Of the almost six thousand dreams which I have written, Fyodor Dostoievsky has been mentioned in nine. I admire him for his courage to pursue writing.

Dream of: 11 September 1986 "Dreamwork"

While at the home of Roger Anderson (a friend from my high school years) in Portsmouth, Ohio, I began helping Anderson carry out some garbage-bags full of trash. After we had thrown the garbage over a small embankment, I asked Anderson how the garbage men were going to get it. He told me they had a device which would suck it up.

In the garbage lay a large thick book which looked as if it might be a catalog. I picked it up, thinking I might be able to find some pictures for collages. The book was indeed a catalog of some sort which contained a number of fashion photographs of women, some of which were erotic. However I saw nothing of real interest and I threw the book back down.

As Anderson and I were working on the garbage, Austin (another former high school classmate who later became a lawyer) walked up. He seemed to be reading something and talking to himself as if lost in reverie. I thought I would like to talk with Austin. I had recently had a dream in which Austin had appeared and I hadn't completely understood why he had been in my dream. It would be interesting to talk with Austin to find out what he was doing these days. Maybe then I would be better able to understand why he had been in my dream.

I approached him and engaged him in conversation, but he seemed so abstracted, my talking with him was difficult. He had long black hair which hung down in front to his chin. I also noticed quite a bit of dandruff in his hair. Some of the dandruff was quite thick and almost looked like snow. I was surprised to see his hair so long because I knew he was a lawyer. My hair being so long was understandable because I hadn't been practicing law. However I thought it was good that his hair was long. It made him look rather radical. It must have made quite an impression having long hair like that and being a lawyer also.

As I talked with Austin, his mind seemed elsewhere. When he started to walk away, I decided to go with him and I told Anderson I would be back later. Actually I thought I might not be back because I might end up talking with Austin. I wanted to discuss some matters with him.

Austin and I began walking along and I asked him about his law practice, "Do you work with somebody?"

He replied, "No."

I asked, "Well do you work in a suite with other lawyers?"

He said, "No."

I asked, "Do you have a secretary?"

He replied, "No."

Since I knew he had been practicing law for a long time, I was surprised his practice wasn't more developed. I asked him what kind of law he practiced and he replied something about governmental policies. I asked, "Well do you do other work that comes in the office?"

He answered, "Yea."

He indicated he did some kind of marital work. But he was involved with work when marriages were beginning rather than when they were ending.

When I asked him where he practiced, he named a town in West Virginia which I had never heard of. I said, "It sounds small."

He replied, "Well its about fifteen times bigger than this place."

I smiled and said, "That's what I mean – small."

I was quite surprised he was working in West Virginia. I had heard he was working around Ironton, Ohio. I thought he must have taken the bar exam in West Virginia, too. That must have required some study.

We continued walking, finally reached the building where Austin worked and walked in. He didn't seem to mind my staying with him and we boarded the elevator together. The elevator was very large and about 15 other people were on board. As we started up I said, "An interesting person – an intelligent person is always interesting to talk to. "

A couple people in the elevator looked at me and a tall slender woman (about 30 years old) standing next to me looked at me and said, "Karmazov."

She was referring to the fact that the statement I had just made was a quote from the book The Brothers Karmazov by Dostoievsky. I thought of telling her the character in the book who had made the statement was Smerdiakov, but she didn't ask.

When the elevator stopped on Austin's floor, we got off and walked toward his office. I said, "Yea, I'm a lawyer too."

He hadn't realized I was a lawyer and he seemed quite surprised. I explained that I wasn't practicing law right now. I then began explaining where I had practiced law. I told him that I had lived five years in Texas – three years in Waco and two years in Dallas – and that I had started practicing law in Waco by working for another lawyer. I told him that I had worked in banking and large commercial transactions – mostly real estate loans—and that I had read a lot of mortgage agreements.

I was going to continue telling him that although the work had been interesting, I had done as much of it as I wanted to. The work hadn't been drudgery. Austin made a statement about the legal work being "dreamwork." I was unsure whether he was referring to legal work in general or just to the kind of work I had been doing, but I looked at him and replied, "Yea, that's what I do now – dreamwork."

I wanted to talk to him about the dreamwork I had been doing and I especially wanted to get to the dream I had written in which he had appeared. I wanted to find out what he would think about the dream and why he thought he had been in my dream.

