“After talking to everybody too long and too loudly and way too much to drink, I went into a back room to lie down for a while. When I awoke I saw that I’d slept the whole night…
‘How did I get here?’ I asked, thinking about the drunken party. The man said nothing and the woman looked down. Very little was explained.
It took me more than a week to deduce from the evidence around me that everything before my waking up was a dream and everything afterward was reality.”
Robert M. Pirsig, from ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’
“…and the old man took off his trousers and went to bed in the dark. He rolled up his trousers to make a pillow, putting the newspaper inside them. He rolled himself in the blanket and slept on the other old newspapers that covered the springs of the bed.
He was asleep in a short time and he dreamed of Africa when he was a boy and the long, golden beaches and the white beaches, so white they hurt your eyes, and the high capes and the great brown mountains. He lived along that coast now every night and in his dreams he heard the surf roar and saw the native boats come riding through it. He smelled the tar and oakum of the deck as he slept and he smelled the smell of Africa that the land breeze brought that morning.
Usually when he smelled the land breeze he woke up and dressed to go and wake the boy. But tonight the smell of the land breeze came very early and he knew it was too early in his dream and went on dreaming to see the white peaks of the Islands rising from the sea and then he dreamed of the different harbours and roadsteads of the Canary Islands.
He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, not of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, not contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and of the lions on the beach. They played like young cats in the dusk and he loved them as he loved the boy. He never dreamed about the boy. He simply woke, looked out the open door at the moon and unrolled his trousers and put them on.”
from ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ by Ernest Hemingway
“…once, a guy came in because he had dreamed a record, the whole thing, melody, title and artist. And when I found it for him (it was an old reggae thing, ‘Happy Go Lucky Girl’ by the Paragons), and it was more or less exactly as it had appeared to him in his sleep, the look on his face made me feel as though I was not a man who ran a record shop, but a midwife, or a painter, someone whose life is routinely transcendental.”
from ‘High Fidelity’ by Nick Hornby
“What is being awake if not interpreting our dreams, or dreaming if not interpreting our wake? Circle of circles!”
“4:513 – The dream of angels dreaming of men. It was during an afternoon nap that I dreamt of a ladder. Angels were sleepwalking up and down the rungs, their eyes closed, their breath heavy and dull, their wings hanging limp at the sides. I bumped into an old angel as I passed him, waking an startling him. He looked like my grandfather did before he passed away last year, when he would pray each night to die in his sleep. Oh, the angel said to me, I was just dreaming of you.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, from ‘Everything is Illuminated’
“It’s one of those unpleasant opioid feverish half-sleep states, more of a fugue-state than a sleep-state, less a floating than like being cast adrift on rough seas, tossed mightily in and out of this half-sleep where your mind’s still working and you can ask yourself whether you’re asleep even as you dream. And any dreams you do have seem ragged at the edges, gnawed on, incomplete.”
David Foster Wallace, from ‘Infinite Jest’