..Had quite a vivid dream last night, entirely set in a some strange dentist’s office. Having consulted various oracles, I’m assured that “…to dream that you are at the dentist, signifies doubt over the sincerity and honor of some person. You may have some anxiety or fear of pain, but in the long run it will be for your own good..”
So, there you are – anyway, it’s a somewhat tenuous link, but the whole dream thing put me in mind of a nice little anecdote told by Richard Powers in an intriguing interview, to illustrate how we need the stories of others to complete our own..
“… there’s an old Dutch fairy tale called, in one variation, the Innkeeper’s Wife, which has always seemed to me the perfect illustration of that theory of interpenetrating complements. I’ve narrated the tale explicitly in one of my books, and it haunts the margins of at least two others. The wife of an innkeeper in Zeeland has a dream in which she finds a fortune outside the Bourse in Amsterdam. when she wakes, the dream is still so palpable that she feels it must be real. She tells her husband, who tries to discourage her from making the ruinous journey. But nothing can stop her, and she spends her savings on a ticket in to the city. All day long she walks up and down in front of the Bourse: no treasure. Finally, in despair, she prepares to go home empty-handed. A broker corning out of the Bourse sees her and asks her what the matter is. When she, weeping, tells him, he laughs. “You must never believe in such things. I, personally, have often dreamed that I’ve found treasure under the bed of a little inn in Zeeland where I’ve dreamed I’m staying.”
“Some versions of the story end there, and others have the woman rushing home, tearing up the floorboards, and coming into her inheritance. The force of the story, for me, is the fact that each dream only has use as the key to the other. We cannot understand our own narratives except as the ground for some other’s figure (or the figure for their ground)… ”