I had an idea why he had been in my dream since he, like I, had grown up in Portsmouth and had become a lawyer.

Austin picked up some literature, glanced at it and said, "I read gop."

I was about to say, "I don't read gop."

The ability to create characters eludes me. While my imagination is generally confined to my family and friends, Dostoievsky was somehow able to create new life from his imagination.

Dream of: 17 January 1987 "Aliosha Karamazov"

While standing at the counter of what appeared to be a store, I looked down and was surprised to see a newspaper lying on the counter with an ad containing my father's name in bold letters. Seeing my father's name was all the more surprising since I was presently living and working in another state, perhaps Florida.

I looked closer at the ad, which also contained a picture of my father and Kay (my father's second ex-wife). My father looked as if he were about 40 years old and Kay looked as if she were in her late 20s. Both were only pictured from the waist up and my father looked overweight. Kay was holding something like a newspaper in front of her breasts; her picture reminded me of a pinup.

The ad was an announcement of the recent marriage of the two, and the public was invited to visit my father and Kay on a certain day at a new-cars sales room located cady-cornered to the Gay Street House (the huge Victorian house in which my father lived in Portsmouth). The ad mentioned that my father had received an expensive watch from Kay as a wedding present, and that my father had also managed to persuade the watch-company (the manufacturer of the watch) to pay for part of the cost of the ad (as an advertising expense).

I wondered if anyone would go to their reception. I thought perhaps I should write my father a letter congratulating him – but there was nothing really to congratulate. He was obviously making a terrible mistake in marrying Kay; he seemed to have chosen a path in life which would lead to certain destruction. I still cared about him and I felt sorry for him, but there didn't seem to be anything I could do.

I recalled having read three different novels where the same type of problem between fathers and sons had been explored. Dostoievsky's The Brothers Karamazov especially came to mind. I thought about Aliosha Karamazov, a character in the book, and I recalled how Aliosha's father, Fydor Karamazov had been a completely debauched man and how Aliosha, a rather saintly figure, had continued to love his father in spite of all his father's faults. Yet Aliosha, like I, had found the experience painful.

Why could my father not see that he was living like a fool? Marrying a young blonde like that (mostly for sex), placing ads about his new watch in the paper, having an ostentatious reception in a new-car sales room – all of that was certainly the road to self-destruction. However, I felt impotent in dealing with the situation.

I noticed a group of women standing not far from me, one of whom looked like Debi (my first steady girlfriend, when I was in the ninth grade). I thought about being back in high school and I wondered what had happened to all my old schoolmates. Where was Shaw (the high school classmate whom Debi married)? I hadn't seen him since high school. I thought that he had probably moved away and that I would never see him, but then I remembered I had heard he was working at a bank in Portsmouth. Perhaps someday we would meet again. Never again seeing people I had once known seemed a little sad.

Dostoievsky's power of imagination is inspiring. I also have a craving for this delicate power.

Dream of: 17 March 1987 "A Space Odyssey"

While my ex-wife Louise and I were sitting in the House in Patriot (the house in the tiny village of Patriot, Ohio where my maternal grandparents lived when I was a child), I was thinking about space travel and wondering when man planned to make the first space trip to Venus. I had some reading material on the subject and saw that a trip was planned, but that the trip was still several years away. Apparently about 20 astronauts were in training for the mission; but if an astronaut married, he or she would no longer be considered eligible.

When I talked to Louise about the subject, she seemed friendly and almost child-like. I asked her if she would go to Venus if she had a chance; she replied that she would, but that she would only go for the "party" aspect of the trip and not for all the scientific knowledge.

What interested me most was the possibility of encountering intelligent beings living on another planet. I imagined humanoid beings living in a primitive state. I thought it possible that even though alien beings might not be as scientifically advanced as we, they still might be more mentally advanced. I asked, "What if they are more advanced than us?"

I began to imagine what encountering such aliens for the first time would be like. The languages would be different; sign language would have to be used at first. How would one tell the aliens about having come from a planet which the aliens couldn't even see? Perhaps one could point to the moon of the other planet and (with sign motions) indicate the moon had been the place of origin. One could then gradually show that the moon wasn't actually one's place of origin, but someplace similar to the moon.

