My name is Frank Whitfield. I am a psychologist who lives and works in Paris, European Union. For a number of years, I have been intrigued by the dreams of a prolific dream-writer named Steven Collier, who was born in 1952, and who lived much of his life in the small town of Portsmouth, Ohio, USA. Collier died at the age of 95 in 2048. Twelve years later, in 2060, I was born in Portsmouth. Now in the year 2087, at the age of 27, I have developed an affection for Collier's dreams which has inspired me to compile some of them into meaningful stories.
This is the tenth time that I have created a story from a small group of Collier's dreams in which a particular person, place, or thing appeared. In this story, Bob Dylan was mentioned or appeared in each of the following dreams.
Dream of: 16 July 1982 "Under The Cross"
mental torrents of
power may be sources of
After standing for a while in the lobby of an apartment building and looking at some books, I walked upstairs to an apartment where Birdie (my dark-haired girlfriend from my late teens) was living. I stood in front of the apartment door, knocked, then stepped to the side where I did not think Birdie would be able to see me through the small, round, peep hole. No one said anything from inside, but suddenly the door opened and Birdie stood before me. I asked, "Well, you just open up your door like that without making sure who it is?"
When she replied that she knew that it was me, I asked, "Well, how'd you know it was me."
She answered, "Well, you hadn't been here in two or three days. I was expecting you."
I walked into the apartment and began talking to Birdie. Recalling a book I had seen in the lobby, I reported, "Well, Bob Dylan has out a new book now."
Actually, Bob Dylan had not written the book to which I was refering – it had been written by Carlos Castaneda. I even had the book - which I had bought in the lobby - with me. On the cover was the image of a man whose features could not be discerned. A shadow stretched out from his feet. The total impression of the man and the shadow was of two shadowy figures standing there. After I said, "The name of the book is Under the Cross," Birdie asked me what the title meant.
I had the impression that Castenada had become a Christian. Referring to Castanada's old beliefs before he became a Christian, I said something like, "He kind of, I suppose, rejected those old ways, but in this book he re-experiences these torrents of power which apparently came surging forth. And that was mainly what the book was about."
I was thinking that the "torrents of power" derived from Castenada's former beliefs in sorcery, and not from his new religious beliefs.
I feel blessed to have been given the calling of creating stories from Collier's dreams. The more I read and assemble his dreams, the more I feel the hand of God working on Collier's mind and speaking to mankind through those dreams.
Although I had heard songs by Bob Dylan before I discovered Dylan in Collier's dreams, I listened to the songs more closely after I began work on finding the story of Dylan in Collier's dreams, and I would agree with Collier that Dylan was the most influential songwriter of the twentieth century.
I sometimes have a similar feeling of the hand of God at work on Dylan's mind and speaking to mankind through Dylan's songs as the feeling which I have that God worked on Collier's mind and spoke to mankind through Collier. It seems to me that in both cases of songs and dreams, God is declaring God's power to communicate to mankind through beautiful language.
Dream of: 23 July 1982 "Song Played Over And Over"
poetry and dreams
may have the same source in the
I was watching a scene unfold in an open field surrounded by trees where a group of people had four or five large, hot-air balloons of various colors, including red and blue. The people had tied the balloons together and were about to ascend and escape in them because the people were about to be attacked by a group of Indians.
One man disagreed with the idea of using the balloons to escape. Apparently - once upon a time - he had owned a hot-air balloon and now he did not think these balloons would fly. The others, however, were adamant about using the balloons to escape, and suddenly the balloons took off.
Although most of the women and children had already boarded the carriages under the balloons, some men still on the ground scurried about and some grabbed for ropes hanging from the balloons. Some ropes looked like rope ladders, as if they were designed for the men to hang onto and climb. The balloons continued ascending until only one long rope was still hanging down.
The man who had disagreed with the balloon-escape project was still on the ground with a couple other men. They all grabbed the long rope and the balloon continued ascending.
Seeing the Indians riding up furiously on horses in the distance, I began wondering whether the Indians would be able to shoot arrows and hit the men who were still dangling from the ropes. I thought perhaps the men in the carriages of the hot-air balloons might also have arrows which they could shoot down at the Indians.
The scene changed to what appeared to be a deserted encampment of log houses next to a lake. Through the trees which surrounded the lake, I could see red in the sky and realized the hot-air balloons were floating to this encampment which was the very place which the people escaping in the balloons were trying to reach.
The hot-air balloons were being pulled on a rope by a large, metal machine-contraption chugging along in the sky. The contraption was as large as all the balloons put together. When the contraption and the balloons were almost over top the encampment, something suddenly happened and the balloons and contraption began falling. While the contraption fell close to the log houses, most of the balloons fell into the trees.
The balloons were punctured and dangled in the trees. The people climbed out of the balloons and walked toward the houses where they gathered around an old, gray-haired man who had been the person driving the machine-contraption which had pulled the balloons. He, apparently, had devised the entire plan of escaping in the balloons and reaching the encampment.
The encampment was several days journey by foot from where the Indians were, and since winter was approaching, it appeared that the Indians would not be able to reach the encampment. If the people stayed in the encampment during the winter, they would have to leave early in the spring before the Indians were able to arrive.
Since people were supposed to be already living in the encampment, and no one was there, the people began asking the old, gray-haired man where the people were who were supposed to be there.
Although the old man appeared to be insane and did not seem to know what he was talking about, the people needed to know what had happened to the people who had previously been living in the encampment. Finally the old man said he would take the new people to where the other people were. After he made a little speech about how the people here could go with him, several people decided to accompany him.
