A Brief Philosophy of Dreams, A Hundred Years Apart

Since I’d finished translating May Ziadeh’s first book of poems Fleurs de Reve I’ve been working towards finding out if it’s possible to publish it, so others can read it in English as well.

I’d wanted to learn more about May who was born around the same time in February as I was and exactly a hundred years earlier, as I’d found so much to relate to in her poems and prose-poems with similar subjects and ways I’d written myself. And her last name and my maiden name both began with Z.

I found out that she’d loved music and played piano (from reading her poetry, it seems she might’ve sung as well); I’d love to hear her music and will try to find out from any contacts if there were any recordings or ones still left.

I’d also learned that she’d gone to college in 1914 (me in 2004) and studied Arabic Literature and also Philosophy (I studied English Literature and Philosophy), and that she graduated nearly the same amount of years later as I did.

Here’s an excerpt from May Ziadeh and one of my own from a journal that I’d written in outside of college before studying philosophy and long before I’d heard of May.

It is not in the depths of our being that we draw the origin of our dreams, but in what we see, hear and breathe. Despite our will, our memory reproduces what the senses transmit to it, and in the night of the imagination, scraps of images unite and the dream is formed.

—May Ziadeh, from Fleurs de Reve (pub. 1911)

Dreams don’t only represent what we have already experienced. Our imaginations influence their formation, but these images don’t originate from nowhere. We don’t create completely new people or places in our dreams. Our mind shuffles images of places and people we have seen before and creates new images. In order to dream about it, we must have seen something like it before.

—Me, from a personal journal (2004)

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And this post is just in time for May’s literary salon which would’ve been held on Tuesday, not purposely planned on time by me, but just now adding in this afterthought.

Yesterday: The Thing I Lose The Most and Thoughts on Reading Hemingway

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