Friday, 28 September 2012

Anxiety dreams

The earliest dream I can remember having is one in which I was drowning in noisy, crashing waves. I can't have been more than four. Looking back, I wonder if it was a memory of what it felt like to be born! Since then, I have had five distinct types of dreams. Horror, of the mad axeman or baddie with gun type, probably born of watching too much TV and movie violence; erotic (not enough of those! And the first happened when I was eleven and I dreamt I was a female cat who had sex with a tomcat, became pregnant and gave birth to a litter of kittens; was I a cat in my previous life?); nonsensical - those fragments which don't make up a whole story or even an episode; significant - dreams which are more vivid than normal and turn out to be either clairvoyant, or someone who's passed on trying to tell me something; and finally, the anxiety dream.

The most widespread anxiety dream, apparently, is the one where you're in a public place minus your clothes. I can top that: I have dreamt I was naked, perched on a loo in the middle of Piccadilly Circus! I've dreamt I was on stage at the Albert Hall, the orchestra was striking up, I was seated at a grand piano, hands raised, and realised with a nasty jolt that I had no idea what I was supposed to be playing. Then I've had the dream where you're lost in a strange town that is almost familiar, but not quite. Nothing is where you expect it to be, the streets bend in different ways, and you have no money, and the language the other people are speaking isn't quite your own.

Last night, though, I had a new one. I was back at school and it was May and I'd cut a class, thinking, 'I'll be leaving soon, it doesn't matter'. The other kids were wading through heaps of papers which they were taking from shelves in the corner. I asked one kid what the papers were and he told me they were revision sheets for the A-levels. I took some off the shelves and realised I hadn't even been to some of the classes, especially French and I hadn't read any of the set books. Then one of the kids told me I'd be sitting my A-levels too, and I got into a complete panic.

"I can't do A-levels, I've got a book contract, I've got a deadline," I said, but a teacher said I still had to do them.

"But I've already got four A-levels, an S-level and a degree!" I protested (true, in case you're wondering).

Yet they still insisted I sat an extra set of A-levels for which I was totally unprepared and sat staring uncomprehendingly at the questions, unable to answer any of them. Do you think this means I feel out of my depth, struggling neverendingly with this damn novel, the editor returning time after time asking for 'more introspection' or 'more sex'? Think it's time for me to have one of those erotic dreams again!.

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