Do you ever have strange dreams? The kind that seem so real when you’re asleep but when you wake up, they make no sense? I’ve had a few; being chased by wild animals, finding myself in a different body…. they can be quite scary sometimes.

The strangest dream I’ve had involved clowns. I’ve never liked clowns. When I was a child I used to think they were evil… something about the way they could all fit into one car really freaked me out. In my dream I was standing in a field surrounded by clowns. There were dozens of them all moving in sync; they’d take several steps, stop and harvest the corn, then move on. They’d do it again and again, not knowing I was there. It was all so eerie, so quiet…

When I woke up I remember lying there, trying to work out what I’d seen. But it made no sense! Were the clowns supposed to be some metaphor for illegal immigrants? For cloning and genetically modified foods? I still don’t know now but in the end something about the dream stayed with me and a couple of months later I turned it into a story. I took the clowns and the fields and created verandis, a drug which gave people a high of fear; in small doses it was a cheap thrill, but in high doses it proved effective for torture. The Drug of Fear was one of the first stories I had published and it’s funny to think that without that dream, I’d never have written it.

I had an experience earlier this week which made me think of the clown dream again. I was getting the bus home and listening to some music. Usually I like to watch what’s going on around me, but this time I was staring out the window. There was a seagull flying overhead and one of its wings was bent; I watched it for about a minute, wondering if it was broken, how it might have happened. When I finally looked away I caught the gaze of a girl a few seats in front of me.

She was watching me, smiling slightly, and she didn’t look away like most people do when they’re caught staring. She just smiled again and the funny thing was, I knew what she meant. She wasn’t smiling at me, but she knew what I was doing; it was like we were the only two people on the bus who had noticed the seagull. It was a moment we shared and without words, it seemed special. We got off at the same stop and neither of us said anything, but it was a nice feeling, like for a moment we’d been linked in a dream…

But then in a way it was a dream, a daydream. While I was watching the seagull I wasn’t aware of anything else… I was somewhere else, far away. The strange thing is that usually I don’t dream when I sleep, or if I do I don’t remember them. But I daydream quite often during the day, and since I’ve been having trouble sleeping I’ve actually been dreaming more than I was before. Whether that’s a good thing or not I don’t know – maybe it means I’m too active and carrying my thoughts into my sleep.

Anyway, I just thought it was interesting. Dreams fascinate me; we know so little about them, but they’re just one example of how amazing the human body and mind can be… even if sometimes your dreams are of fields of clowns. 😉

8 thoughts on “Dreams

  1. Were the clowns supposed to be some metaphor for illegal immigrants? For cloning and genetically modified foods?

    i really laughed out loud on that. who the heck dreams about illegal immigrants?? not even the most xenophobic of people i’m sure, lol…

    so who does the girl resemble? your favourite celebrity crush? 😉

    CJ: Yeah, dreaming about illegal immigrants would be funny, wouldn’t it? Unless you’re a coastguard or border officer. Then maybe you’re taking your job way too seriously.

    Well, she didn’t look like that many people… maybe a cross between Natalie Portman and Claudia Karvan. She was cute. She can stare at me all she wants, I don’t mind. 😛

  2. I love the connection you shared with the little girl. They say in heaven there is no words needed to convey our thoughts, to me your experience was an example of the way it will be.

    I am a dream fanatic. I keep dream journals and constantly look up the meaning to my dreams. My favorite site is dream moods.com
    I have done some Thursday Thirteen on dream symbols and what they mean.

    I am also fascinated how the most random symbol in a dream can represent exactly what’s going on in my life (When I look up the meaning) My reoccuring dream has always been of a lion with a full mane chasing me.

    Here is what I found on clowns.

    To see a clown in you dream, symbolizes absurdity, light-heartedness, and a childish side to your own character. The countenance of the clown is a reflection of your own feelings and emotions. Whether it is a happy clown or a sad clown, that will help guide you through how you may be feeling. The actions of the clown signifies your uninhibited nature. Alternatively, it is an indication of your thoughtless actions.

    If you have a fear or phobia of clowns, the clown may represent a mysterious person in your life who mean you harm. Somebody you know may not be who they appear to be. Or somebody may be pretending to be somebody they are not and are hiding under a facade.

