a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Mattress and the Monkey

So the night after I wrote yesterday's saddo post, I had a really strange dream.

(Bear with me. I usually hate people's dreams too. But I usually don't remember mine, and hell, this one relates. I think. And it's my subconscious, which can use a bit of exploration.)

So in the dream, I'm back at my parents house on Long Island, only of course it's not how it is now, it's a blend of now and the years I grew up there, when the landscape was different -- among other things, there was a big open field behind the house, where we used to play endless softball.

And at the end of the field, if you hit it too far (which we never really did; the damn field was pretty much the perfect size for the length of our longest hits, provided that we didn't pull the ball into the houses) is a swamp. It's a small swamp, and pretty inconsequential; we used to roam around in it, the water is never deep at all, and there are no alligators. Though I did step on a wasp's nest back there when I was about 14, and was stung 18 times.

But I digress.

Anyhow, in the dream, somehow my wife and I get roped into taking part in a race, which in the dream is some big thing. It's basically around the neighborhood, which in the real world is probably 1/4 mile max, but in the dream is about 4. There's two other couples taking part in the race as well.

The catch is, as part of the race, you have to lug around a mattress. And a monkey.

I'm not sure what the mattress represents, other than the fact that they are cumbersome without ever being all that heavy. The monkey? I dunno. Kids, maybe. Except we don't have any (which makes me automatically ineligible to whine about ever being busy, I know).

So the race starts, and we're both lugging the mattress, and the monkey must be around somewhere, and we're keeping up, and then we fall behind. One of the other teams takes the path between the swamp and the houses (there was one); the other team tries to brave the middle of the swamp.

Not wanting to get stuck in the swamp behind them, we take the road around the swamp.

Only it quickly becomes clear that as a short cut it sucks. My wife is getting tired, the monkey doesn't want to be held, we're not making much progress, and again in this dream world it's a long, long road. Clearly we've lost the race. So we stop for lunch, we chat with a friend, we relax, and then we head on.

I'm carrying the mattress by myself. My hand is covered in blood, but the mattress feels lighter now. My wife has the monkey.

We get to the finish line, and learn we won the race. $200 prize (it's a random detail; I don't know what it means). I have no idea what happened to the other teams, though they are looking sad; maybe the swamp got them.

And then I wake up.

This might be the most important detail of all. I'm a night person; after my wife goes to bed at 10 (she gets up at 5:30, and has a 7-4 job she just started a few months ago) I usually work (reading/writing coverage) until 12:30-1:00, then crash in front of the TV for about half hour before going to bed and waking up at 9:00 and starting all over again.

Only this morning, it's 7:30. After typing this post, it's 7:50.

So now I'm going to go boot up that laptop, and wrassle with my script for an hour or so. Pick your metaphor. Maybe I've escaped the mattress early this morning, or maybe the point is that as obstacles go, carrying a mattress is really not the most daunting one.

Or maybe the point is not trying to fight your way through the swamp, but to take the more enjoyable route, but make sure you always keep moving for the finish line anyway (I'd say there was a tortoise and the hare element to the whole dream, though then again we did stop for lunch, which seems like a hare thing).

Maybe it's just my subconscious pissed off that I'm not writing, and it's throwing its shit at me. Like a monkey.

Though I think the monkey in the dream had a leash and a diaper.

I'm going off to write now.


At 8:20 AM, Blogger Brett said...


1) You have a monkey, but he's not on your back, therefore you are free to do as you please.

2) You have escaped the mattress monster.

3) Your friends have all chosen different paths, and it all starts with decisions and interests from childhood.

4) Your wife might well be pregnant.

For this Dream Interpretation service, I charge the standard rate of 200 dollars, which, as luck would have, you just won in this very dream.

Please see the cashier on your way out, and thank you for playing.


Dr B

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Twixter Scripter said...

All this is according to

To see a mattress in your dream signifies that you will have new responsibilities and duties that will need your attention for a short time.

To see a monkey in your dream, symbolizes deceit people are working to advance their own interest. Monkeys also symbolize a playful and mischievous side of your own personality or an immature attitude.

To see a swamp in your dream, symbolizes aspects of yourself that are repressed and dark. You may be feeling insecure. The dream may also be a pun on feeling swamped from work, a relationship, or other emotional burden.

To dream that you are in a race, signifies that others are envious of your achievements and want it for themselves. If you win the race, then it denotes that you will overcome your competitors. Alternatively, this dream may also be an indication for you to slow down or take a different course in life. Often this dream can reveal your competitive nature and how you tend to measure yourself against others.


This research was interesting. Now I know why I always have that dream about my teeth crumbling in my mouth. I guess it's extremely common.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger KeithD said...

My god. I had the EXACT same dream two weeks ago. Except my monkey's name was Pete.

Thanks to Brett and Twixter Scripter I now know what it means (and without having to pay a $200 fee, no less).

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erm, read your previous post.

My take on your dream - your subconscious is telling you that you WILL win. Even though you're swamped with work and don't want to slog through it, you'll get that mattress (script) to the finish line sooner than you think. Your wife is the support for the financial aspect(monkey) that you'd rather not think about (you didn't know where it was in the beginning). Blood on your hand and the heaviness of the mattress is just a symbol for the effort you know it will take, but you accept that in the dream, too.

The best part of the dream is that you took time out for lunch and still won - so I take that to mean that you needn't pressurise yourself into missing out on life.

Your dream basically means that you're on the right path and not to worry.

Shell :)

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Belzecue said...

