In a dream last night, I was hanging out with a good friend—someone I’ve known since grade school—and there’s a group of random people there as well, people whom I’ve never met. In the dream, I say:
I saw the strangest thing in the paper, there were these ratings. And the ratings were, “murder,” +1, and then some movie, +5. And I thought, first, that’s odd that you’re reviewing a murder. But also, is that really fair? Did anyone really see the murder?At which point, a big laugh ensures. Feel free to laugh at home if you desire. Laughs occur in odd places in my dreams. They occur in odd places in my waking life as well. Seldom where I intend them, as many of my students would not attest to since they were the ones not laughing in the places where I intended laughter to, as they say, ensue.
In the dream, my friend says to the group of random strangers: “He’s not very funny when he’s working, but if you talk to him outside of school—like one time, he said to me, ‘when I’m a university professor, I’m going to live in the university district—it’s like a red herring. Nobody will expect it.’”
It’s not just that the creative process continues while we sleep that astounds me, it’s the complexity of what results from that process—that the brain can produce intricate narratives, solve complicated problems, or, in my case, write new material (some of it’s even funny).
The other thing that astounds me is that, even in my dreams, my friends have to explain to strangers that I am funny.