Sunday, December 15, 2019

Send yourself a postcard from inside a dream

Our dream memories are often like postcards or snapshots from a journey. We have an image or two from an adventure that goes far beyond what we remember. You look at a postcard from your trip to Paris and there is so much it does not contain, starting with the smell of the morning coffee and croissants, though dwelling with the image may start to bring back more out of memory.
      Suppose we could consciously send ourselves postcards while we are still traveling in a dream country? Maybe that would help us to remember more of the dream excursion, and to home in on the most important elements in our waking mind.
      This interesting idea comes from Dr Haines Ely, the gifted and civilized host of the "Earth Mysteries" radio show on KVMR out of Nevada City, California. I enjoyed a very lively and agreeable hour's conversation on the show a few years ago, when Haines mentioned that he is often lucid in his dreams, but found himself frequently frustrated because his dreams still tended to slip away when he got out of bed. He developed the practice of taking photographs inside his dreams, which he then mails to himself as postcards while he is still in a dream country. He does all of this meticulously, as you would do it in an ordinary situation: aim the camera, focus, click the shutter, print, write the address, stamp, put in a mailbox.
     Sometimes Haines finds that despite this recourse, his dreams still dissolve when he gets up in the morning. But then the postcard image will pop up on his inner screen later in the day, as if the mailman has just delivered it.
     Listening to Haines, I realized I have often done something like this in a less meticulous way. I find myself, recurringly, wanting to take a snapshot of something inside a dream so I can keep that image and show it to other people. I generally try to use my phone to do this,as in regular life. Sometimes my dream phone camera works, sometimes it does very strange things.
     In a dream soon after the radio show, I was being royally entertained by a talking head. It was the head of a New York publisher I used to know, long gone from this world, a lovely man with whom I used to have lunch in Murray Hill. The head was on the ground, nicely balanced on the gravel of a drive or courtyard, and my deceased friend was cracking us up with a series of wicked one-liners about politics and religion.
     I wanted to take his photograph to show to friends but before I could take the picture, I was whisked away onto a movie set. The film starred Clark Gable and Rita Hayworth, and I was right there with them when the soundtrack started playing "Some Enchanted Evening". I didn't send myself a postcard from inside this dream, but I may just possibly have managed to send myself a video clip.


James Wilson said...

It sounds like an interesting technique Haines uses. Taking photographs inside his dreams. I wonder if this is easy to learn. Going to see the next weeks if I can learn to do this. I am not familiar with the expression you used; "on the show a few tears ago" , or is this a mistype?

Robert Moss said...

No doubt there have been a few tears since that radio show, but that was a typo. Since corrected, but one of my rules is "Notice what's showing through the slip" so I'll reflect on what my errant fingers on the keyboard might have been tellng me.

Lori said...

Oh I have just come across your work and loving it immensely. I am a photographer among other things and I’ve always wondering why my camera is never with me on my journeys to these remarkable places at night. Perhaps I need to make a conscious effort and do as I do in real life and decide on my subject and frame it up? I guess I am too busy living it to stop, yet it is such an important part of my waking life. It would certainly enhance my work to come at it from a symbolic and metaphoric way rather than just my brain trying to make meaning! Thank you for all your insight and work, it is a true treasure to this world.