Serpentine Walls Release Party #4 — On The Couch

October 30, 2013

Welcome again to the party.  We’re having cake and talking about Serpentine Walls.

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. My stories often contain some psychological themes and Serpentine Walls is no exception.

The character in Serpentine Walls who stands in for my psychotherapist side is John Borden, Pete’s best friend from childhood. John is a psychology major and is studying the work of Carl Jung, who was a famous Swiss psychiatrist and friend of Sigmund Freud.

Here’s Jung. Ain’t he cute?

Archetypes, extrovert/introvert, collective unconscious – all are concepts developed by Jung. John talks to Pete about “animus projection” in the story, which would take a whole other post to explain.

So let’s talk about dreams. Both Jung and Freud were interested in dreams and the messages that they convey. Pete mentions a few of his dreams in the book. Here’s one:


Jogging down the sidewalk, Pete let the rhythmic pounding lull him into a meditative state. The wind kicked up, and a fragment of a dream he’d had the night before drifted into his mind.

He’s outside his house, but he’s lost his key and can’t get in. Now he’s inside, standing in the foyer. All of the furniture is unfamiliar. Adults in black mourning clothes are in the hallway, and they say, “We’re sorry for your loss.” His eyes fill with tears and he keeps groping in his pocket for the key, but it’s not there.

Pete wiped the sweat from his forehead. Freud could do something with that. No, Jung. John was forever spouting Jungian theory. He’d have to tell him this one—John loved to analyze his dreams.

I’ve got an analysis. Life sucks. Nothing lasts. People are shitheads and leave you in the end. Like Dad.


I think Pete’s friend John might come up with a more positive analysis.

Dreams are amazing. They sometimes seem bizarre but they are the avenue through which our unconscious mind comments on and works through life events.

Pete’s dream shows that he’s mourning the loss of his old life where his family was together. But it also shows the presence of “adults in black mourning clothes” who sympathize with him. These are helpful figures, an aspect of Pete’s unconscious that is there to support him.

When you study your dreams, you can get much information about yourself that isn’t available through your waking mind.  So here comes the question:

Have you had dreams, good or bad, which stuck with you or made an impact on your life? I’d love to hear about them.

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Breaking Birthday Present News!  I just heard from those awesome folks at Dreamspinner that EVERYONE gets gifts!  With the code CJaneBlog you’ll get 25% off all of my books and all Coming of Age books in the Dreamspinner Store. It’s good until 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, November 1!

6 Responses to “Serpentine Walls Release Party #4 — On The Couch”

  1. Gene says:

    I’ll tell you something quirky about my dreams. Sometimes I’ll repeat a dream I had as a child. When I wake up, I remember having experienced the dream many years ago. My favorite repeated dream was learning that I could fly! All I had to do was put my arms out in front of me, grit my teeth really hard, and I would zoom to near the ceiling and effortlessly fly around! If only it would really happen…

  2. CJane Elliott says:

    Gene, a lot of people have recurring dreams. I always wonder if there’s some message that the unconscious is trying to give. Also, flying dreams! How cool. I love how in dreams we are free in ways we aren’t in our waking life.

  3. JJ says:

    Two occasional, recurring dreams are about me rushing from class to class in high school, sometimes I can’t remember my locker’s combination (horrors so I can’t open it), or not remembering my schedule and not knowing which class to go to in college.

  4. Carolyn says:

    I love dreams. One of my brothers and are are vivid dreamers, while the other brother is not. I always feel bad about that because I love having such a rich dream life. There are several dreams that have stayed with me, and I even had a recurring dream as a child about a witch who drove a motorcycle and would drive me up my bedroom wall. The dreams that mean the most to me are the ones I’ve had since my mom died. Both my brother and I have had several dreams where we get to talk to her or just have her part of our life again. Sometimes she’s very young, and sometimes she’s just at the age when she passed. I always know in the dream that she’s gone, but that’s what makes it even more special because in my dream, I know what a gift I’m getting being able to talk to her, even if it’s about nothing special at all, or even kind of weird in the context of what’s going on in the rest of the dream.

  5. CJane Elliott says:

    JJ, that is such a common theme in dreams — that “feeling unprepared” theme. When I have one of those, I ask myself if there’s anything currently in my life that I’m feeling unprepared about.

  6. CJane Elliott says:

    Carolyn, that’s so beautiful that you get to visit with your mother in your dreams. She is a part of you that lives on.

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