Most of my dreams are event-driven, like small motion pictures or scenes from books.

Occasionally, however, I’ll have odd prophetic-type dreams, like a Ken Russel dream sequence, the Red Room, or a scene from Carnivàle.

One was from the edges of my earliest memories. I was around Betty’s age. I was at a big dining room table, and there was a little naked red man who wanted me to eat dinner with him. If I did, I would have everything I ever wanted. I suddenly realized that this would be a bad idea and ran. “Come back!” he shouted, “Come back!” The screams were hideous, but also pitiful. I got the intense feeling that he wanted me to come back because he was incredibly lonely. Then I woke up.

Later, when I was ten or eleven, I had a dream that a person who was sort of like a movie director wanted me to portray, “The Boy Who Could Make People Do Anything.” I declined, because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it. She said that if I didn’t take this role, I’d have to play the king who dies for other people when I got older. “Jesus?” I asked. “No,” she said. “King Arthur, and you won’t have a choice.” I woke up shortly thereafter.

When I was in my early teens, I had a dream that my adopted father was reading out of the Bible on a high dais. I don’t remember exactly what the words said, but they ended with, “…farewell Paul Gude.” After that night, I no longer experienced the tremendous dread I normally felt if I didn’t say my prayers. I had created an intensely intricate series of prayers that I had to say before I went to sleep, more complex and demanding than any normal child’s prayer. The cessation of this was an incredible relief.

I haven’t had a dream like that in a while, which is why I was surprised to have one last night.

In the dream, I was going to see a person who was either an oracle or a wizard. In the dream there was a distinction, but the person who was taking me didn’t know which the person was.

The idea was simple. I would hold out my hand, and he would place something within it. On this thing would be written my secret word, the word equivalent of a spirit animal, one that would help define me.

I don’t remember the exchange, but I remember holding the object in my hand. It was a rectangle, maybe an inch or an inch and a half on each side. On it was written a single word:


I woke up and reflected on this for a few minutes before Betty came into the room and jumped on me.

I have drive and execution, but rarely purpose. This isn’t a word I would have picked for myself.

Maybe that’s why I think it’s meaningful.


About paulgude

Paul Gude writes small books, makes stupid music, draws silly pictures, and does weird things on stage.
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One Response to Purpose

  1. Laurie says:

    I’m so glad there are other people who carry vivid memories of significant dreams. I remember dreams I had throughout my life, beginning when I was 7. My husband claims to not remember a single dream he’s ever had, beginning with last night’s. This bothers me a little.

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