11 January 2015

Dreams and Fantasy, A Mirror into Reality, Like Bergman Did it

Sometimes before falling asleep I’ll see myself on the roof of the house I grew up and I’ll be on the edge looking down ready to fall to my death and sometimes I’ll see myself fall and sometimes I’ll start to fly before hitting the ground and soar through the Berkeley air of the 1960s. My arms will be akimbo and there’ll be birds alongside me and I can go wherever I want and perhaps — don’t know for sure — do whatever I want. I am as free a being as ever lived. But sometimes I just fall flat. Splat.

I always get a sense of vertigo when I have these internal visions and so try to shake them off though this is easier thought then done. When I was a kid I used to climb way up a redwood tree in our backyard and the very thought of it today makes my hands clammy. Literally. If I think about it long enough.

I do not ever want to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge or any other high place and when I think about doing it I usually envision the whole business of flying. Not of dying.

Of course I have a lot of dreams in which I have the power of flight. I say of course because it just seems so obvious to me that I would. If you knew me you’d think it rather obvious too. I like my dreams and that I dream so vividly. None of them, not even the bad ones, scare me or worry me or bother me in the least. They perplex me for sure but that’s okay. Being a little confused from time to time is a really good way to go through life. I notice the people with the most certainty are the ones who are most confused. Maybe they don’t dream enough or don’t remember their dreams or they don’t try hard enough to. Or maybe they don’t like dreams. They are, after all, in some senses impractical. Especially when you’ve got a big business meeting the next morning or are worried about an investment or are trying to squeeze extra pennies out of some poor sucker.

Why do some people revere the non dreamers? The ones who live to earn at whatever the consequences to their fellow humans? I don’t know either.

But I was writing about dreams. Some are pretty clear. Those I don’t spend a lot of time. Dream interpretation has no time to waste on the easy ones. There’s the bizarre that deserve scrutiny. But I also have day dreams to deal with. Okay I know what you’re thinking. Day dreams are created on a conscious level. Well, not always. Not mine, always. Sometimes I just turn off one part of my brain — can’t really say which — and turn on another — can’t really say which — and just let whatever happens happen. And it does. Now the typical day dream — mine, anyway — usually has to do with sex or glory or revenge or other things that make me happy. I am a heroic figure in these day dreams. A great lover, a rich man a famous man a revered man and my enemies are smited. But other times my daydreams take all manner of twists and turns and defy easy labels. I’m doing all sorts of crazy things that — like sleeping dreams — defy all logic. They are populated not only with gorgeous super models, but famous people from the past and present and relatives and friends from past and present. The cool thing about such day dreams is I can intervene at anytime if I don’t like the direction they’re going in or see a possible writer’s embellishment that will make them more fun. It’s like I’m a film director. How cool is that? Pretty cool.

I like what the great Swedish director Ingmar Bergman does with dreams and fantasies and visions and mental illness in his movies. Sure sure there’s a lot of symbolism going on but its more — I think — about the mood and the feeling and the mind of the characters. He also tosses in ghosts which I don’t think he believed in. I don’t believe in them but I like the way he uses them and I’ve used them myself in some of my humble writings. They can be great vehicles for story telling. Which is really what Bergman was: a great great storyteller.

I’ve recently enjoyed several of his films like Cries and Whispers (1972) and Winter Light (1963) and Face to Face (1976) and Fanny and Alexander (1982) and From the Life of Marionettes (1980) and The Devil’s Eye (1960) and Virgin Spring (1960) and more.

I guess you and I could get along if you weren’t a big Bergman fan but I’m not sure you’d understand me or that I could explain my world view very well. But we could try. Maybe over coffee sometime. I like talking to people over coffee. I’d talk over drinks but I’ve been off the sauce for quite awhile and the world doesn’t need me back on. I’m crazy enough.

Anyway Bergman had a way of shining a light on reality by focusing a lot on fantasy and that’s a really cool, smart thing to do though not so easy. I think it is through our dreams and our fantasies that we can really begin to see and understand our reality. If you just look at life straight on all the time and take every thing at face value, you’ll go nuts.

So that’s what I had to say today.

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