Dream of: 11 May 1987 "Creating Characters"

I was in a large room (probably in a factory), looking over a piece of electrical machinery which stood about two meters high and was perhaps one meter wide on each side. The machinery seemed to consist mostly of wires and other electrical equipment all fused together into a whole.

Holding a three-prong electrical plug in my hand, I finally found a receptacle on the piece of equipment into which to insert the plug. Almost immediately, however, I perceived the receptacle had a problem, as if a wire on it were missing.

A woman (probably in her late 20s) walked up. I had communicated by phone with the woman in the past, although I had never met her in person. She was an inspector of this kind of equipment. When I told her the receptacle had a problem, she began looking at it. She seemed to do a thorough inspection, and finally she talked about the problem in a serious tone, as if the receptacle could have caused more serious problems. She mentioned "fire" and I had the feeling she was going to take action against the management of the establishment because the equipment wasn't in good order.

She stood up in front of me and began talking to me. Concentrating on my looks, she told me how attractive she thought I was and she commented upon how good the gray jacket I was wearing looked on me. Flattered, I needed a few moments before I realized I hadn't complemented her in any way, but I wasn't really impressed with her looks; she had long brown hair and seemed rather plain. She was wearing a light-brown wool coat which fell to her knees and was buttoned to her chin, so it was the only clothing I could see. Her worst problem was that she was very overweight. Nevertheless I felt compelled to say something and finally I muttered, "You look nice, too."

***

I was in a room where a number of people were gathered, apparently having a party. I was sitting on a couch and was turned so I could see my sister standing behind the couch talking with another woman. It sounded as if the woman might have insulted my sister in some way. To my surprise, my sister suddenly hit the woman in the face with her fist. The people standing around seemed astounded and stepped up to intervene. Concerned someone might bother my sister, I quickly went to her side, and in a protective way I led her from the room.

***

I was in a car driving down a country road. It seemed my sister was with me. I came to a crossroads and tried to decide which way to go. Finally I turned around and headed back the way we had come.

***

My sister and I were standing in front of a rather large black building which appeared to be a night club. Two lines of words were written in large white letters on the front of the building. The words in the top line seemed to have some kind of relationship with the words in the bottom line. The top line seemed decent enough, but words in the bottom line seemed mostly vulgar.

The first two words in the bottom line weren't actually words but symbols. One was a swastika. One of the last words in the bottom line was "suck."

A party was going to take place inside the building for a woman whom my sister knew. My sister wanted to go in; although I wasn't thrilled with the idea, I decided it might be good for my sister. So we entered.

The interior resembled a night club, but subdued. I wondered if I was dressed appropriately.  Most men were wearing suits and most woman seemed to have on formal dresses. I was merely wearing a black tee shirt. I didn't feel embarrassed by my attire; I simply wondered if it was appropriate. I also had stubble on my face from not having shaved in a few days. When I saw another man with stubble, I felt more at ease. I also saw a man not wearing a suit.

I looked at the faces of the many people and tried to find one I recognized, but I had no success. Finally my sister and I stopped along a railing or a bar near some other people. When a fellow standing next to me turned toward me, I immediately recognized him as Brian, an old friend from law school. I felt embarrassed, because I had been meaning to contact Brian for a long time and had failed to do so. I was uncertain how he was going to feel about me now after my long neglect.

Friendly, he seemed to want to relieve me of my embarrassment. He warmly shook my hand and introduced me to a woman with him. Brian immediately commented about how pretty my sister was and the woman with him agreed. I said, "This is my sister."

Brian said, "She's very pretty."

My sister said she was going to go somewhere else and walked away.

I hoped Brian and I could speak in German, but I hesitated to do so in front of his lady friend because I thought it would be impolite. Nevertheless, he and I began speaking in German and I felt rather comfortable with Brian.

***

I was standing in front of a large brick house where a number of college men apparently lived. It was early morning and the house had been the scene of an all-night party. Seven or eight men and women were standing or sitting on the porch. Several other young men were walking on the street toward the house and I heard one comment about the all-night party. Apparently the men who had given the party thought it was a sign of the party's success if it lasted all night.

I walked into the house and through the rooms. It resembled the night club I had been in the previous night, except now the rooms were brighter, and only a few people lingered about. I walked to the rear-most room of the house where I found my father sitting in a chair and watching television with a woman. He told me two educational shows were coming on. He invited me to stay and watch, but I declined and headed back through the house toward the front.

As I passed through the middle room I began thinking I myself had stayed up all night. It seemed as if I might as well try to stay up without any sleep at that point, although I was beginning to feel very tired.

When I reached the front room, I found Brian sitting in a chair. I sat in another chair close to him and we began talking. Both Brian and I had been involved in artistic writing. I seemed to have been working on a novel, while Brian was writing a play. I immediately began talking about the creation of characters for the writings. I somehow thought perhaps we could talk of our characters and perhaps even interrelate the characters in our discussion.

Brian told me the main character in his play was a publisher and he began talking about him. As he talked, I realized how empty my mind seemed when I tried to think of a character which could interact with Brian's character. Indeed it seemed as if I had also been trying to develop the character of a book publisher, but now that Brian was using that character, I needed to invent another one. But I couldn't seem to come up with anything. Finally I thought perhaps I could develop the character of a college student, but that seemed a bit weak.

I was also interested in discussing the way in which character development actually took place. I told Brian that once the place and the character are in mind, it is not absolutely necessary to have other characters interact. Of course if the writing were a play, interacting characters would seem to be almost necessary. I seemed to recall, however, having read a novel by Franz Kafka which contained only one character. I thought developing a character without interaction with other characters would be extremely difficult. I said to Brian, "If you've got the person, and you've got the place, the next thing I suppose you need is people to relate with."

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