Deja Vu Dreaming: Dreaming in Sequels

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We all know that dreams are strange beasts.  Psychologists tell us that our dreams are our brain’s way of trying to make sense of the world and to process the days’ (weeks, months, years) events and integrate them into our psyche.  So, dream logic is strange, wonderful, and the source of both inspirations and nightmares.  I’m a writer, and a fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy, so I expect my dreams to be strange and I try to harness that “strangeness” and turn the most coherent of dreams into characters, or plot ideas, or stories, etc.

Last night, however, I experienced a type of dream that I usually only experience rarely (maybe once a year or once every two years) that I’m going to call the “sequel” dream.  It is a dream that tells a fairly coherent narrative (at least, for a dream) and then fades away upon waking so that you remember only small flashes or bits of the dream, but by the end of the day even those flashes are gone.  I hate those because they were usually so vivid that if I could have awakened before the dream faded, I would have written it down in my journal of ideas for stories.  Yet, I experience a curious phenomenon where I will (much) later, either dream the same dream again (I call it Deja Vu Dreaming), but this time I will remember most if not all of the dream AND have the feeling of Deja Vu, somehow recalling that I’ve already dreamed the dream once before all ready.  Or (like tonight), I’ll have that Deja Vu dream experience, but this time my mind will actively create additional segments to the dream (it will turn the dream into a sequel, of sorts).  Again, I will remember that I’ve dreamed the dream before, but I will also get new additional “chapters” to the dream-story.

I first noticed this phenomenon as a child, but I really became invested in documenting the dreams when I decided to become a writer.  The previous most recent example is a dream that I still haven’t found a way to turn into a story just yet, but it involves a Sidhe (Elf-like faerie) who marries a mortal, but there is a “creepy” house that disapproves of the marriage (this is just a synopsis of the dream–the dream itself is more complicated as the house is more of a “horror” house than it is creepy.  Yet, the horror part of the house didn’t come to me in the first dream, but rather in that second Deja Vu-Sequel dream.  Last night’s dream was more of a “police procedural” as I used to watch a lot of (the original) Law & Order reruns on TNT on my free days working at the public library.  I found myself trying to negotiate a hostage situation and then chasing the perpetrator when the situation went sour. Again, upon waking I remembered that I’ve dreamed that dream before and I remembered so much more about the dream upon waking.  As I don’t write police procedurals, I’m not quite sure how I’m going to work this dream into a story, but at least the dream allowed me to be introspective about my dreams and dreaming process.  Maybe my experience will allow you, the reader, to become more introspective about your own dreams.

As long as they aren’t nightmares, I’ll take Deja Vu – Sequel Dreams any day.

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