Language could also gradually be utilized. For instance one could point to the ground and say "this world." Then one could point to the moon and say "that world." Gradually the aliens, if they were intelligent beings, would begin to understand.

While I was thinking, I realized the day had already arrived when man was ready to travel to Venus; I was able to observe some of the preparations. A group of the people involved in the space program met in a house in the country to discuss what they were doing; one of the main men began talking about the reason for going. One question they hoped to answer was whether the area around the equator of Venus rotated at the same rate of speed as the other areas on the surface of Venus. Evidence existed that the surface area around the equator wasn't firmly attached and so tended to float, as a body of water. Therefore that area didn't travel as fast. But the evidence was unclear and someone needed to be on Venus to confirm it.

The man talked of the broader reasons for going to Venus. He said the real reason was to learn more about man's internal nature and origins. He added that those reasons weren't talked about because they weren't the reasons espoused by the government personnel who funded the space program; but the actual people involved in the program knew what the real reasons for space travel were.

The space ship had already been launched and was on its way. It was a small craft which carried two men and one woman. After the space ship had been on its way for several days, a radio transmission was received. The woman on the space ship talked about how they were able to receive radio broadcasts from earth. At the present, every night they were listening to a serial reading of Dostoievsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov, an event which they highly looked forward to.

I wondered how much room was available in which to move about on the space ship. I imagined it as being rather small. I recalled the large space ship on the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and how there had been a circular area in which the astronauts could run. It seemed particularly important that the astronauts have an area large enough in which to exercise. Otherwise they would suffer adversely from lack of movement.

A few days later another message came from the space ship. The woman seemed very tense and nervous. Indeed it appeared that just the type of problem I had envisioned was actually occurring: she felt hemmed in having to sit in the same seat all the time. One of the other astronauts on the space ship began reading something to her to try to calm her. He read about some people who had thought it was possible to develop their mental capacities to the point where they could mentally raise mountains.

Dostoievsky comforts the loneliness I have so often undergone as a writer.

Dream of: 21 November 1987 "Coyote"

I was in a building into which I had moved in New York City. I felt good there, as if New York was where I belonged. I felt as if I fit into New York and as if New York made me feel strong.

My old friend from Portsmouth, Steve Weinstein, lived in New York. I thought perhaps I would visit him, even though he clearly had little to do with my being in New York.

***

On the floor of the building where I was, stretched a fairly large rectangular hallway which I decided to run around. I began moving along the wooden floor of the hallway, but I was able to do so without actually moving my feet. I had developed the ability to simply slide along on the floor, even at a fairly fast pace. It felt exhilarating. Finally I did begin moving my legs and I ran as fast as I could around the hallway. I had to be careful not to run into the walls when I reached the ends. As I ran, I began making some noise with my mouth – something like panting but more with a pronounced hard sound such as "bu, bu, bu."

As I turned one corner, I saw a thin brown-haired woman (probably in her late 20s), wearing blue jeans and a blue shirt, standing nearby and I figured she could probably hear the sound I was making. I hoped she wasn't disturbed by the sound. It seemed that several people were living there on the floor with me and that she was one of them. I didn't know her well, but I thought I probably would get to know her.

***

I was in a room on the floor of the building where I had been sleeping and I had just awakened. I was quite disoriented as I stood from the bed and began pulling on some pants. I was wearing a pair of under-shorts. The door to my room was open and I saw a woman (perhaps the same one I had seen earlier) standing outside in the hall. I quickly shut the door, but I heard the woman say it wasn't necessary for me to be concerned about her seeing me.

Finally dressed, I walked out to where she was and I spoke with her. She mentioned she was going to a meeting where the topic was coyotes and she asked me if I would like to go with her. I wasn't very interested. Surely there was something better to do in New York than listen to someone talk about coyotes.

It seemed as if the woman was attracted to me, and I rather liked that, although I didn't feel all that attracted to her. Actually I felt slightly uncomfortable talking with her. Suddenly it occurred to me that while I had been sleeping I had had a dream and that I now needed to write the dream. I mumbled something to the woman about writing my dream and it made me feel slightly self-important that I wrote my dreams, as if that somehow made me special.

