Michael Chabon wrote an essay for The New York Review of Books blog called “Why I Hate Dreams.” It’s about his old arch nemesis, dreams. With everything that’s wrong with the world, it seems like a person’s energy might be better spent with a more worthy opponent, but hey, why not? Dreams suck, am I right? No?
So here he is, talking about dreams, which are also known as “sleep atrocities” to all of us dream haters out there:
Dreams are the Sea Monkeys of consciousness: in the back pages of sleep they promise us teeming submarine palaces but leave us, on waking, with a hermetic residue of freeze-dried dust. The wisdom of dreams is a fortune on paper that you can’t cash out, an oasis of shimmering water that turns, when you wake up, to a mouthful of sand. I hate them for their absurdities and deferrals, their endlessly broken promise to amount to something, by and by.
I thought Sea Monkeys were the Sea Monkeys of consciousness! But yeah…nothing ruins a good night’s sleep like some stupid dreams that don’t make any sense when you wake up the next morning. He continues with the problem of explanation:
Whatever stuff dreams are made on, it isn’t words. As soon as you begin to tell a dream, as Freud reminds us, you interpolate, falsify, distort; you lie. That roseate airplane, that wide blue arc of cold water: no, it wasn’t like that, not at all. Better just to skip it, and pass the maple syrup.
Thanks for that reminder, Freud! “I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.” Bob Dylan said that. “I won’t let you talk about your stupid dreams if you won’t let me talk about my stupid dreams.” I said that. If I ever find myself eating breakfast with you, Mr. Chabon, which will apparently consist of either pancakes or French toast, and that’s all right with me, let’s both try to keep that in mind.
And here’s Mr. Chabon connecting this crucial issue of stupid dreams and their stupidity to the larger umbrella of “art”:
If art is a mirror, dreams are the back of the head. A work of art derives its effects from light, sound, and movement, but dreams unfurl in darkness, silence, paralysis…If art were more like dreams, I might ban it from my breakfast table, too.
Yeah, if art was as stupid as your stupid dreams, we wouldn’t talk about that either. Hell yeah! What is it with stupid dreams being all stupid and stuff?
In other news, Mr. Chabon has a new novel out in September. It is called Telegraph Avenue, and it is not about dreams of any kind.