    CJ: Thanks, Maribeth. It was a strange kind of connection, one that’s quite hard to describe; it just felt like in that moment we were on the same wavelength and knew exactly what each other was thinking. I’ll probably never see her again but I doubt I’ll experience something like that with too many people, so it’s something I’ll always remember… that moment and her smile.

    Thanks for the link too. Dream Moods looks like a great site, I’ll have to check it out. When I was younger I used to dream of being chased by horses, a bit like your lion… that’s why I find dreams so interesting, that we can have different dreams but so similar… it says a lot about who we are, what links us together as people.

    And that’s interesting about clowns. At the time I had the dream there wasn’t anyone in my life who seemed mysterious, but a few things had happened that had left me unhappy and uncertain of what I wanted to do with my life. I always thought that was the reason I had the dream but I didn’t understand what the clowns meant; perhaps I mixed the feelings together and they became the presence of what I was feeling… I’ll have to give it some more thought.

  3. When I was around 5 or 6 I had a big fear of burglars. I was also a fan of Phantom comics and action movies. I used to be so scared of burglars that I’d only be able to sleep in my parents’ bed, right between mom and dad. I felt safe there. One night I had this crazy dream that burglars had broken into our house and me, my dad and the Phantom were fighting them off on the balcony. It was really awesome. The Phantom even gave me his ring and gun.

    CJ: Now that’s an interesting dream! Sometimes I used to dream myself into Star Wars, so I kind of know what you mean. It’s interesting how the subconscious uses familiar imagery to confront a fear… The Phantom is a hero, so who better to stand beside you to face your fear?

    I love The Phantom too, btw. I loved reading the comics as a kid. Even now I still pick up the odd copy secondhand… something about coming back to The Phantom always feels like seeing an old friend after so many years. 🙂

  4. It’s amazing how many people really don’t like clowns. There’s something about that. On the surface, they’re meant to entertain us, right? But, there is a dark side. They must deeply and symbolically provoke a dark archetype in us.

    Your post brought to mind one I read a while ago. A commenter here had some good links and a blog about dreamwork: http://spiritualtravelman.wordpress.com/2007/12/07/do-dreams-mean-something/

    CJ: You know, I don’t think I’ve met many people who actually like clowns. The University of Sheffield ran a poll of 250 children this year and all 250 said they don’t like clowns, so that says something. Plus if you think that the Joker is a parody of a clown and he’s one of the most evil villains created, there’s obviously something that disturbs us on a base level.

    For me I think it was their appearance. To a child they look slightly demonic, particularly in the dark… maybe they bring back more primitive memories of campfires and stories of goblins and ogres, the same way that fairy tales can frighten as much as entertain. Or maybe they’re just freaky. 😉

    Thanks for the link, Muse, I’ll check it out. Looks like an interesting post.

  5. CJ..I am a bit like marnini in a way that I like to get my dreams interpreted…They are often an open door to our subconscious…Just let it go and keep in mind that the symbols sometimes are not what they seem to be…Take it in a positive way as they are meant to help u out…I can sense that a good poem will come out from ur experience with the girl and the seagull….I can feel it be a very good piece of Art already….

    Dreams are no harm..


    CJ: Funny you should say that about the poem, CV; that’s exactly what I want to do. It was such an unusual experience that it feels very inspiring… if I can capture that feeling of being free, then it could make a good poem.

    And I know what you mean about interpreting dreams. I think Maribeth was spot on with what the clowns meant; it makes sense that they would represent some uncertainty or mystery… I find dreams fascinating because we really know so little about them, yet they’re so powerful and play such an important part in our lives… sometimes they can be weird, but they’re always telling me something. Best just to go along for the ride, eh? 😉

    Sleep well, CV, and happy dreams. 🙂

  6. Interesting that I should read this post from you today. My daughter just within the last week has had quite a few questions about “real” dreams vs “surreal” dreams and the meanings. I haven’t really had much to tell her. All of my dreams, except one, have been obvious dreams. Ones that may have touched on circumstances in my life, but ones I could always tell were just dreams – even while having them.

    But there was one …..