For a long while, the old man led the way through weeds and bushes while the others followed, until the old man finally stopped and told the others that it was going to be a three days march.
Even though the old man had not said anything, I suddenly realized that he was only intending to lead these people to the graves of the other people - who had already died.
Looking more closely at the old man, I realized that his body appeared to be that of a lizard. Although he still had the same face, he appeared to be a man-sized lizard. The more I saw how peculiar he looked, the more he reminded me of the main character in the movie E.T.
Abruptly, I realized I was sitting in a room watching the old man in a scene on a television screen. The movie was a very early one - a precursor of some of the modern day movies of the genre. I particularly noted what a good job of makeup had been done on the old man and I generally thought the movie was an important one.
As I watched, the movie changed into a series of colorful animated scenes with people dancing around, and I became completely enthralled. The music, which seemed like early rock and roll, was also good and played a large role in the effect of the movie. The movie reminded me somewhat of the movie Tron which compelled me to realize even more the technical importance of this early movie.
As the animation and music continued, the scene focused on the blue cover of a record album lying on the street. On the album cover was a picture of a man standing in the rain. I realized I had seen the cover somewhere before, but I could not remember where.
I then looked around the room, and saw my girlfriend Louise sitting there and holding the very same album cover in her hand and looking at it. When I asked her if I could see it, she answered, "Well, don't you have this album?"
I replied, "No."
She replied, "Yea, that's right. I've only heard one song at your place."
I knew she was referring to a song by Bob Dylan - she said I played the song over and over.
Then she mentioned something that she had dreamed, which upset me. When she said she had told me about it before, I replied, "The hell you did. I know what you told me and you didn't tell me that."
For some reason I was becoming quite irritated with her.
I looked back on the television screen and saw the lizard man there. The people were trying to decide whether they should spend the winter in the encampment and then tear down the houses in the spring. They thought they could use the wood from the houses to repair the balloons' carriages which had been damaged by the fall.
Then they could try to fly on out of there.
But they were unsure what they were going to do.
I have my own personal theory that beauty leads us to God. Finding God is not the same as finding beauty, but as one approaches God, one may have a greater appreciation of beauty.
I am sure that Collier wanted direct contact with God and I suspect that Dylan did also. Perhaps both of them sought to allow God to speak through them. Which brings us to the crux of this story - did God actually speak to mankind through Collier in Collier's dreams?
A look at the hard facts might help. From all the information I have been able to obtain about the early years of the Internet, Collier was the most prolific dream publisher in the world at least into his 60s. Although he did not focus on the voice of God in his early years, he did so later in life.
I have not yet been able to prove that God
communicates to humans in dreams. Yet supposing that God was trying to
communicate a message to mankind through dreams, it seems that God might have
been inclined to choose the most prolific publisher of dreams of his time to
deliver the message.
Dream of:30 November 1983 "Deteriorated Songs"
the source of all art
is essentially the same
with every artist
I was sitting in a room which was my bedroom. When a fellow walked in and sat down on the bed, I looked at him for a minute. When I finally realized that he was Bob Dylan, I asked, "Are you Bob Dylan?"
He said he was. After we began talking, he told me that he had bought some land in a farm-area in Kentucky and that he was going to move into a cabin there. Although he told me the name of a city near the land, I did not recognize it, and I asked him where the land was in relation to Lexington, Kentucky.
After I told him I had a Cabin in Ohio, I looked for my photo album which contained a picture of my Cabin (on my paternal grandparents' Gallia County Farm), but I could not find the album anywhere. When I told Dylan that I had built my log Cabin myself, he seemed quite impressed.
Thinking that I would not mind living with Dylan in the wilds of Kentucky, I asked, "Puedes hablar espanol?"
He answered, "What?"He had seemed to understand me. I continued, "Puedo ensenarte espanol."
I explained to him that I had told him in Spanish that I could teach him Spanish. He seemed pleased with the idea of my teaching him Spanish.
I was unpacking my cassette tapes and other things from a large chest. I told Dylan that I had been living there for several months and that I had only now begun unpacking my things.
I wanted to ask him why his songs had deteriorated after he had become a Christian, but I did not know exactly how to pose the question. I also wanted to know if he intended to continue writing songs.
If God were really going to send a message to mankind, it would seem that God might begin with an explanation of why humans exist in the first place. I propose the possibility that God does give various explanations of human existence by sending messages to dreamers in their dreams.
Since angels are often portrayed as messengers, I would be tempted to look at Dylan as a symbol of an angel - a messenger from God. If "Dylan" is viewed as a symbol of "an angel," God may be saying that sometimes God sends other intelligent and living beings - either actual or symbolical - to us to communicate God's messages to us.
I find the theory of actual angels difficult to accept because I want to think that God has direct contact with me. Since I would like to think of God as the direct and actual creator of my dreams, I with great difficulty view the possibility that another living entity - except for God - enters into and influences my dreams.
Believing that any other intelligent being has contact with my mind is disconcerting, but actual angels are not entirely out of the question.
Dream of: 16 August 1984 "Short Comic Play"
the sources of both
comedy and tragedy
may just be the same
I was in a classroom with about 30 other students. The teacher (a woman) had brought in a short comic play for us to read with parts for two different characters. One character was Bob Dylan. Since the teacher was going to pick me to read one part, I told her I wanted to be Bob Dylan. I thought the other fellow which the teacher picked might also want to play Bob Dylan, but I thought I liked Bob Dylan so much that I would like to have that part.
After I was given the part of Dylan, the other fellow and I began. The first speech was a long introduction by the other character. After the other fellow began reading, his speech was interspersed with music which a third person played on a record player. The music consisted of the lyrics of songs. The other fellow would first speak, then the third person would play lyrics on the record player, then the other fellow would speak again. The book from which we were reading also displayed pictures of Dylan.
