My first reaction is to try to dredge every last scrap from the recall bin, as I make my way down the hallway to the bathroom. What happened after the house fell down the cliff? Who was that person in the three story car? Oh right, my grade ten English teacher. Can I put names to the other faces? Where was the last scene?
Step two is trying to decipher the dream. On the way back down the hall I try to remember what recent event in my life could possibly have led to the confrontational, confused or guilt overtones to the plot. What lingering angst from my grade ten year could have my English teacher leaving his three storey car to ride a zebra striped elephant while sitting on a purple howdah?
Step three is trying to organize the dream according to my edits. Maybe if I fall back asleep I can find that dream again and change it to my satisfaction. I do want it to have a plot. As a writer, I expect my dreams to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Oh, and I like to be director as well.
But, it doesn't work like that. It's like real life in a way. You can't go back and change the story line no matter how much you'd like to hit rewind and take back the embarrassing comments you made at the last staff party. Or go back to this morning and remember to watch that last step before you land on your posterior at the bottom of the stairs, bathed in three Timmie's Double-Doubles.
When you watch a movie for the second time, do you ever get the feeling that if you just screamed loudly enough, this time Tiffany wouldn't go into the woods alone? The old Dick Van Dyke show (this dates me, I know) used to have an opening sequence where Dick would return home and trip on the step into the sunken living room. Even after a dozen episodes, I kept willing Dick to make it safely down the step this time.
But it didn't work in the dream, it doesn't work for Dick and it doesn't work in life. You can't go back again. Doesn't keep us from trying though, does it?