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Most of my dreams prior to the 1980s are included in my daily journals and my trip journals.

I'd had recurrent dreams from very young times. What follows is taken from my Short Fiction "Dreams," written very long ago.

Everyone has, at one time or another, heard about the legendary Sandman. At an early age I had my own Sandman. One of the earliest recollections I have of my childhood was a conversation with my mother. I told her, or rather asked her, if she had ever seen the Mymphs. She thought I meant nymphs, which I didn't, and said no. I was rather disappointed, because I wanted to share my wonderful Mymphs with others. I have never actually attempted to describe them to anyone before. I really don't think I can do that even now that I am older; however, I shall try.

At a very early age I was falling into the habit of insomnia. I couldn't go to sleep even if I tried my darndest! I would lay, and toss, and turn, and think of the oddest things. It would simply be impossible to fall asleep. What would I do? I would conjure up my Mymphs. By shutting my eyes --- not hard, just enough to keep out the light --- and concentrate, a strange darkness would fall over my mind's eye, and weird patterns would be formed. A cloud of grayish vapor would rise and center in my brain, then it would turn to a deep, intense, blue. I'm positive that no crayon or paint could quite equal its vividness. A latticework of criss-crossing lines of fiery red would then center on the blue background, and in the middle of each red-orange square there would appear minute silver sparks --- starlike in their size and brilliance. These would fade, and then myriads of motes, ranging from yellow to orange, would fly helter-skelter around like a colored snowstorm. This would fade in turn and would be replaced by the standard sleep-arouser: particles of deep, deep flashing yellow would appear on a greenish black background, upon which were placed an infinitesimal grain or purest black. The dots would rush back and forth in a bewildering manner, too rapidly for the mind to follow. At this point in the vision I could open my eyes in the darkness of my bedroom and see the Mymphs transposed on the bedspread, the curtains, the door, or anywhere I happened to look, except in the bright light. The final dotting would last for some time, two or three seconds, while the preliminary flashings would change faster that I could ever follow. Immediately after this display of mental fireworks, sometimes even during it, I would fall into a deep slumber, not to awaken until the alarm.

How I thought of the name Mymphs for them, I'll never know. As a matter of fact, when I first heard the word "nymph" mentioned, I was instantly reminded of my vision. The spelling in itself is not exactly as I have put it down. In my mind I know the sound that it has, and that is enough. It is somewhat more like "mympTs" or mymNTptHs" than MympHs, but it is more easily recognized when I spell it the latter way.

Lately I have accustomed myself to the hypnotic effect of the whirling, flashing bits of color. I do not immediately fall asleep once seeing the illusion. I have finished seeing them on many nights. The main display dies away slowly and is taken place by a foglike grayishness that seems to be moving in much the same way as the rest of it, only more slowly and sluggishly. A few times I have even conjured them up a second time. I have not yet needed a third time but, as the "kick" in a drug looses its "punch" through repeated use, I can see that in the near future I may have need of a third or even fourth time. I can imagine that with complete maturity I may lose my strange powers of self-hypnosis altogether, and I will never have the urge to write about it again. So, I write and finish it now, while it is still fresh in my memory.

Another remark often made about dreams is that the same dream is never repeated. This is not true both of my "Bridge" and "Fun House" dreams.
The Bridge is always approached on a steep hill, which the auto in which I am riding always has a hard time climbing. Suddenly, an Erector Set fantasy looms above us, looking vaguely like a garage grease rack, with two narrow tracks for the wheels and a dizzy, gaping expanse of nothingness between the tracks, which are too far apart to risk crossing, but too narrow by inches for the car to go between. Stuck in this dilemma, the driver can only back down the increasingly steep hill. The road mysteriously gets narrower and narrower, until, as it careens around a curve, the road completely converges to a point at a stunted, leafless tree. The car balances precariously for an instant at the brink of the precipice, and then the noiseless, frightening "dream-fall" shocks me into wakefulness.

Even more common than the "Bridge" fantasy is the terrifying "Fun House." I have always been terrified by fun-houses, and I wonder what came first, my fear of them, or the dream of them. I come into unreality wandering in an inky blackness. As a great fear overcomes me, I go off on a side passage to the right; a blaze of colored whirls seems to transport me to another dimension, and I am standing before a door, vaguely translucent, surrounded by a smoky gray glow. I push open the door and find myself surrounded by a semi-transparent, incredibly thin and ghostlike beings. They soundlessly mill around me in the grayish haze, ending by conducting me to a gray rocking chair, in which I am seated. Surrounded by a completely gray room I am instantly aware of a fishbowl beside me, in which is swimming the most-exotically-colored fish imaginable. I wake in a great fear, the startling fish-image still floating in my mind's eye. I smile when psychologists say that color in dreams is impossible. One day I will show them my fish.

