The Writing Dream

Man, it was something else. I dreamed that streams of words were flowing through the air around me. They flowed too fast for me to see and read them, except, weirdly, sometimes I could see mathematical formulas in them.

The streams came together and split apart in a random, haphazard manner. Sometimes they flowed on walls, but other times I saw them flowing across sidewalks, trees, parking lots, and the sky. At one point, I saw two streams running in parallel on a wall, and thought, they need to be brought together. Not knowing how to do that at the moment, I turned away.

Oblivious of the word streams, people walked among them. I was flabbergasted that they didn’t see them. Their behavior ended up exasperating me.

Aware of me, though, people would watch and talk about me to each other as they attempted to puzzle out what was wrong with me or what I was doing. Sometimes I tried telling people, “There are words streaming around you. I think they’re sentences and paragraphs. Can’t you see them?” Hearing that, many people said, “I think he’s on drugs,” or, “He’s crazy.”

My interactions with people were few and short, becoming less as I attempted to follow the streams of words. Then, instead of trying to follow them, I thought I’d go upstream to see where they came from. Selecting one stream, I traced it back along a street between two red brick buildings.

Paved with asphalt webbed with cracks, the street had cement sidewalks, curbs, storm drains, and doorways, but no signs. Although the street seemed old and unused, it was ordinary in every respect. The word stream rushed along the gutter, crossing from one side of the street to the other other.

I followed the stream up the street. Narrowing, the stream of words flowed faster, resembling black ink. The day grew darker. I wasn’t sure what caused that. Noting the increasing darkness, I tried to understand whether night was coming or a storm was imminent — or both. At that time, I realized the streaming words made sounds. At first I thought they rustled like leaves. Then, they seemed to burble like rushing water. Getting closer to the stream and straining to hear the sounds, they sounded like a crowd of talking people, but also typewriters.

Although nothing changed, the going became more difficult, like gravity fought to keep me back. I kept going. Exiting the space between the red-brick buildings, I saw that the stream came from a long, grassy hill. All the streams came from different directions, but they all came from that one stream of words rushing down the hill. separating into different streams at the bottom. Hidden by clouds colored like used charcoal, the hilltop couldn’t be seen.

I have to climb that hill, I told myself. It looked quite possible, steep and tall, but not impassible. That’s where the dream ended.

Despite all the details, the dream seemed short, but vivid and intense.  Even as I was in bed, awakening from the dream, I thought I saw streams of words on the bedroom walls.

Then they were gone, swallowed by morning sunshine.


I thought about the dream off and on all morning, and then typed this up. I thought about how I felt during and after the dream. After a long while, I realized that I’d felt intense, but otherwise emotionally neutral, as I feel when I’m in the middle of a project. There’s no hope or despair, bitterness or jubilation.

It’s just is.



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