I don’t have a shrink. I have a blog. Times are hard. It will have to do…

I’ve noticed that I’m dreaming more than normal, which is odd given how I’m also drinking too much caffeine. I should really be awake half the night. I also know that dreaming is usually a good indicator of my creativity (I’ve searched for research on this phenomenon but never found any). If I dream, I can work. If I sleep poorly and don’t dream, my brain is mush the next day and I can never think of a thing to write or draw.

Perhaps it’s because I’m more exhausted. Despite the lockdown – or, rather, I suppose, because of the lockdown – I’m working more, especially in the evening when I used to relax. Beyond all my carer duties, the days I usually spend writing (today I’ve already finished a 1000-word article on US politics) and the nights I’m trying to improve my cartooning skills, though I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve just noticed that lunchtime has passed and today is the 21st. That was the deadline for cartoonists accepted for this edition of Private Eye to have heard if their cartoons have been used. I didn’t, therefore I haven’t. I don’t know why I even try. I’ve been sending cartoons, on and off, for ten years and never had one accepted. (Yes, I know… I must be really really shit!)

But I digress. Back to the other kind of inexplicable dream.

I’m dreaming more but nearly always about travel. Last night, I was on my way to Wales but in a jumbo jet that was essentially a train. It was on the ground for much of the dream but, at one exciting point, we went down an off-road bank, leapt a small gully (which I remember is crazy detail), and then sped across a field before we took off. I was heading to New York where I was due to meet Kate McKinnon (watched her in a Netflix special last night). That’s when I woke up. Never did get to New York. Never did meet Kate McKinnon. Dreams, like life, are crap that way.

The train/jumbo symbology is clearly my real-life fighting with my subconscious. I often dream about going places like New York and meeting the comedians I most admire (often in dreams I’m a Python and once I was Tony Hancock). I never get there, of course, largely because I always travel by train. Hence, the trains in my dreams are really airliners, the airliners really trains.

And Wales? I have no interest in going to Wales except I think that was probably my last trip out, taking my sister for an op in Wrexham.

Also on the train/jumbo were my neighbours, trying to get their bags out of storage as the train/jumbo waited at our destination. The driver got fed up waiting so he pressed a button that made the wing swing down and slap my neighbours hard on the arse. Yes, slapstick! Sometimes my dreams are that funny and/or vengeful. I often wake up laughing.

Then there’s the virus. Lately, nearly every dream involves social distancing. I’m constantly aware that I shouldn’t be out. My dreams, then, are both about my wish to travel and meet interesting people whilst at the same time fearing travel and people, so I wake up glad to be home. Which perhaps makes the lockdown easier. And, honestly, I’m not struggling like some. Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent years training myself to have no life, work from my desk, enjoy books, films, the odd game, almost no money, in a town where almost nothing goes on. Some days I think about shaving off my beard just for the excitement. I only grew it to see if I could. Now, it feels like an admission that I’m stuck with this face, these dreams, and this scarcity of talent. It also covers up the terrible fact that before life went crazy, I was due to get a tooth fixed. It means I have a gap which is awful and shameful. I’ve become one of *those* people that people laugh at in Netflix documentaries about tiger people…

All of which is a depressing way to end but its another day when even my very tiny dream was thwarted. Until I get a cartoon published somewhere, I genuinely think I’m a failure as a cartoonist. I’ll eventually post the two rejected cartoons here. And, obviously, it won’t count!

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