friends when they’re asea. ‘Cause I can always see someone else’s problems (and solutions) clearer than my own. I’m sure I’m not alone in this regard.

  16. Ronlyn Domingue says:

    There’s amazing energy in this piece, Gloria. That rally and focus of strength is going to carry you through whatever comes next.

    I find “big dreams” fascinating–the ones that have the power to pivot the direction of someone’s life. More than 20 years ago, I had a dream that prepared me for a transition in a relationship. A good one, but still….I woke up in a tizzy and wrote it all out. Eight notebook pages, back and front.

    • Gloria says:

      Fascinating. Did you ever do anything creative with that dream? Work it into a story, turn it into a play, etc? Have you ever considered doing so?

      • Ronlyn Domingue says:

        It was surreal and epic and such a mess that I can’t imagine how it would make sense (I use that word loosely) to anyone else. Although I haven’t read the text in a long time, it might be worth a peek to see if there are any images that stand out. Good idea….

  17. David says:

    I am often struck by the separation between emotional life and external life. As you know, I have had an unusually stressful year and a half or so. During some of the worst times, I would take a look around and say to myself, “OK, but how bad is it really, right here, right now?” I would remind myself that I am warm, dry, fed, and have great people I can talk to.

    Sometimes it would help my mood, others it just seemed a bitter irony, but either way, it helped me see things more clearly and make better decisions.

    I always enjoy your writing.

    • Gloria says:

      Sometimes it would help my mood, others it just seemed a bitter irony, but either way, it helped me see things more clearly and make better decisions. Yeah, sometimes the red pill is preferable.

      I’m glad your present is smoother. XO

  18. I like you being told to stop thinking in analogies, followed by “I made up my mind that my life was like being adrift on an ocean with a compass, but no oars.” I’ll never stop thinking in analogies myself, like a windmill that keeps turning no matter the weather.

    And yes, you recounted the dream nicely. I found myself caught up in the moment at the water so much so that, as I was reading, I had to stop and return to the beginning of the paragraph to confirm there wasn’t actually a plane crash.

    Always powerful writing from you that doesn’t shy away from anything.

  19. Laura Tims says:

    This is a beautiful piece. There’s so much strength in your images, and that lends a kind of solidity to the overall emotion. The dream is particularly vivid. I wonder if you transcribed it directly from memory, or if the writing brought out more significant details?

    • Gloria says:

      I did transcribe the dream directly from memory. As a matter of fact, it was when I left my therapist’s office, while it was all fresh. Actually, 75% of what’s here was written down then. I just finally decided to do something with it, because I liked how very in the moment it all was, but also that I didn’t read it like a journal piece.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Laura.

  20. Stefan Kiesbye says:

    “Just look for body parts.” Whoa, chilling advice, even or especially, in a dream.

    I like your thoughts about the reality of our reality. Sometimes I think that other people see our reality so much more easily and completely (and we do theirs), and that we’re constantly deluding ourselves about the lives we lead. Can’t be changed, I think, but I love your frien’s advice of ripping someone’s leg off. That kind of selfishness might actually be helpful!

    • Gloria says:

      Actually, I think it was the advice to rip someone’s leg off that led to the men in the boat (who had oars) saying, “Just look for body parts.” I think dreams are just as much a collection of things you thought and heard throughout the day as they are your psyche’s way of communicating with you. Sometimes they just mean that you ate a bad pepperoni before bed. Either way, they can definitely inform your reality (whatever the hell that means) if they’re jarring enough.

      Thanks for the read, Stefan.

  21. Amber says:

    I am a huge believer in the idea that dreams can be vehicles for prophesies, literal or not. Maybe it’s just your inner voice talking to you when you’ve finally quieted down enough to listen or maybe it’s the universe telling you something or maybe that’s the only time you get to work out the Psychic Friends routine you’ve been perfecting, but whatever it is, it works a fair amount of the time. Sometimes it takes one of those dreams to put you on the right path. I’ve had a few that have kick-started my decision making process.

    And I would just like to state for the record that after The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Jim Carrey has been robbed of a few Academy Award considerations. Especially with Man on the Moon. Can’t they forgive him for all that Ace Ventura nonsense?

    • Gloria says:

      I couldn’t agree more about Jim Carrey. I feel the same way about Bill Murray – when does that guy get to win an Oscar?

  22. I’m reading this just before bedtime. I’ll let you know tomorrow how my dreams fared from doing so ;)

    Matrix and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are among my favorites. I like the direct and indirect ways you evoke them here, even in those intense descriptions of your dream.

  23. jmblaine says:

    Reality is too harsh
    for those soft
    of heart

    I fight it daily.
    & lose.

    Had this conversation
    years back
    with an old preacher
    I trust:
    OP “You’re caught up looking for all this meaning & purpose where there is none.”
    Me: “Isn’t everybody?”
    OP: “That’s what’s wrong with us.”
    Me: “There has to be something.”
    OP: “Just this. We look to the Scripture. Can I read you this?”
    Me: “Sure.”
    OP: “Ecclesiastes. ‘Vanity of Vanities. Everything is meaningless. So what is
    life’s great purpose? What is the best thing you can give your heart, mind and soul to in this life?
    Only this:
    Eat with gladness,
    drink in moderation,
    find work that you love
    & cultivate meaningful relationships.’”
    Me: “That’s it?”
    OP: (smiles) “That’s enough.”