... and one day you'll wake up from THIS dream and realise you are Charlie Kaufman [grin].

At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Barbara W. Klaser said...

So maybe you're taking the long way around and it seems impossible, but you'll win anyway.

The mattress makes me think about how I've often considered my need for sleep to be the biggest obstacle to getting more good writing done. But the time we spend sleeping is when our minds work at simmering all that good stuff in our subconscious into something worth while. Creativity requires plenty of sleep. So while it seems on the surface to be a major waste of time, something that slows us down, it is imperative to get enough. Unfortuntely creative people also tend toward insomnia, so I have trouble getting enough sleep even though I don't have to get up to an alarm clock.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger A. M. said...

This dream sounds very positive. Look at all the positive interpretations!

Remember the blood on your hands? You gotta work and write that script.

Then you'll sleep like a baby once you get the 200 Grand against who-knows-how-much. And your wife is at your side the whole time, that's nice, too!

How did it go today? Feeling a tad better?

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Chris (UK Scriptwriter) said...

Can't be any help in explaining you dream (others seem to have that covered), but are you sure you aren't related to Salvador Dali ;)

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Yeah. Knocked out 4 pages this morning. Felt good.

I'm thinking that maybe my problem is that I hadn't recently been a morning person, so I never wrote in the morning. But now that I'm taking care of my sugar and sleeping better, I tend not to be as wired at night, and so I get a better night's sleep, and thus I'm more alert in the AM.

So maybe the morning writing thing will work. At the minimum, if I carve out an hour or so to write in the morning, I won't have to obsess about it the rest of the day, or worry about writing when I'm tired, and since all my focus will then be on my reading work, it'll get done too.

Seems so easy and obvious in retrospect.

So we'll see. So far so good.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger Abe Burnett said...

Man, I love random posts like these--it's one of the reasons I read your blog.

As for your dream, I actually thought that the mattress should be interpreted as sleep--plain and simple. Sleep is the burden we all carry, which makes the race of life that we run a little more challenging. It's something that you can't put down, or get rid of, and it has a handy way of getting in the way. In other words, it's exactly like your mattress...not so heavy as just annoyingly cumbersome. T

The monkey is all the shit in life that you can't forsee, which is uncontrollable, mischevious, and generally a pain in the butt. It's also somewhat cute, meaning that you can see the benefit of even the annoying things.

Overall, the dream is pointing out that you'll achieve the satisfaction you desire in life if you heed the overview it's given you. I note that this post followed quickly on the heels of your post about being "that guy." I think that's signifigant. You dream is pointing out that you've taken a route which turned out to be a shitty shortcut, but which is/will provide a lot of satisfaction along the way--lunch, friendship, etc. It's also reassuring you that even though it may not seem like it, when you're off on your "shitty shortcut," you'll eventually find yourself back on track and somehow crossing the finish line and winning. It also confronts you with the reality that perhaps some of your friends won't be happy when you make it and they don't...and may be jealous.

On the whole it sounds like a very worthwhile dream. Thanks for sharing it.

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

I think your back is telling you that you need a new bed (maybe I nice Tempurpedic), and your wallet is telling you that an extra $200 would be real nice. And your screenplay is telling you that if you don't work on it, someone (or something) else will, and you won't like the results.

So unless you want your Supernatural Thriller to be penned by one Curious George, I suspect you should get out of your broke-ass bed and do some writing.

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Joshua said...

An hour in the morning, make it the first priority, then you won't have to worry about it later - I think you're on the right track -

I used to be able to stay up late and write (and can still do it from time to time) but now I find mornings to be the best, plus there are no phone calls or emails at five in the AM. Try it for a few months, I think you'll dig it.

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Dave Olden said...

I have long believed that dreams are communication to us, from us, in our own language, a visual/metaphorical language.

And highly personal.

I'm just tossing this out here, and it may be just me, but monkey a nickname for a writer, isn't it?

And, if this was a movie, and I saw the "blood on the hands" I'd translate it right away as symbolic of "responsibility..."

My 2ยข

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do screenwriter's dream in 3 act structure?

I sincerely expected your dream story to be propelled to a conclusive epiphany where you drop the pretensions of denial and accept that like your ape child companion you are indeed a monkey - a crafty spec monkey.

And with the help of your beloved wife, the thing which you bleed for and alternately drag, curse at, and nurture, are the stories within you.

Did the mattress have a WGAwest reg # on it's non-removable tag?


I thought so.

At 4:34 PM, Anonymous jason said...

Not that you asked but here's my take. It's a little personal. The most interesting thing about the dream is that the mattress was LIGHTER when your wife was not helping to carry it. Which I DON"T think means that her help is worthless but that you would rather carry your own burden which is your quest to make a living as a screenwriter. You are working hard which is your bleeding hand.

You are literally carrying around the bed you made for yourself(old metaphors turned into reality is very common). Meanwhile whether or not she says it, you believe that she wants kids(the monkey) but that the insecure nature of your profession prevents it. This is what you think she thinks.

You know there are no shortcuts to take(even though you see all your friends going in different directions) and if she could just(in your mind) relax and believe in you, you will get to the finish line and the reward will be a lot of money, and kids at the end.

In reality, she probably doesn't have any of these thoughts and they are just coming from your own insecurities...

)r maybe you just ate too late that night.

At 9:01 AM, Blogger Systemaddict said...

Nothing better than an hour of writing a day to keep the self loathing away...I don't put stalk in Dreams..though I probably should.

Hope you keep winning the races mate...



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