    It was probably about a month after my mom died. There had been so much going on since she had died that I hadn’t really had a chance to breath. Her death wasn’t unexpected – she had been battling Stage IV colon cancer for 4 years. But I had just found out that she had died about an hour before I was notified by my stepdad, and that they were so sure she was going to die that way that they called her pastor to come from over an hour away to pray with her before she died. I was devastated that they didn’t give me, or my daughter, the chance to say goodbye. And we were very,very close to my mom so that really hurt. That night I dreamed of her. I was in a house and she was there and all the people that had held places in her life were wandering around. She sat on the floor in the middle of the living room and I laid down and put my head in her lap and she stroked my hair. I told her I wasn’t ready for this. I asked her why? Why did she have to go now? She just kept stroking my hair like she had so many times since I was little and told me that it was time for her. She told me she loved me and that she was so very proud of me, no matter what ever else she had ever said or shown. Then she said it was time for her to go. I cried and just looked at her. I told her I wasn’t ready for her to – I couldn’t do this without my mom. She hugged me – and then I woke up. I could still smell her and feel her hand on my hair.

    That was the only dream I’ve ever had that has seemed so real that it feels more like a memory than a memory of a dream. And part of me wonders, even though it goes against what I was taught about life after death, was it? Was it her reaching through time and space to give me that chance to say goodbye? Or was it just my subconsciousness trying to give me closure? I’ll never know I guess, but I do know that either way – real or dream – it was obvious how much she loved me.

    CJ: Thank you so much for your comment… I’m almost at a loss for words reading it. One of the reasons I’m so fascinated by dreams is because they can be so powerful, yet so personal, that they can mean something different at different times in our lives… it sounds like so much was going on that you were overwhelmed and dreams have a funny way of showing us what we need to see.

    I’m sorry to hear that about your mother… I know I’d want to be surrounded by my loved ones, but she found comfort in her own way at the end. Your experience sounds amazing… I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like, but it really does sound like a memory, a part of your life… you had one more chance to say goodbye and that’s a beautiful thing.

    If it were me, I think whether it was real or my subconscious wouldn’t matter as much as the memory… it’s the experience and closure, that feeling of being loved. It was real to you and that’s what matters more than anything else.

  7. My father was a fan of the Phantom comics in his childhood. He saved up many of his comics and I have always been the kind of guy who would pounce upon any reading material available. That’s how my Phantom craze started. I even wrote a few Phantom stories of my own I think.

    I used to have a lot of dreams, quite a few of which were *ahem* erotic. *ahem* Lately though, I hardly dream, or even if I do I don’t remember even a tiny bit of it when I wake up.

    My friend decided to keep a dream diary once. Unfortunately for him, ever since he started keeping a dream diary, his dreams became less common and he had trouble remembering them.

    CJ: That must have been a great way to get into the Phantom; some of the older comics are just brilliant. I got into it with the Phantom 2040 tv series but loved the comics when I started reading them. I love the time frame; it makes the series so unique.

    I wonder how many people actually do remember dreams? I don’t either unless it’s a vivid one or a nightmare… what’s interesting is that culturally dreams are often depicted as erotic, but actually that only happens about 10% of the time. And 12% of people dream in black & white! That’s weird, isn’t it? I don’t think I’ve seen a black & white tv, let alone a dream. 🙂

  8. CJ, the clown is the mask we wear to hide our fear of death, or is it fear of love? Having turned our back on the origional Eve, we got lost in intellectual materialism, thinking, dreaming. Its various faces mark the stages on the road back to our nobility.

    I remember reading once there is a hierarchy of masks that have to be earned by the clown before he can put it on. Eventually there is super clown, or so the clown thinks.

    If you make a connection with a girl in the silence don’t pass her by. Not always easy, but always enlightening.

    CJ: Thanks, Mark. That’s interesting about clowns. I don’t believe I’m afraid of death but I am cautious as far as love goes, so it might be representive of that… the clown is often depicted as a tragic figure in literature (and opera), so that might go along with it as well.

    And you’re right, a part of me regretted not saying anything to her, even though I appreciated the moment… it’s hard enough forming connections, we shouldn’t let them pass by so easily, eh? Thanks for stopping by. 😉

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