What is the Shape of the Dream?

First, a warning: If you’re the kind of reader who finds no enjoyment in reading other people’s account of their dreams, then this isn’t for you. Move on. I get it, certainly – I usually skip those as well – but this was a dream that pretty much demanded to be written down. So, if you’re still with me, let’s go.

It started off in what was obviously a hospital. It felt like a Kubrick movie, and even had a soundtrack behind it – a repeating eight-bar motif on strings that was sort of a high-tension underscore piece. I honestly felt like I was watching a movie, and expected it to tie into that freaky last part of 2001 at any moment.

I started going through double doors in search of something, but not sure what – pretty normal dream stuff. Over this, I could hear a pair of voices, male and female, talking like movie reviewers doing a running commentary. One standout line from the female “reviewer”: “Is this the Word of God, or is He just repeating what He heard coming from the outer darkness?” Blasphemous, creepy, weird – Awesome.

The sequence of double doors ended and I started searching through rooms, some of which had hospital equipment or personnel, but none of which were properly square. Kind of disorderly in general. People would go into a door in one room, come out of a door in another room, that sort of thing. At around this point, I became aware that there were people looking for me.

One “character” stood out – a boy, eleven or so, shirtless. He was a patient at the hospital, although he didn’t look sick to me. I saw him a few times in different contexts, and he was either covered in a white paint and / or a few white pieces of paper, like Post-Its – targets for radiation therapy, I thought. At one point, the boy opened a closet, which had the same white papers pasted to the wall, and seemed surprised and angry that they were there. He didn’t know how it happened, and yelled as much to an unseen person out of sight.

I made eye contact with him as he was sitting on an examining table. This boy was my enemy, or would be when he grew up. I said, “I’m watching you.” He seemed to know who I was and just locked eyes with me as I went by. He’d be watching me too, it seemed.

At this point, the dream became somewhat self-referential. It’s not often that I know I’m dreaming, but this was becoming more and more the case. However, as soon as I tried to figure out how to get out of the dream, the forces following me became somewhat more aware of me, and I of them. In the way of dreams, they seemed familiar, but I couldn’t say who they were.

They tried to catch/trap/stop me, in a haphazard fashion. They knew I was there, but not exactly where yet – like I was invisible to them, but present. As soon as I began to inquire about the nature of the dream itself, however, they could no longer see me or know I was there. My mantra was “What is the shape of the dream?” Repeating this phrase gave me passage through the dream itself and made me imperceptible to the people trying to find me.

Something wanted me to know more about the dream itself, and I would be punished if I tried to leave. I didn’t get the feeling that the sort-of-unseen followers were on the same side as that Something, though.

I started to look for those double doors again, because they were the way in. I passed Michele Obama, riding a bicycle, and a man hired to be a stand-in for her husband. He was too busy to appear, it seems. Damned if I know what that was about…

Then I woke up.

I don’t want to try and interpret this dream at the moment, because it seems like it’s begging to be interpreted. Jumping up and down in my head, yelling “Look at me! Look at me!” Sometimes I have dreams that tell me things I need to know, sometimes I have dreams that are just weirdly entertaining. I have to figure out which kind this is before I decide whether to think about what it means…