I was preparing to read. When the other fellow paused for a moment, I thought we had reached my turn to speak, but then I saw that the other fellow had merely reached the title of the play. When he continued reading, I looked ahead at my part and prepared to read it. I knew the play was going to be a comedy, even though Dylan was a singer and not a comedian. I thought the play was going to be pretty good.
Critic that I am, the concept of the sinful Collier's being enlisted as God's story-teller is most difficult to accept. Nevertheless, I feel inclined to accept that possibility as true.
In tracking the clouds of that story, I envision "Dylan" as a symbol of "an angel prophesizing the realm of beauty." I can comprehend that torrents of power may be necessary to comprehend such a realm which may be a place which not only exists now in dreams, but which will exist for the soul when unchained from the physical body by death.
Although God may speak to every man individually in dreams, God may speak to all mankind through the dreams of poets and prophets. Thus I can understand the possibility that God was the power behind the winds which blew the clouds through Collier's dreaming mind, critic that I am.
Dream of: 26 July 1986 "Poets And Prophets"
wars and poetry
both seem to originate
from a common source
I was a student among other students in a classroom in Dallas, Texas. When I suddenly heard that the students were going to take a test, I tapped on the shoulder of Mary Biester (a Dallas attorney) who was sitting right in front of me, and I tried to find out what kind of test it was going to be. Apparently it was a word test.
It was a Monday and since I had not attended class on Friday, I had not expected the test. Some students were prepared, but I was completely taken by surprise.
We only had a few minutes to study for the test. Since Mary had her book open, I asked her if I could see it. When I placed my head on her shoulder, I could feel her face next to mine. I moved around, sat next to her, and asked her about a stomach problem which she had; apparently it was not that bad.
For the test, each student was going to have to stand and sing a song. We were given a bit more time to work on our songs.
The seats in the room were in rows which ran across the room. I rose and moved into the chair at the far right side of the front row. The teacher (who reminded me somewhat of Angus McSwain, one of my law professors when I was in law school), told us to prepare to sing our songs. McSwain was going to begin with the person on the left end of the front row.
The singing began and one woman sang what appeared to be an Italian song. As the teacher proceeded down the row toward me, I tried to think of what I was going to sing. Finally I knew I wanted to sing a song by Bob Dylan and I began writing the first lines, "Poets and prophets throughout the land."
Although I could not remember the order of the rest of the lyrics, I wrote several lines, one of which was, "Take your stand now, the chance won't come again."
Another line said, "The order is rapidly changing."
But I could not seem to fit the lines together - I simply was not prepared. However, even though I did not know how I was going to sing the song, I did at least know that the first line was "Poets and prophets throughout the land." That was the line that impressed me the most as having something beautiful about it.
I thought the second line might be, "Come sing your song well, the chance won't come again."
Another line might be, "Admit that the waters around you have grown."
I thought my ex-wife Louise was somewhere in the classroom. I wanted to sing correctly because I rather wanted to make a good impression on her. I thought my voice would be in good form; it was just a matter of getting the words right.
I began looking for a rifle which I had had with me earlier and which I had set down in front of me. When I was unable to find the rifle, I asked, "Where's my gun?"
I stood and began looking around for it.
When I saw some people standing along the side of the room, I decided to go stand with them. I thought perhaps the teacher would pass me by; then I could work on my lines more and sing a bit later.
By definition, prophets are humans inspired by God to deliver messages to mankind. The answer to the question of whether Collier was inspired by God seems to be similar to the question of whether Dylan was inspired by God or even to the question of whether Old-Testament prophets were inspired by God.
To believe that any of the three - Jeremiah, Dylan, Collier - was inspired by God would be to believe in prophets. Of course a large portion of mankind still believes that Mohammad was the greatest prophet of God. I believe that the belief in prophets is something which should be accepted only with the utmost caution.
Nevertheless, I tend to think of Collier as being inspired by God in the form of a symbol of an angel - Dylan - sent to Collier in his dreams.
Dream of:12 August 1987 "Another Man's Dead"
the sources of poems
imagination and dreams
may be similar
I was in the front room on the ground floor of the Dallas Zen Center. I had previously been living in an Apartment on the second story, but another fellow (in his mid 30s) was now living in that apartment instead of me. That fellow, along with three or four women, was now here in the front room on the ground floor of the Zen Center with me. The man and the women were engaged in an activity – maybe story-telling or dream-telling, or maybe hypnosis. Whatever the activity was, I was interested and wanted to join.
As soon as I sat in, however, the activity stopped and the fellow brought out little musical instruments which simply looked like sticks and gongs. One gong-like device on the floor seemed to consist merely of a slab of metal held by wire. The device intrigued me and I wondered how it would sound if struck. I was given a stick.
Five or six of us were present, two men and the rest women. When the others slowly began humming and taping their sticks on their drums or gongs, I quietly hummed along a little.
The woman to my left was sitting raised up on something so that she was above me. She gradually began singing a song which seemed as if it might have been improvised as she sang. The song was absolutely beautiful and the woman's voice was rich. I was thoroughly charmed by her singing; the experience of listening to her was thrilling.
The song seemed to consist of perhaps eight lines and told a little story. I could hardly embrace just how moving the song was. I would have liked to sing a song myself, but I was unsure what to sing. Nevertheless, I quickly composed a four-line song in my mind, the first line of which was, "Which way will you go now, my darling young son," and the last line of which was, "Another man's dead out along the line." I was too shy to actually sing the song out loud. It vaguely seemed as if I might have borrowed some of the lines from songs by Bob Dylan.