I walked over to my computer, which was sitting on a table and I flipped two switches to turn both it and the printer on. When I sat down and began typing, words began appearing on the screen. At one point I wanted to erase something and I held my finger on the erase button. The words moved quickly across the screen as they were being erased. When there were just blank spaces, the screen moved extremely quickly. Some dots also finally began moving across the screen.

Finally, to my chagrin, part of a previous dream which I had written flashed across the screen and part of the first line was erased. I quickly looked over what was left of the dream. It had something to do with Dostoievsky. It seemed to me that the part which had been erased had said something about some doctors wanting to see Dostoievsky for something. I thought about canceling everything I had just written and returning to a backup file in the computer so I could retrieve what I had accidentally erased of the previous dream.

***

It occurred to me I might start giving my dreams names. If I began with this dream, I thought I was going to name it "Coyote."

I wonder if Dostoievsky saw, as I now see, that depression is the great enemy of the power of imagination.

Dream of: 16 March 1994 "Prison Books"

I found myself again in prison in Iran (where I spent eight months for the crime of smuggling a car in 1978-1979). It was the same prison in which I had been before, although it seemed different. I had a bed in a long room with about 20 other beds in it. I discovered that Pat Tiahrt (with whom I had originally been in prison) was still there and that he had been there all this time. I also found a small book shelf with two shelves of books. Probably about 20 books were on each shelf. I looked over the books, thinking I would be there a long time and that I would probably be reading all of them. Tiahrt said he had already read them all.

I saw a thick paperback by Alexander Solzhenitshyn and I thought it probably dealt with the time he had been in prison. I asked Tiahrt if there were any books by Dostoievsky. He pointed out one thin hardback by Dostoievsky. He said that he had read it, but that he hadn't liked it. Apparently he hadn't thought it made much sense. I picked up the book and looked at it. I had never heard of that particular book and I thought it must be one of his less important ones, but I was sure I would be reading it.

I picked up another book written by a German philosopher which I thought would be interesting and would take quite a while to read. Another book was about the life of Goethe. I thought I would enjoy it. Still another book dealt with Canadian history. I thought I would have time to learn as much as I could.

I also saw a few comic books, a Superman among them. I figured I would quickly read all of those. Then I would be interested in the character and want more, but wouldn't be able to have any more.

I was surprised to see four or five young fellows (probably in their late teens) sitting on the floor. I quickly realized they spoke English and I asked them what they were doing there. Apparently they weren't prisoners, but were just visiting. I wasn't sure why.

I was feeling rather depressed since I didn't know how long I would be there. I wasn't even sure how I got there again.

When I lay down on my bed, I looked at the neighboring bed and was surprised to see Tiahrt lying there with several attractive women standing around him. The women were probably in their late teens and had long black hair. What really surprised me was that a couple of them weren't wearing any pants and I could see their black pubic hairs. It appeared the women had been brought in just for the purpose of having sex with the prisoners. I was aroused, but I was unsure I would have sex with any of them. I was afraid I might contract a disease. Still, they were very attractive.

Dostoievsky had become a character in my imagination. His presence helped sustain me in my battle against depression.

Dream of: 26 September 1994 "Books By Dostoievsky"

My second wife Carolina and I were in a book store where I was looking for some books written by Dostoievsky. Although I found a German copy of Homer's Odyssey, I couldn't locate the books by Dostoievsky. After I found a man in the store to help me, he pulled out an index and showed it to me, but I had trouble understanding it. It looked as if the index was actually two or three indexes combined, but the man gruffly told me it was just one index. In the index I had been looking for the name "Conner", which had something to do with the books by Dostoievsky. Finally I figured out where the books were: right in front of where I was standing. I picked up one of the small books.

I opened up the inside cover of the book to look for the price. It looked as if the original price had been $1, but as if the price had been changed to $1.99. I asked the man how much the books cost and he told me they cost $1, unless they were in bad condition, in which case they would only cost 74 cents. They were all written in German. I thought I might buy several.

Yet I was not Dostoievsky. I was not great. I was hardly anything, and I despaired that I ever would be.

Dream of: 11 April 1995 "The Great Dostoievsky"

I was thinking of moving back to Gallia County, Ohio (the hilly Appalachian county where I was born in the small town of Gallipolis), and perhaps practicing a little law there. However I didn't want to practice much law, and would only practice on a part-time basis, perhaps only part of the year; the rest of the year I would travel.

