The other night I dreamed that I was dancing. I was the same in the dream as I am when I’m awake. It couldn’t be otherwise; I have no other memory and no desire for another.
This is also why, as Sally Alexander explains in Do You Remember the Color Blue?, you can’t truly give color to congenitally blind people using metaphors. (So, for instance, The Black Book of Colors works best if Thomas can remember seeing.) You can’t physically dream what your brain can’t give you; even the Berenstain Bears can tell you that. In my case, the gift was watching a jig to “The Irish Washerwoman” for Dance around the World before I told the Irish Cinderella story Fair, Brown and Trembling. I didn’t join in just then, but I watched sharply and thought, Huh. Maybe… That night my brain answered by giving me the dance. It was slow and clunky, but it was mine; I swung and turned around in my own circle and moved as I pleased.
But there was another contribution to that gift. A colleague pointed me to a book of poetry written by and for people who come from where I come from. In this book were these lines by Jennifer Bartlett: “I am all motion and / this motion is neither weak nor hideous / this motion is simply my own”. I fell asleep on those words. Losing myself to other people’s misperceptions had almost made me forget that, and that book gave me back what I’d lost. That dream gave me happiness and safety and a moment of great peace, something I have not had for a long time.
This is why no plot is too ridiculous; this is why you should start reading as early and as much as you can, and especially before bed. Sometimes you need a dream to get you through the night – or even through the day. And you never know when you might need someone to dream for you.