The humming soon began again and I felt carried along with it. The humming reminded me of how my friend Eloise LaGrone (whom I first met at the Dallas Zen Center in 1987) and I had recently sung together. I thought Eloise would fit in so well here. The humming continued and turned into different notes which grew louder and louder. When the crescendo reached a climatic peak, I let myself go as I felt the tremendous beauty of the music flowing from me and mixing with the invogorating music of the others.
Suddenly everyone stopped - the silence was quite pronounced after such music. I recalled that Will Johnson (another member of the Zen Center) was moving into another apartment next door inside the Zen Center and I wondered if he could hear the music and whether he would be inclined to join in.
One woman sitting on the couch rose - apparently she intended to leave. She walked through the room and since the other fellow did not move, I rose to show her out. I accompanied her to the door and mumbled something about the door's probably not being locked. I was vaguely attracted to the woman, but I did not say much to her.
When I opened the door, I could see that the outside door to the apartment into which Will was moving was open. After I stepped inside his apartment, Will walked from the front room to meet me inside the door. He mentioned that he had just put some bamboo mats onto the floor in the front room; I could see them there. Some mattresses were also piled in the kitchen. He said he was moving a few of his things in right now, although he was not yet moving in himself.
I stepped back into my second story Apartment, looked out the rear window and saw down below that the woman who had left had already boarded her car and that she was pulling out. Several other cars were also down there pulling out. It looked as if a couple of the cars belonged to people next door.
I must admit that I find the subject of angels quite disconcerting, and my interpretation of "Dylan" as a symbol of an "angel" in Collier's dreams does not mean that I believe in angels, or even that I believe that Collier believed in angels. Although I do not rule out the possibility of actual angels in dreams, I follow the belief that God more likely creates angels in dreams as symbols. In Collier's Dylan-dreams, however, I am not even looking at angels as symbols, but at Dylan as a symbol of an angel.
Dream of: 17 November 1987 "Philosophize Disgrace"
the source of disgrace
may be the same as the source
of the universe
I was standing in front of what appeared to be a nightclub in Columbus, Ohio. Since it was night and people were gathered out front, I was a bit apprehensive at first. When I walked inside, I noticed a marquee which seemed to display the names of movies playing in the building.
After stepping up to a water fountain, I saw a square hole in the ceiling above the fountain. I climbed onto the fountain and pulled myself up through the hole into the ceiling and discovered that the night club was actually up there on the second floor. When I also noticed a small ladder standing there on the second floor, I thought the ladder should be placed on the first floor so that people could use it to climb up to the hole in the ceiling instead of having to climb up on the water fountain to reach the hole.
Once I was upstairs, it seemed as if I were riding along in the cab of a truck and singing a Bob Dylan song, "You who philosophize disgrace, and criticize all fears, take the rag away from your face, for now is the time for your tears."
When I heard someone else singing off key over to the side, I looked and sawmy brother Chris (1957-1974) down below me in another section of the truck. He was singing off key and was interrupting my singing.
I was sitting on the right of the seat, and when I looked down, I noticed a large gray rat, perhaps over half a meter long, sitting there looking out the window. I tried to push the rat out the window, but it was so big I could not budge it. I was afraid it was going to turn around and bite me. Then I heard Chris say something about another big rat being down there with him. I thought his rat could not be any bigger than the rat up here with me. I really did not know what I was going to do.
I was driving and it was difficult for me to do anything. If the rat attacked me I would be in real trouble.
Many of the stories in the collections of Collier's dreams concentrate on the meaning of life and the necessity of life after death in order for life to have meaning for the dreamer. Collier believed that mortal life is meaningless in and of itself: only life eternal has meaning for the individual human being.
Although Collier experienced intense challenges in proving that his soul was immortal, he at least convinced me of the necessity of the eternal propostion if life indeed has meaning.
Maybe Dylan's message in Collier's dreams is that belief in the truth of eternal life may facilitate the birth of beauty in the individual mind.Dylan may be conveying the message in Collier's dreams that mankind should concentrate on beauty in preparation for the life to come.
Dream of: 04 July 1995 "The Source"
source of all creation may
speak to man in dreams
The extremely conservative senator Jesse Helms was visiting me at my Summerdale Drive Home (a house in Hurst, Texas into which I had moved in 1993). Standing in the living room, Helms looked like his normal self, the way I had seen him in pictures and on television. Quite friendly, he presented me with a gift, which I immediately examined: an unusual silver dollar which was in an average-sized metal pie pan, and was as big as, and in the shape of, a pie. At first the dollar clung to the pan just as ice might cling to its tray, and I could not remove it, but finally, after I had handled it a while, the dollar loosened up from the pan and I was able to pull it out.
Happy to have the dollar, I turned it over and over in my hands. Although the dollar was heavy and made of pure silver, it appeared translucent. I held it up in front of my face to try to see through it, but I could not. I was grateful to Helms for having brought the dollar to me, and I could tell that I was going to enjoy having it, even more than I had thought when he had first presented it to me.
I wondered what would happen if I took my silver dollar into a store and tried to pay for something with it. Although the dollar was legal tender, it appeared to have been minted exclusively for collectors, and was obviously worth more than a dollar.
I considered that Helms might not be as bad as I had envisioned him. If I were a senator myself, I might even visit Helms in his senate office. I could just imagine his welcoming me in and trying to cajole me. I might even let myself be influenced by him.