I would need to have an office, but I didn't want to be right inside Gallipolis. Even though Gallipolis was small, I wanted to be out in the country where no one else was around. It was my experience that people would come to their lawyer even if he were out in the middle of nowhere; so why stay in town while so much forest beautified Gallia County?

Since I wasn't admitted to the bar in Ohio, I would have to take care of that, which would take some time. I would also probably have to buy a place for an office. I would like a large, old, two-story frame house which I could convert into an office. I could check with a local Realtor and see what was available out in the country.

Then I had another idea: I thought about Nebo Church, the pretty, one-room, white, frame church which sat alone in Gallia County's forested countryside. The church was still maintained in good condition, even though no services were held there any longer. Perhaps I could buy the church.

The idea intrigued me, even though I almost immediately realized it wouldn't be practical to put a law office in the church, because it only had one room. But now I was thinking of something different: I could turn the room into a large art studio. I could buy large canvasses and paint whatever I wanted on them. I didn't know where to buy such canvases or how much they would cost, but the idea of a spacious art studio out in the middle of nowhere was extremely pleasing.

Of course I realized I would probably only be able to work there in the summer. Heating the church in winter would be too difficult. In the winter I would have to go somewhere else.

***

I was in a car with two or three other men. We had pulled up to a church in the country which I was thinking of buying. On the door was a sign displaying the names of three men, and beside each name was a number. The three numbers appeared to add up to a hundred; two numbers were much larger than the third. I had seen this same type of sign at another church which I had visited, and I had concluded the numbers represented the percentages that each man owned in the church. I thought the men had probably been brothers and had inherited their respective percentages when their father had died.

One man in the car with me was George H. W. Bush, and he was one of the men whose name was on the sign – the one with the smallest number. I wanted to talk with him about the church and try to find out how much the church would cost, but he seemed quite somber and taciturn, and I decided not to bother him.

***

I was standing with a group of perhaps 20 men. It was cold, and snow was on the ground. At first I thought we were outside a church in Gallia County, but when I took better measure of my surroundings, I realized I wasn't in Gallia County at all: I was in Russia.

I had been thinking of living part of the year in Russia. Although I might practice law part of the time in the United States, I felt I could still spend time in Russia. Now I was confirming my idea, for I felt at home in Russia. A few times in my life I had found a place where I immediately felt at home, where I felt I belonged – and I knew I had now found such a place: I belonged in Russia.

The men around me were dressed in dark clothing and seemed to be struggling to fight off the cold. I had the feeling that they were all rather poor, but I also had the feeling that they were unbowed by their poverty, and that they were engaged in some stimulating, intellectual pursuit. This suspicion was confirmed when one fellow walked up to me and said, "Kafka is to __________, as __________ is to __________."

The man was drawing an analogy between Franz Kafka and another author, comparing the two authors to still two other authors. But the only author's name whom I recognized was Kafka's. I knew I rarely heard anyone speak of Kafka. Since Kafka was one of my favorite authors, and I had read several of his books, I felt I was in good company with people with whom I would share a common interest.

I turned my attention to what was taking place. It seemed as if some kind of class was going on. One man standing in front of the others seemed to be trying to teach the class. The teacher was a tall thin man (about 40 years old). He had a black beard and was dressed in the same poor, dark clothes as everyone else.

However he was having great difficulty maintaining order in the class, and to a large extent the other men seemed to be ignoring him. Finally three men in the back of the class stood next to each other and threw their arms over each other in a line. They then began singing and dancing a wild Russian dance, kicking their legs in the air. They were quickly joined by two other men.

I rather enjoyed the sight and headed back toward the men, thinking I might join in their dance. When the teacher saw I was going to join them, he lost his temper, for I, as a foreigner, was expected to show respect for the class. The teacher thought if he lost my attention, he would lose complete control of the class. Carrying a black cane with a silver handle, the teacher marched to the back where the five Russians were dancing and began striking the men with the cane.

