Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The Improbable Dream
I dreamt last night that my mother told me she had asked my father for a divorce. An improbable scenario. First, both my parents died more than a decade ago. They had been married for more than sixty years and, while my mother once confessed that things had not always been easy for her in their marriage, they came from a generation and a culture in which divorce would have been inconceivable. My father, as I mentioned recently, was an Anglican minister, and my mother was the daughter of a minister of the Church of Wales.
So the dream was clearly not about my parents. As with most dreams, I'm taking a wild guess that it was actually about myself. With no divorce on the horizon--Ellie and I have been together for more than thirty-five years--there has to be some other answer to the puzzle. I do believe that dreams come along to tell us something, they are not just random nonsense. Here's my thinking: I believe, with C.G.Jung, all of us have a masculine side and a feminine side, and my own interpretation of the dream suggests that here was my feminine side (mother) telling my masculine side (father) to get lost. Perhaps it's my more intuitive self rebelling against that rational authoritarian who spends his time telling her how to live her life.
The dream may also be related to the book I'm reading. Awaiting a trip to the bookstore to replenish my summer supply, I picked up a copy of Jeanette Walls's The Glass Castle which Ellie had borrowed from friends. I was soon hooked on this remarkable story of a child growing up with unbelievably impossible parents--an alcoholic dreamer of a father whose get-rich schemes lead inevitably to disaster, a brilliant tinkerer and rationalist; and a scatterbrain, would-be artist mother whose rampant narcissism and dedication to "adventure" results in an airy neglect of her children and their needs. Notwithstanding the dreadful abuse and the rootlessness as the family struggles to stay one step ahead of police, penury and ruin, the children benefit in unexpected ways from what love and attention their parents manage to spare them. They learn a fierce spirit of independence and creativity from their mother, and a keen understanding of the workings of the universe from their father's scientific bent.
And we readers learn a lot about the resourcefulness of children. So far as I've got in my reading of the book, they have survived. More about this, perhaps, as I get further into the story. But you can see how it might provoke an improbable mother-and-father dream...