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Letters From the Editor

Dream Analysis

A friend recently asked me to describe some of my dreams in an email for him to analyze. For the sake of full-disclosure (wait there buddy boy, what full-disclosure? No one asked you to share, and in fact, this desire to share your, what, nocturnal anxieties, is probably a sign of a much more vain and dangerous anxit – shhh…), they are re-published below, in the indented passages, followed by his interpretations.

I have no reason to believe he’s trained or talented at dream-reading, but I found the analysis revealing (dream #2), accurate (dream #3), and entirely wrong (dream #1).
Dream 1: there is nothing in my field of vision except for a fuzzy pink dot in the very far distant, surrounded by black. The dot gets closer, coming towards me, and I see that it is actually a small pink rhinocerous, but it’s still fuzzy and undefined and looks very soft, a soft pink rhinocerous that grows much bigger, enormous, until it takes up all of my vision, very soft and pink and frosted and overwhelms me. I wake up terrified. I haven’t had this dream in years, but it happened at least once a month from ages 10 to 20 (once every couple months in the later years)
Analysis: well i think it’s perfectly normal, especially during your teen years, to have doubts or concerns about your sexuality. i wouldn’t worry about it too much. it’s interesting that you say gayness as such a strong force. i’m particularly thinking about the phallic nature of the rhinocerous’s horn. maybe you’re heterosexual, but interested in promoting gay rights. anyway, if it’s helpful, i don’t think sexuality actually exists along a continuum anyway. i think it’s more 3-dimensional.
Dream 2: my dreams now are frequently the same: interior, industrial landscape, like a warehouse or a school or a mall (or a combination of the three), frequently built like a skyscraper that I can fly or skate through, and I’m being chased by lots of people I don’t know; there’s a tree in a glass room that shows up a lot, and lots of weird angular planes (as if you’re running through a room of shifting walls), and lots of water dripping on everything. Frequently a woman I knew in grade school will show up and accompany me and make me feel better, but otherwise it’s all anxiety and uneasiness, and there’s always more rooms to run through (I never escape the building), and the people never catch me.
Analysis: you’ve got some anxiety about your self-worth, about your talents, but I think deep down you know that you have the stuff to make your dreams happen. most people who are dreaming about being chased, or who are lost in wierd spaces, aren’t able to fly or skate, and i think that’s what we should focus on here. your 20s are all about figuring out what’s your place in the world. how do your family and your friends and your career actually relate to who you are? this decade is all about working these issues out. you’re very close to figuring this stuff out. so kudos to you sir. you’re going to make it out of the building soon.
Dream 3: I recently dreamt (this was a one-off) that Brooklyn was being attacked by fireballs and R. and I had to stand in a canal to prevent being burned down. I woke up feeling horrible.
Analysis: well sure, living in new york I bet a lot of people are having dreams like this these days. just remember that the chances of you and your loved ones being hurt are very slim. and you’ll probably move out of the city in a few years anyway. i went to a few open houses here in illinois yesterday. you can get a pretty nice 3BED/2BATH for a little over 100k.

Full-disclosure, again: These dreams here described are entirely true, and that rhinocerous did haunt me nightly for most of my adolescence, showing up a final time in college when I was drunk after a party, on the top bunk, unable to sleep.

From The Sheltering Sky, by Paul Bowles, concerning one character’s description of a dream: ‘I think it’s extremely thoughtless and egotistical of you to insist this way when you know how boring it is for us.’


Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. He is the author of three books, including his latest novel The Last Kid Left (NPR’s Best Books of the Year). His nonfiction appears in a variety of magazines, mostly GQ. More information can be found at More by Rosecrans Baldwin

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