When Helms walked to the other side of the living room and began talking with someone else, I sat down and listened. Judging from the way Helms was speaking, I thought his words seemed directed at me. He was strongly disparaging rock and roll music, saying he could not understand why anyone would listen to it. Feeling as if I needed to respond, I abruptly spoke up in defense of rock and roll. Helms turned and looked straight at me. Obviously he was a more formidable adversary than I had originally thought. Although I had pictured him as somewhat of a bumpkin, I now saw that he was actually quite astute.
He said something which I did not quite understand. It sounded as if he were saying that radio broadcasts of rock and roll were sometimes channeled from one side of the country to the other, and that he did not understand why that was necessary. He also mentioned something about the "source." I quickly inferred from his use of the word "source" that he meant "God." He seemed to question why people did not listen directly to God.
I chimed in by saying that not only did I listen directly to the "source," but that I also liked to listen to rock and roll. I told him I liked rock and roll for two reasons. First, I liked rock and roll simply for the pleasure it caused me when I heard the music. Some people might find hearing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony pleasurable just for the music itself. That was the way I felt about rock and roll.
I then prepared to tell him the second reason I liked rock and roll: the message in the songs. A line from a poem by T.S. Eliot passed through my mind, "Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky ..." I knew T.S. Eliot had not written any rock and roll music. However, I recalled that Eliot had been mentioned once in a song by Bob Dylan. Of course Dylan was not a hard-core rock and roll artist, but he still qualified as a rock and roller. I could point to Dylan as an example of someone who wrote poetically and delivered a message. Dylan could illustrate the second reason I liked rock and roll: the message. If necessary, I might even play some illustrative Dylan music for Helms.
How blessed are men such as Bob Dylan who harness the power to create beauty.
Collier believed that all dreams are designed by God and contain messages from God for the dreamer. Although I do not believe that Collier would have denied the possibility that other intelligent beings could possibly enter his dreams, he would have not said that the actual spirit of Bob Dylan was entering his dreams. He would have said that the Dylan of his dreams was a symbolic messenger sent by God. I believe that the message which Dylan delivered was that mankind has a duty to create beauty. Collier believed that his duty was to create beauty by writing stories derived from his dreams. This was a central message which he thought he had received from God.
Dream of:15 March 1996 "What Good Am I"
the source of all dreams
just may be the creator
of the universe
I walked over to a small white sink on one wall of the room in which I found myself. In my hand I was carrying a flat brown cardboard pizza box which I set down in the sink. I did not think of the box as a pizza box, but instead equated it with a book which I had read several times: Der Prozess by Franz Kafka. As I looked at myself in the small mirror hanging above the sink, a startling revelation came to me.
I recalled that Der Prozess had been the story of a man known only as K., who one morning had been placed under arrest and had been faced with trial. K., however, had never been told what his crime had been, and all through the book he had struggled to prove his innocence. Every time I had read the book I had strongly identified with K., and I had always believed in his innocence.
Now in a flash, however, I realized something quite disturbing: what if K. had actually been guilty? What if all along, K. had known he had committed a crime and had known exactly what his crime had been? What if the book had been so cleverly written that K. would only seem to be innocent, when in reality he had actually been guilty? What if the book had been written so an astute reader would be able to discern K.'s guilt?
This revelation was extremely upsetting to me because I had been so certain that K. had been innocent. It shook me to the core to think it possible that I could have been so wrong about something like that. What else had I been wrong about? Perhaps I was even wrong about some of my fundamental beliefs about myself.
I looked more closely at myself in the mirror. I had a thin face and a burr haircut. I did not look more than 25 years old, but my face was in terrible shape. On different places of my face, something appeared to be moving under my skin, causing my flesh to move up and down in different spots.
I looked closely at myself – could I even be wrong about who I was? What was I doing with my life? I thought how my father had wanted me to practice law, and how I had given up my law practice to write books of dreams. I had abandoned a secure, lucrative, normal life to pursue some path that seemed fraught with uncertainty. I felt myself seriously looking at myself and saying, "Are you crazy?"
As if in answer, a song began going through my head. It was a Bob Dylan song which I thought was titled "What Good Am I?" I recalled a line from the song which went, "What good am I, if I'm like all the rest?" I knew immediately what it meant. I was not like all the rest, or at least I was not supposed to be like all the rest. I just had to accept who I was and what I was supposed to do, and go on from there.
I almost sense that Collier felt an inextricable connection between God and beauty. I feel sure that Collier did not believe in the necessity of belief in God to create beauty, but rather simply that God inspired beauty whether God was beleived in by the artist or not. Dylan seems for Collier to symbolize God's messenger declaring the power of beauty and of the duty of the artist to create beauty. Collier definitely followed this message in his lifetime as he sewed his books of dreams together into thought-provoking stories which he from the beginning maintained were inspired by God.
Dream of: 06 October 1996 "From Manure To Art"
all art may be traced
back to the creative source
of the universe
I was on my grandparents' Gallia County Farm, down by the long loafing shed which sits at the bottom of the hill behind the Farmhouse. With me was a visitor: the extremely conservative radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh (who at the same time, at least in spirit, resembled a fellow named John Jacobs with whom I had been exchanging dreams on the internet). Rush (who looked as if he were in his early 20s) was my classmate at a school which we were attending together. Having invited him to be my guest at the Farm, I was now showing him around the barn area.
