The Surrealist Portfolio – Account of a dream

Student coursework for the module Surrealism: Myth And Modernity (2020/2021), 2nd/3rd year elective

Account of a dream

by Kit Bula-Edge


The Dream

A high stress environment. There are girls in neon bikinis and boys in swimming trunks; in my jaw aches I can feel the crystalline aqua stream levitating. I swim round a corner, my ex-teacher is 102 years old, we chat: “this whole thing is new, are you going?” I feel angry, all I hear are the words “theme park”. In front of the lockers I see middle-aged women drying themselves; they look creased … // Round a bend, the water is a dirty old concrete plinth and a sheer drop into slippery rocks (the tide is out). There’s a little boy in yellow swim shorts and a red life jacket, he’s holding his dad’s hand and looking around. I imagine he’s me.

We queue in front of a large muddy pool.

After the muddy pool is a huge symmetrical building, it’s built from the red brick (popular in British 1960’s academic architecture). The building resembles a person lying face down on a table, their arms outstretched, hands as fists: big towers. Broad concrete steps lead up to their head. There’s a throb of people around the entrance.

Young men in yellow outfits watch the queue (they’re in charge). They laugh. If this were real life they wouldn’t be much older than me. Regardless I feel intimidated, excluded, jealous (of their power?); I want to be nasty to them. They design a contest, the winner gets a cylindrical cake. I’m up against a bunch of Basics;1 through nastiness I win. I never win. I feel the arrogant joy, tinged with the shame of cheating, that I haven’t felt since I was a child. I am the best: I have the cake. // I offer it to someone (nastily), or they try to take it, somehow this becomes a fracas.

Inside the building. Later. A dirty-blonde-ish, prim, intelligent looking (but ultimately basic) woman (nearing middle-age) asks me not to tell anyone about the fracas. I laugh at her, she’s a bitch. I don’t look at her, instead I watch the attractive boys and girls (semi-nude, in swimming attire) coming out of the doors behind us. They’re soaking wet and joyous. I find the girls pretty, but only because I’m bored. I hope they find me pretty; I doubt they find me pretty. // I do a half-smile to The Bitch. // I’m too short and not very athletic, I look younger than I am, the length of my hair can make my face look fat. The girls that are actually pretty have strangely organised features … I anxiously await entering the doors behind me, entering “the game”. As I wake up I realise there are hordes of white twitching clammy bodies breathing in the dark. In the soup of the morning I think “this is an example of [compressed reality]”.2


Retrospectively the dream is more akin to a nightmare because of my intense aggression towards almost every dream-character, aside the little boy.

Aggression is most often directed towards entities we wish to evade but have no other methods for evasion. I have recurring insecurities regarding my musical-literary abilities (I write less than I would like to and what I do write is frequently non-standard in relation to mainstream music and literature), overcoming these insecurities is a case of uncomfortably waiting until a sufficient change in my creative output occurs.

These insecurities are something I wish to evade but have few methods for evading, hence I turn to aggression. These creative-insecurities explain the characters’ presence in the dream.

The teacher (who is 102) was the first person (beside my parents) to encourage me to write; writing led me into creative activity on the whole. In the dream my aggression towards the teacher represents a shifting of blame: without her encouragement I would not create and would not be insecure. In tandem with this, the little boy (whom I imagine is me) represents a longing to return to life before I became creatively active. Consciously, I never want to cease creating.

The attractive boys and girls represent my peers, engaged in mainstream creativity. Their attractive-ness represents the so-called “beauty” of mainstream creativity. I am not as attractive as, and overlooked by the boys and girls because I don’t engage in mainstream creativity. Consciously, my creative-individuality makes me proud, nonetheless the boys and girls represent a subconscious fear that I am simply not as talented as my peers.

Recurring throughout the dream is the middle-aged woman character type. I.e. many middle-aged women appear in the changing rooms; the middle-aged business woman (AKA ‘The Bitch’) confronts me.

Consciously I have nothing against middle-aged women, but in the dream I am repulsed by, and dismissive toward, all of the characters of this type. I believe this is because the middle-aged women represent the brusque conformist professional (which may be male or female) frequently exemplified (in my life) by middle-aged women. I hope my dream-aggression towards middle-aged women is a result of this dislike and not the result of residual sexism towards professional women.

These professional people will never enjoy the products of my creativity (because of their inflexible mainstream-minds), thus perpetuating my subconscious fear that I am untalented in relation to the mainstream, as that is what I must strive toward to impress them.

1Typically boring people that conform to a status quo. // Incidentally, “being basic” is the contemporary equivalent of the bourgeois; the Basics are Sartre’s actor’s in bad faith; Rand’s looters; Breton’s imbeciles; Nietzsche’s slaves.

2 For some months before this dream I was fascinated by an inexplicable idea that I found (unintentionally) exemplified by Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and online gaming videos. (Hesitatingly I call it “compressed reality”, but when I think the idea it remains unnamed.) I also see glimmers of the idea in Deleuze’s metaphysical monism. I hoped to find the idea in Bataille’s base materialism, he comes close: on reading The Pineal Eye the idea seemed clearer. Perhaps the link is Spinoza.