Today is my last official day teaching a compressed winter term “Special Topics in American Literature” course devoted to August Wilson’s Century Cycle.
Last night I had a dream that Wilson wrote an eleventh play that I didn’t know about; or that I somehow missed covering one of his ten cycle plays. In my dream, I was shuffling through my stack of books, trying to put them in order, so that I could find out which play I missed.
I got pretty anxious, and in my dream I told myself to take a breath and recollect where, exactly, I learned about this phantom play, which seemed to be steampunk themed. I remember wondering whether that meant I should expect it was set in the 1890s, or the early 2000s (which is when my dreaming mind told me steampunk went mainstream).
While I dreamt I was doing an EBSCOhost search to track down the missing August Wilson play, the way the results kept changing made me recognize I was dreaming, but sadly I don’t remember what I did with that awareness — I think I just woke up.
When I was writing my dissertation, I would regularly have dreams that I was sitting at my computer writing, or reading a complex academic essay, and the words before me would keep changing. My dreaming mind couldn’t stabilize more than a few sentences of text, so that each time I tried to reread a confusing passage, the words would change. I learned to recognize that experience as something that happened in dreams, and could flip pretty easily into lucid dreaming — that is, controlling my dreams and enjoying the experience. I guess I’ve gotten out of the habit.