As we walked around to the back of the barn, I pointed out to him a large, swampy area filled with black mud and manure. I also pointed out some large rocks which were arranged in a line through the black muck, and I admonished him to be sure to stay on the rocks and not to step off them. I then walked out ahead of Rush - across the rocks and through the bogey area - to the other side. When I reached firm ground and turned back around to look at him, I saw that Rush was following me, but that he had completely disregarded my directions, and that instead of staying on the rocks, he was blithely marching right through the manure. He did not have a problem at first, and he was able to proceed without difficulty, but suddenly he stepped into the wrong place and right before my eyes he sank all the way up to his waist into the fetid mess. To make matters worse, in his struggle to free himself, he fell over onto his side, so that only his head was still above the mud and manure. He was obviously holding his upper body up with his hand, which had found firm land about a meter below the surface, but he could not push himself up. He could only push himself along through the mess, barely holding his body above the surface, until he reached the edge.
All the while, although I could not clearly hear his voice, I could plainly see that he was angry at me and that he was blaming me for his misadventure. He seemed to be yelling threats at me, and when he finally reached shore, I sensed that he was going to cause me some problem. I turned and headed up the hill to the back of the Farmhouse. Once I had reached the back porch, I stood on the concrete steps and looked back down the slopping hill to the barns, and saw Rush rushing up the hill toward me. I also saw that he had something in his hands which appeared to be a rifle. Realizing that I needed to defend myself, I looked around me for a weapon. I saw some long wooden tobacco sticks(about a meter and a half long and used for hanging tobacco in the barns) which I thought I might use. I also saw a hoe or a mattock, which I thought would make a better weapon, but I really did not want to use a hoe or mattock because I knew with that I might do some serious damage, and I did not really want to hurt him - I just wanted to defend myself. So just as Rush was about to reach me, I picked up one of the tobacco sticks, and prepared to defend myself.
Rush rushed at me and a short one-sided struggle ensued in which I quickly disarmed him and threw him on his back to the ground. I now held the rifle in my hand, and after pinning him down, I pointed it at him, not intending to use it, but to let him know that I was serious. I told him that if he would calm down and cease this ridiculous behavior, I would let him up. He reluctantly acquiesced, and I allowed him to stand up.
Like a little boy, he ran into the Farmhouse, saying that he was going to tell my mother about what had happened. I followed him into the kitchen where I found several people, including a woman who was my mother, sitting at the table. She was a strong, thin woman, in the prime of life - her very presence seemed to demand respect. She listened as Rush began gushing about what had happened and as he tried to fix the blame on me. I quickly joined in, interjecting that Rush had had a gun which he had pointed at me - I however did not mention that I had also pointed the gun at Rush once I had relieved him of it. My mother listened to what we had to say, and then seemed to dismiss the whole matter, as if it were now all settled. Rush could go his way, and I could go mine, and there was nothing else left to resolve.
As the audience before my mother had been taking place, I had noticed that another man was in the kitchen, and that he was doing something which I found quite interesting. Now that I no longer needed to focus on Rush, I turned my attention to the other man, whom I recognized immediately: Bob Dylan. But I did not recognize him from his appearance because he looked nothing like Dylan. Indeed, he looked exactly like Robert DeNiro.
Dylan was hard at work. In front of him stood what looked like a large round table, about a meter and a half in diameter. The top of the table was also quite thick, about eight centimeters thick. Dylan was busy doing something to the top of the table. At first, I thought he must be writing a song on the top, but when I now looked more closely, I saw that he was painting a picture. It seemed as if he had just started, because the only color that he had used so far was a bright strawberry red.
The paint did not really look like paint. It looked more like the sticky icing of a cake. I noticed that as he had spread some of the icing-paint over the top of his table-canvas, some of the paint had dripped down the side of the table. I picked up a dishcloth and wiped part of the paint off the side. Dylan saw what I had done and gave me a severe look. I realized immediately that I should not have wiped the paint off, that the paint was part of Dylan's work, and that he had intended the paint to be there. He quickly began trying to dab more paint onto the area where I had wiped the paint off. Although there was still a smudge where I had wiped off the paint, he mostly succeeded in covering it up, and he did not appear to be angry with my mistake.
In the end, I have little more than intuition to support my proposition that "Dylan" was sent by God into Collier's dreams as "a symbol of an angel of God announcing the need for true artists to create beauty." Although I once again only have evidence but no absolute proof of the hand of God at work in Collier's dreams, I nevertheless seem to sense God at work in delivering messages through both Dylan and Collier. Since the creation of beauty is such a mysterious process, placing God into the formula of creation seems to offer guidance concerning the origin and meaning of beauty.
Dream of:19 June 2001 "Freedom"
the source of meaning
remains so intriguingly
shrouded in darkness
I was walking around a large, warehouse-like room filled with my possessions. Everything appeared to be in storage, waiting to be auctioned off or sold individually. I was a little surprised to see my great-uncle Ray, my great-aunt Jane and my great-aunt Dorothy walking through the room, perusing some of the items. All three looked as if they were in their 50s. After I decided to show them some unusual things which I had accumulated, I walked over to Jane and picked up a fancy, blue book lying on a table. After I pulled the book out of the case in which it was enclosed, I leafed through the pages filled with colorful, Chinese pictures, and pointed out to Jane that this was a book of Chinese art, something the likes of which she had probably never seen.
I felt like talking with Jane, but I did not want to just chit-chat, so I opened with a topic which I thought was important, but about which I figured she probably knew nothing: I asked her if she knew there were approximately 200 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. I could tell from her glazed look that she had no concept of the size of her own galaxy. Trying to put the huge number in some perspective for her, I told her that if there were 200 billion stars in the galaxy, that would mean that there were 80 stars for every person on earth. As an afterthought I thought I might have needed to clarify that I was talking about people who were alive right then, and not all the people who had ever lived. I thought of mentioning that our galaxy was only one of billions or trillions of galaxies, but I saw no need to confuse her further.
