My Jacob

Borne through all my dreams last night, a date I couldn’t keep: a woman — Diane Rehm, I think — put in for me to play the part of Romeo. But Mike had asked for me to talk the morning of the show. The day arrived. I knew Diane would need to know I couldn’t act the part. Right then I woke, resolved, but never having told Diane about my resolution. I commit to much, and disappointing others makes, for me, a nightmare out of any dream.

But what of this: the dream expresses some desire for both the arts and God: a struggle in my womb that I have touched on many times. And even though it seems to friends a false dilemma now (a misconception, if you will), the day will come, I fear, when I must choose between the two. But then I also hear the smallest voice suggesting that the fight itself will be enough to bond my Jacob and his nightly angel.


  1. Haunting last line. I like this; it’s funny how you just know that dreams which, when told to others, simply sound bizarre or funny or silly have a real and clear meaning for oneself, even though that can rapidly begin to elude you as you wake.

  2. Oh I didn’t mean it like that! I often enjoy hearing about other people’s dreams, especially those who I envy for having much clearer, more interesting ones with more and better narrative than mine! I simply meant that the events of the dream are only a part of it, that there is often a feeling and an atmosphere within it which carry a clearer and more important meaning than it is possible to quite convey. As I say, these often disappear to oneself as well, as daylight logic and order take possession again, and you have to make an effort to keep hold of it.

  3. Lucy, you’re right! It’s the strong mood or tone the dream leaves me with that matters more than the dream’s events (or even the dream’s “meaning”). To relate that strong emotion, I often write the dream’s events in my journal. Months later I might reread an account. The rare successful one will conjure up the mood or tone that motivated me to write it in the first place.

    I guess I write the narrative down in the belief that the narrative causes the tone and could also recreate it. Writing now, I’m not so sure. Good writers turn narrative to tone, but I’m not sure dreams do. Maybe the narrative and the feeling have an uneasy relationship in dreams.

    I think my journal entries are my efforts to keep hold of it, as you put it, before I rise to the waking world.

    I wasn’t being fair to you in my earlier comment. You expressed yourself well, and I thought I might be coming across as petulant. Forgive me! I do find it hard to listen to others’ dreams, though, perhaps because most accounts focus exclusively on the dream’s narrative.

    I am jealous of other people’s dreams, too. Victoria wakes up with such vivid ones! She’ll talk of them as if she were returning from the cinema. Mine usually expose — the best ones even clarify — some real-life struggle. I also don’t remember all the detail others seem to. Every now and then, quite rarely, I get one I think is creative — a hint of something unclear that I need to pay attention to. The creativity isn’t usually just in the dream’s narrative but also in the tone. Those dreams I write down, too, more out of wonder than to practice getting across mood in narrative.

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