Woolgathering by Djamila Milette Mostefaï

The first inevitable and truly sorrowful lesson we all come to face is the acceptance that
it is impossible to dream a good dream twice. We all come to grieve that brief window of
freedom spent away from everything and everyone else in our vociferous world. Soon, we learn
to carefully admire the heavenly mist behind that window. We quickly salute its kind characters
and enjoy a few bites of its sweetest pastries. A good dream is a child’s first goodbye, an adult’s
saddest greeting.
According to one neurobiological theory, the “Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis”, dreams consist
of electrical impulses that use random data from our memories. This means that we dream a lot
and some dreams are simply more boring than the rest. In parallel, it is also important to note that
while dreams occur at any moment of our sleep, the ones we remember in the morning take place
in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage during which higher brain activity is recorded. In other
words, amongst all the possible combinations our 86 billion neurons come up with, we remember
those both worth remembering and those lucky enough to encounter our consciousness. Another
interesting fact is that one is guaranteed to remember a dream following the sudden shock of an
alarm. Remembering a dream after waking up on your own means said dream survived multiple
sleep stages and a literal army of neurons to reach our world.
I don’t think you need me to understand why this is kind of romantic.
This is no homage to the poetry of dreams.
That has been written, sung, drawn, painted, performed, danced, discussed and tattooed.
I loathe repetition. I detest it so much that I just researched a synonym of the verb “to loathe” to
express my hatred for it. I refuse to be one of those unoriginal fanatics. I refuse to call you a day
dream believer.
I’ve written multiple versions of this essay. Deciding which to submit is a process
requiring logic and reason. I should write about a better world. Yes. Why not honour Martin
Luther King? No, he’s too famous. Dreaming of equality is no longer creative in this
unsymmetrical urban setting, is it? I should write my deepest and most agonizing struggles and
draw a unique and personal connection to dreams to make it original (remembering to use
writing devices and figures of speech).
Once a dream starts, there is nothing you can do to stop it. You are under the obligation
to dream it until awakening (unless you yank yourself awake, but wouldn’t that be a nightmare?)
I am a young woman with great ambitions. I dream of success and health. I admit, I do
enjoy a good romcom, or a touching song about a past lover, but I do not obsess, fantasize or
hope for a slightly longer embrace at every encounter. Let alone dream of it. I’ve written
countless pages. Disease and depression. Family and childhood pain. Difference and oppression.
All I care to brag about is the overwhelming luck I possess when encountering and catching a
running dream twice, as a foolish child would.
Commented [SB1]: Ha!
Commented [SB2]: I’ve lost track here of the “it” — do
you mean an homage? This line could maybe be cut.
Commented [DMM3R2]: Yeah It’s kind of redundant to
be honest
Commented [SB4]: I think what you mean here is
everyone wants equality now so it’s no longer an original
thought? Or it’s been said already?
Commented [DMM5R4]: Yes, I also want to show how I
base my writing on academic success, logic etc… Like, if
even Martin Luther King doesn’t make the cut, how could a
lover pass the test or smtg
Commented [SB6]: I love that this is stated as something
impossible at the start of the essay and comes back here as
something the writer experienced.
A dream is a drop of water in an immense desert. A dream is health after ravaging illness.
A dream is everything in nothingness, grandiosity in the face of simplicity, a goddamn life
changing political movement, an act of kindness in ubiquitous violence, a gasp of air in a
ravaging flood. A dream is crumbs of bread in murderous famine.
Wouldn’t writing of anything else than the truth be cowardly? How could I face such
grandeur and feign passion? Wouldn’t it be immoral (and frankly controversial) to stand for my
own and have my heart scoff at the rage any true activist feels when advocating? How shameful
of me. Still, how can anger compare when none of these militants could ever shield me as you
A dream is not our cold breaths greeting each other before our lips meet. Of all dreams, of
all universes and their windows, of all the infinite possibilities my incredibly cliché neurons
could come up with, you’re what I choose?
A dream is not your very small fingers tracing my very insignificant shoulder beneath the
lights of the city.

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