My great-aunt Jane looked at me uncomprehendingly. Obviously no one ever talked to her about things like that, but I asked myself why I should not talk about something worthwhile instead of the usual swill to which she was accustomed? Jane blurted out something to the effect that I must value my freedom. I answered, "Yep, and I'm not free."
I appreciated what she had said; she seemed to deduce from my eccentricity that I was much freer than most people, that my life-style afforded me a great deal of freedom. But I knew I was not completely free, and I almost added a line from a Bob Dylan song about how birds are never free of the chains of the skyways, a line I had long esteemed. I repeated the word "freedom" to myself several times and thought about how important it was to me to be free and how seldom I stopped to appreciate my freedom! Yet freedom was essential for me - I needed to be free.
Collier began his dream journal when he was 19 years old, but not until he was in his 60s did he begin to suspect that God had been speaking to him in his dreams and had placed intersecting stories within those dreams. To take a leap and say that in this network of stories, Bob Dylan represents an angel with a message for Collier concerning the creation of literary beauty, is - I admit - a leap of the imagination. Yet I believe that the subject of angels visiting us in our dreams is a worthy one. Look at the shape of the world. Men are clawing against men and many people do not seem to know why they were created and what their task is here on earth. We look for guidance from God and we are bedeviled by our lack of such guidance. At the same time, many people are aware that some form of intelligence - beyond their own conscious intelligence - is designing their dreams. This conscious form of intelligence - The Dream Creator - may be speaking to everyone in their dreams.
Ultimately, with the encouragement of embodied symbols like Bob Dylan, the Dream Creator became the central focus of Collier's life.
And God responded.
Dream of: 23 January 2016 "Best Songwriter"
the source of lyric
poetry must be sentient
While at an event in a big stadium, I hear someone say that Bob Dylan has arrived. I look around and see him standing dressed in an off-white outfit not far from me. He only looks about 40 years old. When I walk toward him, he allows me to step up close. Other people are crowding around, but the crowd is not out of control.
Bob and I start talking as we walk toward my mother and father who are standing nearby. I want to tell him that he is the best "song-singer" that ever lived in America, but "song-singer" does not seem like the right word, and instead I say "songwriter," even as I try to think of an even better word than that. My words just seem to bounce off him. I figure he has probably heard similar comments so many times that they do not affect him. For me, however, being near him like this is extremely exciting.
We hang around together for a while. I even sing a little for him.
He seems to be waiting for something. We walk around outside the stadium until a woman shows up with two bicycles. I figure out that she is the person for whom he has been waiting. He climbs on one of the bicycles, and without saying anything more to me, he just rides off with the woman.
I am disappointed to see him leave, but having been with Bob Dylan for even a short while has certainly been a great pleasure for me.
No astute person can deny that Bob Dylan was a messenger. He is a walking, talking example of the word. The question of whether "Bob Dylan" symbolizes "a divine messenger," however, requires more thought. The issue of whether God even sends any kind of messages to man in any way whatsoever remains unanswered in my mind. I have never seen absolute proof that God even exists, much less absolute proof that God sends messages to men in dreams. I am also not one of those who believes that the existence of God is necessary in order for a man's life to be meaningful. I am certain, however, that my life has no meaning to me unless my life is eternal. Temporay and transient enlightenment means nothing to me without eternal life. Therefore, like many prophets, I believe in eternal life and I try to lay this belief at the base of my physical life. This belief definitely influences that way I interpret dreams.
Dream of: 14 October 2016 "Finding The Stage"
the source of matter
the source of life the source of
art are all the same
I am standing in front of Bob Dylan and two guitar players who are standing on each side of Bob. When someone asks me what I would do if I were they, I reply that I do not know who the two guitar players are, but if I were Bob Dylan, I would play in the place where the most people could hear me.Collier focused on the word "meaning" in his quest to understand the stories in his dreams, and he regarded the interpretation of his dreams as an important tool for understanding the meaning of his dream-stories. Yet Collier acknowledged that the interpretations of dreams - like the dreams themselves - are created by an intelligence and as such - as creations - interpretations do not necessarily represent the actual truth. Collier nevertheless found his interpretations extremely helpful in understanding the meanings of certain objects or personages which appeared in his dreams. Thus I think Collier would smile at the thought that I have interpreted "Bob Dylan" in Collier's dreams to be a symbol of "an angel announcing the glory of art."
Dream of: 06 July 2017 "Trading Security For Art"
god may be the source
of messages and stories
discovered in dreams
Bob Dylan (around 40 years old) and I are in a house with several members of my family and we are all going to go together to another location. Bob walks to the door. Although he intends to go by himself while the rest of us follow, I think I would like to ride along with him since riding with Bob Dylan would be an experience.
Just as he is walking out the door, I ask him if I can go with him, and I am surprised when he says that I can. But as he continues out the door toward his car to leave, I tell him that I must first fetch my clothes which I know are washed and folded in the garage.
I intend to fetch the clothes as fast as I can and then meet Bob at his car. I hope he will wait for a short while, so I will have time to gather everything together and go with him.
I think that "following Bob Dylan" in Collier's dreams can be a metaphor for "listening to the voice of God." To me, a "metaphor" is a "symbol in action." Thus a metaphor is a special kind of symbol. "Following" is an action which can be seen as a metaphor for "listening." It seems to me that this metaphor fits into this context when one realizes that Dylan must have been listening to something when he composed his beautiful songs. I think Collier suspected that God was somehow communicating with Dylan when Dylan composed his songs. Thus it makes sense to me in the context of this story to proclaim that when Collier "follows Bob Dylan" in Collier's dreams, Collier is metaphorically "listening to the voice of God" which in reality may be heard in Dylan's songs.
