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KJ Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 01:03 pm:   

Does anyone here dream about books?

Recently I've had a couple of book dreams.
In one, I was trapped with a lot of other people in a room. We were there willingly - we were doing it as a sort of art installation. But we didn't like it, and were sure there was a way we could escape. Anyway, inside the room were shelves full of fantastic books. They had beautiful covers - some appeared to be fairy stories and tales of magical beasts, and others had titles suggesting Borgesian mystery and paradox - though I can't remember any of them, dammit. And I didn't open any of them! I crawled around looking in cupboards and up into a ventilation shaft instead. On waking, I could have kicked myself for not opening the books.

Once or twice in my life, I've dreamed about reading a book, and I think I did use what I read in one of my own bits of writing - at least a line or two that I remembered when I woke.
I'm curious to know what part books have played in other writers' dreams. I'd love to know if anyone here dreams about them frequently, or has read something really great in a dream and then been able to remember and use it.
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Cheryl
Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 02:17 pm:   

In the Booker Prize program last night the chairman of the judges said he was dreaming about books all the time when he was having to read one novel a day to get through them all.
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Richard Parks
Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 02:42 pm:   

I recently dreamed I'd discovered a beautiful first edition fairytale collection with tipped in color plates by Arthur Rackham in a moving sale (the sale was in the modern castle on top of a mountain that didn't exist, but never mind). I latched onto it, but the dream ended before I could pay for it. I still have this irrational feeling that, if only I could have paid for it in time, I could have brought it back with me.
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ben peek
Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 06:15 pm:   

i dream about books. i never remember what they say, really, but occasionally when i'm writing i have that whole deja vu thing.

(which, if you believe the scientific explanation, is only because one eye registered the word before another. but i don't believe that sorta scientific mumbo jumbo :-)
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 09:53 pm:   

Have you seen Michael Swanwick's new book CIGAR-BOX FAUST? Swanwick claims he used to dream about writing stories but would never remember them when he woke up. So he slowly trained himself to do so, writing down whatever he could remember immediately upon waking, until he could remember the whole thing (they were never very long). And then he collected them in this book, together with some other miniatures.
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des
Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 10:01 am:   

I never dream about books - which I find strange as I am a bookish person. I did dream the other day about doing my own car maintenance - and although I drive a car - I know nothing at all about its insides. Des
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 10:35 am:   

I had one dream several years ago which still vividly recall. I was down in this dungeon-like room made of stone to rescue a girl, where water seeped through and made it look like the walls were crying. Filling this room were case upon case of books, and lots of people wandering around aimlessly. There was something about the books that, if touched, would sap your life, pretty much turning you into a zombie. This would happen if one of the infected people touched you as well. I had to try to rescue this girl without touching the books or the people, which was extremely difficult. The book zombies soon caught on and came after me in a horde. I woke up right as they had surrounded me and touched my face.

I've tried to translate that into fiction, but it comes out sounding like I'm against books or against libraries, or something. It was pretty powerful, so I suppose I'll still keep trying to translate it into words.
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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 12:57 pm:   

Supposedly dreaming of books is a very good sign. Unless they are works in progress. Then you are in trouble.
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KJ
Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 02:28 pm:   

Cheryl - I wonder how many people, having judged a literary prize once, ever want to do it again?

Richard - in my dream about the room, there were some Rackham covers. Sigh. The idea of fetching things out of dreams is a very attractive one. My mother recently told me about a dream she had, in which she saw flowers that were more beautiful than any flowers she'd seen in real life. And on a note of lower tone, the other night I dreamed about some liquor, a sort of alcoholic tabasco sauce, that (believe me) tasted marvellous. I'd have loved to bring the bottle back into the real world.

Ben - I don't believe that sort of scientific mumbo-jumbo either. Give me primitive hocus-pocus and New Age flim-flam any day :-)

Gabriel - I hadn't heard of CIGAR-BOX FAUST. It sounds like something I'd be interested in. I'd love to know how Swanwick trained himself to do that. Last night I had a dream in which a map featured. The map was very detailed, and looked like a map in a proper atlas, with the names of towns all over it. But I don't know whether, if I'd looked at it closely, the names would have been readable. For me, writing in dreams is often like that. It *looks* like writing, but I rarely look at it closely enough to tell if it's real or just an approximation.

Des - I've been reading about autistic savants, and how some researchers think we all have the same extraordinary abilities for art, music, mathematics and memory recall, but that in most of us they are latent and inaccessible. Maybe there's also a latent ability for automobile maintenance!

