déjà rêvé

For me, November is the month that typically brings the greatest intensity. When I flip through the history scrapbooks that form the ever-growing mosaic of my life, I see the patterns on the margins: the mountain of assignments & exams waiting in the wings, the colour & temperature changes of the outside world forcing movements in the inner world to creep up, the fiery loves kindled by the promise of cuffing season. That's the beauty of looking at life backwards. I wonder what's a lyrical way of describing this thought. Neurotic November? Numbing November? Dare I say: Nightmarish November?

Naturally, November marks the 60-day race to the finish line. Autumn leaves bleed into the winter breeze, and Halloween activities transition into Christmas festivities. I see two dominant responses to November: Some try to maximize their efforts to tick off leftover goals and move into pure workhorse mode (yes, this is me). Others view it as the entry point to minimize and slow down towards vacation mode. In these hyper-energetic times, who doesn't deserve a break? Yet I also find November to be the most “dreamlike” month of them all. Specifically, a transient time where both action and reflection coexist. When else do you have a better reason to look backwards and forwards at the same time — i.e. a 10-month flashback and +2-month forecast?

Whenever I oscillate heavily between these two modes of thought, something curious happens. Throughout my life, I've always had moments where my mind flashes images and memories of a particular event that "I've definitely experienced before". These quick flashes are always surreal because they immediately make me pause and consider my existence entirely. The technical term is déjà rêvé, the soft-spoken sister of déjà vu. Basic Googling shows me that there are three types: episodic (recalling a specific dream), familiarity (recalling a vague dream), and dreamy (literally in a dream). Other fun articles offer their own hypotheses: A Gift for Prophecy or a Glitch in Your Brain?

In a déjà rêvé setting, perhaps dreams are like portals. The connective tissue; the liminal thread; the true inward dimension; the between and the betwixt. A proverbial poem for the soul, unconsciously being written when you least expect it. A pilgrimage to search for hidden meanings. Dreams are the cargo on a midnight train transporting you into an alternate reality, even if temporarily. In its rarest form, I jump through these halogenic hoops loosely knowing that I'm the true prophet of my own life, filled with omniscient powers. Through an alternate, almost paradoxical interpretation: doesn't the ultimate productivity happen when you're asleep? Both past reflections and future hopes mix and mingle, resulting in both rest and rejuvenation for greater long-term gains.

The problem is, I've never taken my dreams too seriously. Even now, as it's 6:30 am, I can't remember what I dreamt last night (I don't think I even did?) To my dismay, I'm struggling to piece together any string of coherent ideas on such an esoteric topic. That's why I find myself attracted to novelists, journalists, and online newsletter publishers who have a knack for illustrating and drawing out dreams in a vivid, visceral way. And maybe that's the point — dreams are fluid, generative events. More questions — and possibilities — than answers exist in the dreamscape, and the harder we try to force fit our own dispositions, the more resistance we will find and the more imagination will be locked.

I will admit that on some nights, I am happily floating through these ephemeral realms, where I have the slightest glimmer of faith that dreams are another territory for finding meaning. That is, as long as you welcome them with a beginner's mind and a student's curiosity. There are even luckier nights where I feel the sensational quality of being lucid. As in Martin Garrix's No Sleep: "Find myself awake at night // see you through my lucid eyes". My mind: So, am I lucid yet? Am I wondering and wandering hard enough? ... Shut up, we're dreaming.

I want to call the 2021 edition ~Novel November~, where I'll attempt to try a new experiment: to consciously Capture as many dreams as I can. Keeping with the naming convention and my action-packed-yet-dream-infused mood, I'll also attempt to polish off my fiction novels remaining for this year. Just like this weekly writing journal, I think I can harness dreams as a new data source for even greater self-awareness. Imagine the ability to trigger episodic déjà rêvé scenarios by nature of becoming more tethered to these prophetic phantoms. Even if the stream of information doesn't make any tangible sense, the core dreamwork analysis should make for one of the most interesting writeups.

December 1st, here we come :)

Published by Sam (samwong) 7 months ago on Monday the 1st of November 2021.

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