    • Gloria says:

      That’s really great advice, JM. Since that dream, I think I’ve mastered three of the four:

      Eat with gladness,
      drink in moderation,
      find work that you love
      & cultivate meaningful relationships.

      I’m still working on the “find work that you love” part, but it’s getting there. I mean, outside of raising my sons, which is the most incredible and heart-warming work I’ll probably ever do. Unfortunately, it costs more bills than it pays.

      But yeah, great advice. It really is that simple, I think.

  24. angela says:

    before my divorce, i had a lot of dreams about losing all my teeth. after my divorce, those dreams stopped entirely.

    but i still have disaster dreams similar to yours – i’m watching the sky, and a planet or spaceship is barelling towards the earth – but in the dream i’m always more fascinated than afraid.

    • Gloria says:

      That’s fascinating that you’re fascinated. Sincerely. I feel this panic in these types of dreams – like I’m supposed to be doing something, but I’m always impotent. I think I’d like to be a little more passive. I just don’t seem to be built that way.

  25. D.R. Haney says:

    I remember reading an account of a dream by Mike Watts of the Minutemen, after the death of his best friend, D. Boon, who was also in the Minutemen, and what was said in that dream couldn’t have been said in any other way. That’s true of dreams, generally. A friend of mine once told me, trying to explain why he didn’t believe he was in love with a particular girl, even though he wanted to be, “I never dream about her.”

    I mention this all by way of saying that I can’t adopt a hard-and-fast line about the use of dreams in literature, as another commenter said of himself above. As a novelist, I try to take into consideration every aspect of a character’s inner life (I don’t like that term, but I’m too hurried to come up with another), and I think we’ve all had dreams, at one time or another, that left deep impressions. That dreams are usually handled badly by writers — and the dream here isn’t — is another story. The majority of writers handle love badly, they handle death badly, they don’t handle well much at all. I witness an awful lot of literary stumbling, but I don’t avoid the area where the fall occurred just because others have been unsuccessful in navigating it.

    On another note, I had a very striking dream a few years back in which an earthquake, a tornado, and a tsunami were happening simultaneously. I described the dream to a friend, who interrupted me after I mentioned the earthquake and tornado, and said, “And there was a tsunami, too, right?”

    “There was! How did you know?”

    “Because another friend just told me he had the exact same dream.”

    Collective unconscious, anyone?

    • Gloria says:

      That dreams are usually handled badly by writers — and the dream here isn’t — is another story. The majority of writers handle love badly, they handle death badly, they don’t handle well much at all. — You’re right on, Duke. Honestly, I don’t understand the prejudice at all. I mean, I get that people feel manipulated by dream sequences, but that isn’t the only purpose dream sequences serve. You know? I mean, anything can serve as an epiphany for a character – from a hot dog, to a shipwreck, to a dream.

      Man…I’ve heard of people sharing dreams. I’ve never experienced it, but wouldn’t find it off-putting at all. I would find it exciting. I once had a boyfriend who dreamed of my car accident about two weeks before it happened – complete with what I was wearing that day and the deaths of my foster mom and the two men in the opposing vehicle. Then, my ex-husband believes he dreamed of me before we met (which, as he explained, is why he wanted to marry me even though I was beneath his station in life and not really all that attractive to him). That’s not exactly the same thing as sharing dreams though.

  26. Greg Olear says:

    I liked this post a lot more than I liked “The Truman Show.”

    Dreams are amazing, aren’t they? Amazing that our own minds choose to communicate to us using that medium. Sort of blows your mind.

    • Gloria says:

      Dreams can totally blow your mind. They can also be nonsensical and just plain confusing. Those are the ones you probably shouldn’t share with others, for risk of boring them. “Well, you see, there was hippo in a pink tutu holding a red helium balloon. But then the balloon turned into the head of my 9th grade chemistry teacher…”

  27. Reno Romero says:

    Gloria:

    This was great. Sad, no doubt, but you snatched what most people don’t care or dare to do: change. Funny, how epiphanies come to us. Dreams. Movies (these have always been a source of inspiration to me). Overheard conversations. All that. Life is odd and beautiful that way.

    I’m sorta recently divorced. It was a curious event that at times I can’t believe happened and at times wonder why it took so long. I didn’t have an epiphany (wish I did – it would have things far more interesting). I just knew I disconnected. I knew I threw in the towel and I didn’t give a fuck.

    Hopefully, today all is well and when you dream they’re rock and roll dreams. You know the ones. The ones full of strange lovers and musical notes you’ve never heard before. See ya, Gloria.

    • Gloria says:

      “musical notes you’ve never heard before” is god damned gorgeous, Reno. Cheers.

      • Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

        I’m glad you said that, G.
        I liked that line, too but I wasn’t going to tell him.
        We are rivals until bball is over.

        (KOBE SUCKS)

  28. Erika Rae says:

    So, I’m officially stalking you tonight.

    Interesting dream. For some reason I’m struck by the realness with which you were watching your twins. And the water.

    Just look for body parts.

    You could use one as an oar.

    ( :

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