Ten Thousand Dreams

A cloud in the sky

Way back in my Uni­ver­si­ty days[1]As a stu­dent; I’ve nev­er real­ly left the place., one of my friends had a fat paper­back copy of a book titled Ten Thou­sand Dreams Inter­pret­ed. It was a strange book, full of all kinds of psy­chob­a­b­ble, and a list of dreams and their alleged mean­ings. We looked up a lot—a lot—of dreams. One sticks out in my mind to this day, main­ly because of the hyper-weird speci­fici­ty (or the hyper-spe­cif­ic weird­ness) of it:

To see a horse in human flesh, descend­ing on a ham­mock through the air, and as it nears your house is meta­mor­phosed into a man, and he approach­es your door and throws some­thing at you which seems to be rub­ber but turns into great bees, denotes mis­car­riage of hopes and use­less endeav­ors to regain lost valuables. 

Ten Thou­sand Dreams Inter­pret­ed, by Gus­tavus Hind­man Miller

And no, I did­n’t remem­ber that off the cuff[2]Though I’ve yet to for­get, over the last thir­ty years, the phrase “a horse in human flesh”, and trust me, I’ve tried.. I just copied ‘n’ past­ed it from the ever-help­ful Project Guten­berg’s copy of Ten Thou­sand Dreams Inter­pret­ed.

Turns out it’s in the pub­lic domain. Also turns out I’ll be mak­ing use of it in “Dried Flow­ers”[3]aka “Palimpses­ts”., which has more than a few dream sequences.


1 As a stu­dent; I’ve nev­er real­ly left the place.
2 Though I’ve yet to for­get, over the last thir­ty years, the phrase “a horse in human flesh”, and trust me, I’ve tried.
3 aka “Palimpses­ts”.

Strunk + White

fountain pen on notepad

I had a dream the oth­er night. I was vis­it­ing a friend—I don’t recall who, but it might have been one of the Craigs I know—and, left alone in a room, I was look­ing over the friend’s bookcase.

I found on there a copy of The Ele­ments of Style, col­lo­qui­al­ly known as “Strunk + White” after the authors. In the real world it’s a thin book, not much more impos­ing than a pam­phlet; I’ve read novel­las that are longer. But in the dream it was a trade paper­back, prob­a­bly 400 pages long, and I pulled it off the shelf. I used to have a copy, in the dream, and I thought maybe I’d lent it to this friend.

But if it was my copy, I had­n’t put my name in the front, which I usu­al­ly do when I lend out a book. So I hes­i­tat­ed, con­tem­plat­ed tak­ing it any­way, then decid­ed not to risk it. I put it back on the shelf.

I don’t remem­ber the rest of the dream.

When I searched the Inter­net for “Strunk and White”, I found this arti­cle from Mignon Fog­a­r­ty, aka Gram­mar Girl, in which she lays out one rea­son why she does­n’t much care for The Ele­ments of Style. (TL;DR: it’s a style guide that every­one treats like it’s a gram­mar book. In oth­er words, it’s a set of sug­ges­tions that peo­ple instead treat like laws.)