My dreams of late have been getting creative. I went through a phase of lucid dreaming, when I was conjuring up sparkling rivers and fields of dewy flowers, just to make things pretty. In one dream, I thought, “I should have a boyfriend,” and lo! One appeared, holding my hand as I traversed a weird cross-country familial drama. I could never quite get a fix on his features, though.
More recently, I have started having creative writing dreams. Over the course of one night I plotted out what seemed in my sleep to be a brilliant idea for a novel. I’ve forgotten it, since on waking I realized it was a terrible idea for a novel. A couple of weeks ago, I dream-wrote a short story that began with the line: “I accidentally had brain surgery.” And went on to tell the sad tale of a woman who went in for a routine procedure and got mixed up with a neurosurgery patient. The result of the accidental brain surgery was that she started describing things with wild inaccuracy, thus making her the ideal unreliable narrator.
Last night’s creative writing dream was a bit more cinematic, so maybe I was working on a screenplay. The plot centers around a large family with a house on the bank of a river. The family consists of a mother, Ada, who is a physicist familiar with the multiverse theory, a nameless father who is really only interested in sailboats, a twenty-year-old son whose name doesn’t quite stick, a teenaged daughter destined to have a sexual awakening at some point in the story, a nine-year-old girl called Scamp, and possibly a toddler.
In the dream, the family goes out sailing on the river, upstream first, then downstream to get home. As they approach their dock, dad decides to do a sailing trick and uses the current to help him spin the boat 360-degrees repeatedly, until everyone is dizzy and Scamp complains.
Cut to the neighbors, also a large family who have taken their speedboat out for a day of fun. As they get within range of home, one of the kids calls out, “Look! Our house!” Their house is gone. Vanished. They come ashore and wander around in confusion, slowly noticing other minor details that are not quite right.
Back to our protagonists. They have docked their boat, and there is something wrong with their house. Parts of the house now appear rotten and abandoned for many years, while other rooms are just as they left them. Ada boots up her circa-1985 computer and starts processing data. Something is wrong with their universe. Meanwhile, the family realizes that apart from them and their neighbors, the entire town appears to be abandoned.
Ada quickly realizes that there are going to be some sort of creatures/ robots/ evil troops coming after them, and gathers the two families to hide in a now-empty house across the street, where they can keep lookout from the top floor.
At this point, things start getting explained. It turns out, when dad did his sailboat trick on the river, he caused something called by Ada a “parallax schism,” sending anyone on the river into a space between two parallel universes – one where they normally live, and another where their house had been abandoned and their neighbors’ never built. The creatures coming after them (and now searching their house) are “reality cleaners,” who will disinfect the universes by killing any lifeforms stuck in this in-between space.
Then the dream follows the twenty-year old son to a tavern where the older (35-yr-old) bartender he’s been sleeping with works. Surprisingly, she’s there. It turns out she had been swimming at the time of the schism. Incidentally, she has purple hair and pierced nipples, and is not really the kind of woman you’d imagine for this clean cut young man.
At that point, the dream peters out, though I have already decided that the plot won’t involve trying to get back to the right universe, but rather how to survive in this weird un-reality.