# of pages revised: 14
# of literary mags submitted to: 2
# of days left to complete 2nd draft: 72
I have been having some crazy dreams lately. I briefly mentioned my goat dream on this blog the other day. In all honesty, it was a goat and lamb dream, and they were everywhere. When I told Nikki about it that morning, all I could say as I poured my cereal was, “there were goats and lambs everywhere. Goats and lambs galore.”
Then, a few nights ago, I dreamed that I went to a party, and at the party was one of my socially awkward high school students from last year, as well as Cameron Diaz. I dreamed I went to sleep early, and in the night Cameron Diaz got in bed with me because she was cold. Don’t get too excited, pervs. Nothing kinky happened. We just snuggled.
On Nikki’s suggestion, I typed “goat” and then “lamb” into an online dream interpreter. As you might suspect (if you’re familiar with mythology and/or the Bible), goats represent sexuality and sexual desire, whereas lambs represent purity and innocence. So a dream about goats and lambs together could certainly have interesting interpretations about my dualistic nature, or the fact that I’m the perfect combination of sexy and cute.
That last thing I said, about the perfect combination of sexy and cute, that’s actually a line from Crazy Stupid Love, which Nikki and I watched the other night.
Have you seen this movie? It’s got Ryan Gosling (looking super hot) and Steve Carrell and Emma Stone and Julianne Moore. Overall, I think it’s a very fun movie. I originally saw it in the theater with my old roommate Kristin, and we laughed and laughed (and Kristin said, “damn” every time Ryan Gosling came on the screen.) When I watched it with Nikki, I saw it through her eyes, and I didn’t laugh.
That’s because I could tell she was over-thinking everything.
When we were finished watching, she draped herself over her exercise ball and said, “so, what do you think the message of that movie was? That there’s one true love for everyone?”
“Well… I don’t know,” I said. “I guess. I mean, it does have that cheesy Hollywood ending.”
“So, is that what it was trying to tell us?”
“I don’t know if we’re really supposed to take that much away from this movie,” I said. “I think it was just trying to entertain us.”
Nikki started doing sit-ups on her ball. “I think everything has a message. Modern media gives us messages about our own society.”
“OK,” I said. “Well, then, yeah. I think it’s telling us that our society wants to believe in a one true love for everyone.”
Then I started babbling about how it makes us feel good to believe in a one-true-love because it makes us feel like we’re special. There’s one person out there for me and me alone. We’re always looking for proof that we’re special and not just biological water sacks whose lives have no meaning. I mean heck, I want to believe in a one-true-love. It’s one of those heads-up penny things, I said. Logically, I don’t believe in it. But there’s a part of me that just can’t give up the notion.
After all that, I was exhausted and had to go to bed.
* * *
Here’s what happens when you dream, at least the way I understand it. (And please note that I am not a neuroscientist or dream specialist of any kind.) When you dream, your brain sorts through information. Many scientists believe dreaming is a necessary part of storing and cataloging new memories. It seems that when we dream, our brain sorts through both short and long-term memories by randomly matching up bits of information.
Because it is sorting through new memories, you can often understand where some parts of your dream came from. That socially-awkward student in my dream? I had just written her a college recommendation the day before. But because your brain is also sorting through the old files, things show up that seem to have come out of nowhere. (Like Cameron Diaz, or lots of lambs.)
The other day, when Nikki asked me what my goat and lamb dream meant, I said, “you know, I think it was just random images my brain picked out of a hat. I don’t think I should think too hard about it.”
“I don’t know,” Nikki said. “You should pay attention to your dreams. They might be trying to tell you something.”
“Maybe,” I said. “If something keeps showing up over and over, you should pay attention. Or maybe the way you interpret your own dreams can help you understand your feelings about something. But sometimes dreams are just random, and you can’t over-think them.”
Nikki wasn’t convinced. She likes to think deeply about everything.
So the question is: does everything have meaning, or are some things just not worth interpreting?
* * *
I could make myself crazy if I tried to find the meaning in everything. Believe me, I spent a lot of time in my mid-twenties trying to interpret guys’ text messages, and I don’t think it was worth my time or energy. On the other hand, maybe you can always find meaning of one kind or another, although it may not be the type of meaning you were originally looking for.
I know I’m always ending this blog with, “and that’s the awesome thing about writing….” and I’m going to do it again right now.
That’s the awesome thing about writing. When you’re writing, you can be random and creative and pick some images out of your brain- hat and smush them together into a story. And then you can make them have meaning in any way that you want. You can choose which images you want to be significant and leave out those you don’t. It’s awesome!
And even more awesome, someone reading your story might interpret things in a whole new way you never even thought of and find a different meaning in the same words.
Even things that are written as pure entertainment can be fun to interpret. We can ask ourselves, why do we think Crazy Stupid Love is entertaining? What does it say about us and our society?
So I guess anything can be interpreted, but we can’t really think about everything too deeply because we don’t have enough time or brainpower for that. We have to pick and choose what we think is important to analyze.
And then, when we get tired of thinking, we can just go to sleep, and let our dreams sort it all out for us.