Dream of: 18 July 2017 "Songs In The Darkness"
since nothingness is
the source of nothing something
I am spending the day with Bob Dylan (probably in his 40s, in the prime of life). We are in a house. I am in one room and he is in the adjoining room. I am on the computer and I am trying to figure out one of his songs to which I have been listening. I am trying to find more information about the song. I am aware that I have not even heard some of his later albums - I do not know how many.
I can hear Dylan singing a new song which he apparently is writing in the next room. I realize that his voice seems like that of an ordinary person and not like the distinctive, crackling voice of Bob Dylan when he sings. I think the sound of his voice is peculiar, but I realize that he is growing older and that he does not have the same voice which he used to have. I realize that he is older than he looks and that he is reaching the end of life.
I know that Dylan has won a Nobel prize, and I think to myself that he is the most famous living songwriter in the United States.
Surprised that I have been able to spend this time with him, I walk into the room where he is. Wondering if I could pay him to spend more time with me on another day, I ask, "Did anybody ever offer you money to be with you?"
Looking surprised that I would even ask such a question, he responds, "No."
I myself am surprised that no one has ever offered him money just to be with him. Spending more time with him would be such an opportunity. I reflect that many famous people like Dylan might spend time with someone who would pay them for their time.
Since it is time to leave, Dylan and I walk outside. We are in a city, but we are atop a hill where there are no other buildings. The top of the hill has no trees - only short, green grass.
I remember arriving here, but it seems to me that we arrived on the other side of the hill from where we are now. As Dylan starts riding a motorcycle down the hill, I think that we need to descend on the other side of the hill, but he continues on down through the trees on this side of the hill. I follow behind him on foot.
The area is pitch black so I cannot see him, but I can hear the humming of his motorcycle in front of me. I continue following along behind him, almost as if I am floating without my feet touching the ground, through the darkness, down the hill, through the trees. I think if I become separated from him that I will not be able to find him in this darkness. He continues on. I figure he must think that I will holler out if we become separated.
It seems that Collier wanted to believe that the voice of God was the most beautiful thing which a person could experience and that God was advising Collier to listen for that voice and put it in writing, just as Collier believed Dylan had listened to the voice of God and had created beauty therefrom. One thing is clear: Collier believed that God spoke to him in his dreams. He found this belief to be of great solace since he must have believed that the presence of God is the most beautiful experience a person can have in life.
I believe that Collier believed that God spoke through Dylan in Dylan's songs. Many poets through history have been regarded as having been inspired by God. The voice of God in poetry - or dreams - is even thought by some to be the greatest evidence that God actually exists, since God seems to insist on keeping God's existence a mystery which begs solution for those attempting to solve the elusive meaning of their lives. Here in Collier's dreams I sense a rather simple message: God is pleased by artists who create beauty.
Dream of: 05 September 2017 "Preparing For The Apocalypse"
the meanings of life
and eternity are quite
While a woman and I are in an outdoors area between Fort Worth and Dallas, I look toward Dallas and see that an atomic bomb has exploded there. Standing in awe as I watch the mushroom cloud rise into the air, I realize that an atomic war has begun. I think that an atomic bomb may next explode in Fort Worth, but nothing happens in that direction.
The area quickly becomes quite chaotic with people running through the streets. Looters are taking over. I realize that the woman and I need to act fast to locate a car and leave this area, but I think we first need to find some provisions.
We seem to be in the parking lot of a building. I find a car - a convertible with the top down. I am unsure that this will be the best car to take, but it is the car that I decide to take at the moment.
Before we leave, however, we go into the apartment building to look for provisions to take with us so that we will have some supplies when we leave here. We find an apartment which is open and we walk inside. After I look around, I see a bunch of old lp record albums lined up in a stack about a meter long. I find one album which has a colorful, artistic, cartoonish cover which I like. I put the album in the front of the stack, then gather up more albums which appeal to me. I find perhaps twenty Bob Dylan albums which I grab and put together. I want to take those, but before I can do so, other people walk into the apartment and start looking through the albums. I stand over to the side and watch as one fellow starts flipping through them.
After I finally manage to pick up the albums which I want, the woman and I leave and enter another apartment where no one is inside. We are on the second floor. We leave and descend to the first floor, then walk down to the basement. A man and woman (probably in their 30s) who are obviously together also enter the basement and they begin gathering up things. They do not bother me. I rather like them and I blurt out, "Guests!"
When I am ready to leave, I suggest that we all stay together, but the man obviously does not want to do that and he shakes his head negatively. I say ok and I move on.
I grab some things, then walk back up the stairs. I see some android cell phones lying on the stairs. The phones appear to have been left behind because they are broken. Nevertheless, I grab the phones and stick them in my pocket.
Also lying on the stairs are three imperfectly formed, bright copper arrowheads. Since I like the looks of the arrowheads, I also grab them and stick them in my pocket.
Just as I reach the top of the stairs, a man (probably in his 30s) walks in. I figure that this must be his apartment and that he is probably going to attack me, but he walks past me and walks down the stairs.
Carrying the things which I have picked up, I head toward the door.
Since I have still not yet even been able to prove that God communicates to humans in dreams, I obviously have not been able to conclude positively and absolutely that God spoke to mankind through Collier's dreams.
I experience an intense struggle when I try to resolve this question one way or the other. It is simple. Did God speak to mankind through Collier's dreams?
I have to finally collapse and say that I believe there is a greater possibility that God spoke to mankind through Collier's dreams than that God did not speak to mankind.
Perhaps more than anything else in life, hearing the voice of God ever more clearly is the most important.
by Frank Whitfield
08 November 2087
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