Two additional descriptions of the same dreams, written later, follow:

Me, or someone, is driving a car up a winding mountain road, dirt ledges falling away on the right, and up on the left, and we round a corner and there before us is a metal construction entirely blocking the road. There seem to be people around, which makes the nervousness more extreme, but the car is too narrow to fit onto the trestle tracks, and I (who seem to be driving at this point) decide to go between the tracks and pass under the trestle, but the people wave me away: the car doesn't fit that way, either. So, with the characteristic arm flung backward over the seat, my Dad, who is NOW driving, backs down the road, which gets narrower and narrower, until I, now somehow outside the car, can see it bend around the curve to a point that vanishes into the cliff face. There is the scrabble of tires on a few pebbles, which fall off before we do, but then the car falls too, very slowly, so that I have the hope, though I can only move agonizingly slowly, as if the atmosphere were glue, that I can get the Lincoln Log set out and open, and build just the "right kind" of structure to cushion our fall when we finally hit the bottom. But I can't find the long base pieces, and we fall while I frantically try to build the right kind of house (what does THAT mean? That I felt some responsibility for the lousy state of OUR household?).

Then there was the funhouse---I remember the Pretzel Ride at Summit Beach, and was terrified by it---would ride through without opening my eyes, but being terrified by the bumps and smell and closeness and noise---and the walk-through one was even worse. But the worst by far was Noah's Ark at Euclid Beach, looking safe enough in its huge (THAT'S one of my EARLIEST toys---NOW I remember, that was one I always liked, with the boat, and the animals formed from two pieces of wood which could be bent apart to allow them to stand, and I'd line them up according to size---I seem to remember mice or flies as the smallest, and I couldn't decide whether elephants, which were the biggest, or giraffes, which were the tallest, should go last---and parade them into the ark. I guess that's where the idea of lining up the picture puzzle pieces and parading them into the BOX came from: from that Noah's Ark set. That's by far the earliest toy I can definitely remember) green hull and red cabin, barn-like, on top, with the cow and hippo and giraffe and ostrich looking out the portholes. We went through some small section before walking up the ramp to the cabin, and somehow the cabin, though brightly lit, was terrifying. There was a green wooden chair-swing which I had the dreadful certainty would tip completely over, pouring me into the dark basement, if I even set foot on it. Dad tried to get me onto it, laughing at my fear, but I screamed and refused. In that state, I wouldn't even sit on the ostrich, because I feared it, too, would somehow go through the floor, even though I couldn't see how it possibly could. Then there was a door leading again down, and there was the floor that bumped and the floor that slipped sideways, and even the stairs that jumped as you went downward. Then there were dark passages, and I remember being separated from everyone, and I wandered along in the total darkness, then saw a movement beside me, and there was a mirror, and my frightened face stared back at me, then we were outside, and I felt an enormous relief, and the knowledge that I'd never go through THERE again. Based, I think, on this experience was the recurring "Fun House" dream, where I would go into a bottom area much the same way as into Noah's Ark (amazing how significant Noah's Ark is!), but again I'd get separated, and I'd wander through crumbling dark hallways, and there'd be the same heat and closeness and stuffiness, and though I couldn't smell it in the dream, I KNEW there was the same hot greasy smell of machinery working behind the walls and under the floors, and the men who watched as unsuspecting passersby came near their holes so they could shake the floor or blow the air jets up when they least expected, or most feared, them. Then there was smoke, and an explosion of colors and lights, and I knew something had gone wrong and I was hopelessly lost. Again there were shadows of mirrors, but I was the only presence, until at the end of the pitchy hall there was a door slightly ajar, and around the cracks showed a faint, smoky, yellow-gray light. I reached out my hand and pushed the door open, and suddenly I was in the middle of the room full of the odd, thin, white, transparent, hillbilly people in the old cartoon for some motor oil---long faces with featureless black eyes, black stringy beards and funny large hats, and one hugely fat woman with a full skirt over her bulging hips. I was terrified of these silent---no, they weren't silent, they were whispering too quietly for me to understand what they were saying---people, and groped my way across the room to a foggily-transparent armchair, into which I sank as into a sort of safe haven. Then through the gray-yellow light I looked down at my elbow, and there on an end table next to the chair was a fishbowl, small and round, and in the fishbowl was a single fish showing every color in the world on its skin as it swam back and forth. At the same time the fish was the most reassuring and the most terrifying thing in the world, and at the moment of seeing the fish, I would wake, half terrified and half relieved.