So last night I had a rare happy dream. Not that I have many nightmares, it’s just that I almost never have a perfect dream. And perfect this was: the place (bustling artist village in the Italian Riviera), the house (ocean front, fully furnished with eclectic, art deco style you only see in decorating magazines. Views from every room in the house), and family (except my husband wasn’t the Type A he is normally. He was a poet who sang phrases of his happiness). It was like I invented my own slice of heaven in the way Jodi Foster did in the movie Contact.
I found two things odd about this dream: 1. I dreamed in precise detail the location. I had never been to a place like this. I have, however, been to the Italian Riviera some twenty years ago, but this place I created wasn’t even close to what I had visited. So my question to odd thing number one is have you ever dreamed in detail a place you never visited?
Odd thing #2. There was nothing to mar my dream. Usually, even the best of dreams have a dark side. Not this one. It was all good. Ever do that?
So what I did was I awoke at 6:25 happy and in a good mood. The dream was still fresh; I went over it in my head and decided I didn’t want to wake up but go back to the happy place, and add my cats which were missing the first go-around. And I did. Only this time the writer in me took over and added conflict and antagonists and basically ruined the dream.
First off, the four cats I added turned into two bunnies. Second, we meet a group of Italian men who are very eager to be our friends (how can that be bad, you ask?). Well, our Italians turned out to be Mafia and they were the previous tenants of our perfect house. After they gained our trust, they pulled out their knives and started ripping up my perfect red, softique leather sofa. My husband returned to his Type A and didn’t even shed a tear, said it was too bright anyway. I, however, decided they needed killing and communicated my plans to them. They were polite and told me they would stitch up the sofa, which they did. It wasn’t to my liking. The stitch work left me despondent and unable to stay inside my dream, whereas I woke and was in a bad mood—a mood in which I am familiar and comfortable and felt no need to return to my happy place to fix it.
So my last question is why didn’t I leave well enough alone the first time? Is there something in all of us that just has to ruin perfect? Is it just writers who dream in literary angles?