Jason - well, they say that television saps your life and turns you into a zombie; why not books, too? :-)
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KJ
Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 02:37 pm:   

Brendan - I've always wanted to dream about the things I'm writing, and have been disappointed that I never do. I've only dreamed about a character of mine once, and he was in such a hurry to get somewhere that he barely had time to stop and say hello.
So it makes me feel better to know that dreaming of works in progress isn't something to desire after all.
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Cheryl
Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 01:49 am:   

Well, some people have been judges more than once, so I guess there must be something good about it. Certainly the idea of free books is attractive. Having to read 117 books in 3 months, which is what was asked of the Booker judges, is another matter. But then surely they must have been getting paid for that. Getting paid to do nothing but read has its attractions.
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Luis
Posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 01:15 pm:   

A couple of weeks ago I dreamed I was a proofreader of cursed books. Odd, odd dream, can't remember much about it now.

And a few days ago I dreamed I was at a local bookshop and that the latest rage in space opera had just come out. Why space opera? I don't know. All I know is that I *had* to have it. Gorgeous blood red covers, but the novel was so huge it came in two volumes, nearly A3 size and over a 1,000 pages each. You could break your back just by reading them.

I have a feeling that's the way things are headed in the real world too.

Cheers,
Luís
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John Klima
Posted on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 07:11 am:   

Maybe it's all your fault, but I dreamt about books last night. I was in this amazing new used bookstore with my wife and parents. I had all these great books picked out ('course I can't remember what they were) and was waiting to check out. It took me more than an hour to check out, and the guy in line in front of me kept giving me an elbow to the ribs and then started writing on me with his pen. And the clerk kept laughing about everything and talking with everyone instead of ringing up my books.

Sigh.

I woke up feeling very frustrated.

JK
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 12:31 pm:   

I don't know what a psychoanalyst would say about all this, but so far we have cursed books, life-sapping books, gorgeous but unwieldily immense books, and two instances of wonderful books that we can find but cannot pay for. We think that books bring us plenty of happiness, but maybe our subconscious minds think they're nothing but trouble!
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Anne S
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 07:55 pm:   

I occasionally dream of this library where they have a marvellous series of novels which I love.

As soon as I am in the dream I remember what they are but can't for the life of me recall their titles or even what they are about when I wake up.

Leaves me with a vague yearning feeling.
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Michael Bishop
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2003 - 06:03 am:   

I once dreamt that I had written an immense lovely novel called Everglades and awoke to discover that this was not the case. I can still see the rivers of grass gracing the jacket illustration. Unfortunately, I know almost nothing about the Everglades and have no idea what the contents of my novel disclosed or failed to disclose about the place. (The dream seems to fall into the gorgeous-but-unwieldily-immense-books category, I guess.)

Not the most engaging story about dreaming about books, I know, but I thought that maybe one Bishop should drop in on the messageboard of another. Hello, KJ.
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KJ
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2003 - 02:30 pm:   

Hmm, more axiety, thwarted desire, and general torment.

Hello, Michael! I think your book dream is the saddest so far. It's bad enough to be denied other people's books, quite a calamity to be denied your own.
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todo
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 01:08 pm:   

anyone interested in a drawing of the great arthur Rackham see ebay item 6919467154

thanks
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 11:15 am:   

It happened again. This last week I've been going down to the library to write. I've gone back to writing with pen on paper. And I've had two book dreams. A few nights ago I dreamed of an entire novel - hardback, bound in red cloth - of which someone had underlined and highlighted parts. I had written this book, apparently, and I swear it was quite readable in the dream, though when I woke up I couldn't even recall what the story had been about.
Last night I dreamt that while staying in an unfamiliar city, near an airport that was experiencing some kind of emergency, I was reading a new book by Rikki Ducornet. I can't remember the main story, but there was a story within a story about a medieval sort of world, and a queen marrying a king to unify their countries. Giants or genies may have been involved, but my memory is hazy. Anyway, the story about the book jumped forward in time within the timeline of the dream, and I was suddenly aware that Ms Ducornet thought this rather simple story-within-a-story was a bit unworthy of her, or at least that it didn't really sit well with the tone of the rest of the book, and it was extracted and bound in a little square blue book, a limited edition of 50, with a silver motif on the cover.
But still no memory of the words in these books, dammit.

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