I was appalled. I walked up to the teacher, wrested the cane from him and knocked him to the ground. He lay on his back looking up at me. Only then did I recognize the man: Dostoievsky. I had read several of his books, including The Brothers Karamazov, the story of the four brothers. The book was so long, even by reading 20 pages a day, 50 days would be needed to complete the book. I now wondered whether reading the book had been worth the effort. With sharp disdain in my voice, I looked at the man, sprawled on his back where I had knocked him down, and I sneered, "Dostoievsky. The great Dostoievsky that everybody's read."

I need Dostoievsky more than ever. I need his character to infuse my weakening imagination and revive me from my torpor.

Dream of: 30 March 2005 "Russian Novelists"

I was at a class reunion taking place in a fancy hotel. The reunion was going to last for three days and two nights. Apparently, when I had been in high school, my class had been divided into six different classes, and this reunion was divided up the same way, so the different sections met at different times. We were now at the last day, and only now was my section going to meet, with only three hours left in the reunion. I wasn't very satisfied with the arrangement. 

Instead of joining my section, I walked over to one of the other six sections, entered a room like a classroom (only with no walls), and sat down. Three or four people (who had apparently been teachers) were sitting at a desk in front. I liked this class much better than my class, especially since so many attractive women (probably in their mid 30s) were in this class. As the teachers were talking in the front, I reflected that I really didn't know anybody there, but that I would like to meet someone. 

Two or three women sitting near me were very attractive. When the class finally ended and people began leaving and walking down a long carpeted hallway, I thought perhaps I could simply approach one of the women and strike up a conversation. As I also began walking along the hall, I especially took notice of one woman in particular, an attractive blonde. I would certainly like to talk with her. 

A fellow (probably in his late 30s) began walking along beside me. When he spoke my name, I thought he must be one of my old classmates, although I didn't recognize him. He said his name was "Eric."

I seemed to vaguely remember him and I replied, "Oh, Eric."

We exchanged a few more words, then he walked over to some of the others and began talking with them. I thought to myself that I probably should have made more effort to talk with him, and that I should make some effort to meet other people there. My thoughts went further, and I reflected how it would be nice if I belonged to some kind of community where I knew more people, so we could meet sometimes and even be able to assist each other in case of emergencies. 

I also reflected that no one there had mentioned my dreams. Since I knew I had dreamed about my old classmates and had published those dreams on the Internet, I wondered if any of these people realized that. 

I noticed one woman standing over to the side talking with someone. She appeared ready to leave. On impulse, I took a chance, walked over to her, and blurted out,  "Your class definitely had the best-looking women."

She was tall and thin and had dark hair. She had looked more attractive from across the room than she did up close. Her face at first seemed a bit strange, but when she started talking, she once again looked attractive. She had a bright friendly smile, and she seemed happy that I had approached her. 

As we walked along together, she said something about another woman there at the reunion, and she also mentioned Dostoievsky. My interest was piqued, but I hadn't understood exactly what she had said, and I responded, "I'm not following you."

However, I wanted to make sure she knew that I knew who Dostoievsky was, so I said something about reading "certain Russian novelists." I thought I was being witty, and I envisioned myself as sounding and gesticulating a bit like Woody Allen. She picked up on my response and apparently she liked it, because we began holding hands. I was very happy -- I already liked her, and she seemed to like me. She said, "Let's go somewhere."

I replied, "Well, we could ride that thing."

I was referring to something outside the hotel which looked like a futuristic train on a monorail. It circled the whole hotel complex and grounds and took about 15 minutes to ride. She seemed to think that would be a good idea.

I was also thinking we could simply rent another room for ourselves there in the hotel. Several other people were staying in the room in which I had been staying, so we couldn't go there. 

I thought she was probably married and I knew I was married to Carolina, but I thought we were so far away from everyone, nobody would ever know what happened there. 

I confess my life a nightmare. I have failed the courage of my imagination. Yet, still, there is time.

Dream of: 10 March 2011 "Lady Chatterley's Lover"

I was leafing through a paperback book which contained stories by Dostoievsky. I was looking for The Brothers Karamazov, but couldn't find it. I saw a couple other stories, however, which I thought I might like to read. One was titled Lady Chatterley's Lover. I was surprised that Dostoevsky had written a copy of this story since I already knew of two other writers who had written the same story. I figured the story must have been well known and had simply been retold by different writers.

An older man was sitting behind me and I had leaned back so I was resting my back on his chest. I wanted to be careful, however, that our bare flesh didn't touch each other.

 

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