FAQ

Would you like to learn more about Dreamaticus, Rousse and Belle? If so, please read on. If your question isn’t answered here, please feel free to ask it using the reply box below.

Where did the idea for Dreamaticus come from?

Rousse and Belle: We’ve both been amusing one another with our dream reports for quite a while. However, it wasn’t until Belle started posting highlights of hers as status updates on Facebook in spring 2010, and Rousse responded with her own short dream reports, that we considered that this information could be presented as a blog. We discussed this idea further in October 2010 and agreed that it would be a fun project. Rousse set to work on building the site in November 2010. As she did this she pulled in the content from Facebook, thus building the archive back to March 2010.

How did you come up with the name “Dreamaticus”?

Rousse and Belle: We started with eight possible names. Of these we liked Dreamaticus the best, mainly because it included the word “dream” at the same time as indicating the drama of our nightly adventures. The “aticus” conveys a sense of secrecy, and with the rest of the word gives the impression of dreams in an attic. Although we didn’t realise it at the time, many of our dreams are actually played out in attics so this element of the site’s name is quite appropriate to its content. See, for example:

Another reason for choosing the name is its literary pretension, and Belle thought a “Latin” word would make her sound clever.

Our second choice was the slightly dodgy “GirlsAsleep”. This possible name amused us early on because it plays on the pop group name of Girls Aloud. However, its drawback is that a blog with a title that includes the terms “girls” and “asleep” could very easily be mistaken for an “adult interest” site.

Who takes your photographs?

Rousse and Belle: Apart from the sunset banner which was taken by Rousse at Poolewe in the north west of Scotland in summer 2010, all our photographs are supplied by Brendan MacNeill Photography.

What is the derivation of “Dreaming to sleep, sleeping to dream”?

Rousse and Belle: It was prompted by the lyrics of I dream to sleep by h2o, a band from Glasgow. The single reached number 17 in the UK charts in June 1983.

The majority of blogs “belong” to a single author. Why is yours a shared blog?

Rousse and Belle: We set up Dreamaticus to amuse one another (and others too, but only if they are interested). Part of the motivation to write the entries is knowing that you get to read those of your partner in return. The idea of blogging dreams in a vacuum is not terribly attractive to us. With our set-up you are guaranteed at least one reader!

Apart from entertaining one another, why else do you enjoy contributing to Dreamaticus?

Rousse and Belle: We both have pretty demanding careers, so writing our blog gives us some light relief, drawing on our “talents” for dreaming and writing. Our work roles require us to be highly organised and, as a result, our lives are planned out quite far in advance. We know, for example, when we will be at which conference, where and with whom, often up to a year ahead of the event in question. So, much of what we do in our work and social lives (planned around work commitments) is quite predictable. However, each night when we go to bed we have no idea of what we will be writing up for Dreamaticus the next morning. Dreamaticus gives us a break from the order of our routines, and from being “sensible”.

How do you manage to remember your dreams, and in so much detail?

Rousse and Belle: We seem to be lucky in that we both happen to have good memories anyway, so this probably contributes to being able to recall the dream detail on waking. We should admit, however, that when we first started working on Dreamaticus we kept pen and paper by our beds so that we were able to jot down keywords from our dreams each morning before they evaporated. Now that we have had plenty of practice at remembering our dreams we have improved our retention of them. However, if we don’t have time to type our dreams up on the site before going to work, we still tend to scribble down long-hand versions while we eat our breakfast, just so that we don’t forget the detail. One day, Belle’s dream post-it note read “chimp, boy, sheep, castration, wheelbarrow, dog, tube”. These words were later transformed into the narrative of Chimps, sheep and a dog (Belle).

Rousse: I think that the talent for remembering dreams runs in families. My paternal grandmother was great at it, as is my father, and it also appears that my niece has the gift (or “curse” as my sister J would say). I’d also like to add that last year I discovered that I am a time-space synaesthete (as described in this BBC news posting), so this may also account for my good dream memory.

Which are your favourite dreams?

Rousse: I love the really surreal ones that strangely seem to make sense within the context of Dreamaticus, such as Dead grandmother tweets (Rousse) and Cat fur fortune (Rousse). The dreams that feature celebrities are great because they are popular with a wider audience. It’s also great when I dream about my friend MSB because she loves to feature on Dreamaticus and tells all her friends whenever this happens. See for example:

I find it really amusing when Belle and I have met up or refer to one another in our dreams, for example, Belle’s crimes catch up with her (Rousse); All roads lead to the Bristol Road South (Rousse); Belle cooks Rousse’s bacon and applauds Princess Diana. I think Belle’s dreams are much funnier than mine, and cry with laughter at some of the snippets, such as Belle’s diagnosis.

Belle: I am particularly fond of my rhyming couplet “gâteau/château” in Panto season (Belle) while any dream in which I am married to Mark Kermode (as listed on our celebrities page) is enormously satisfying. Like Rousse, I love the surreal dreams. Robot nurses, pastel ponies and a boob transplant (Belle) is a favourite. It is utterly inexplicable, yet also manages to include a reference to The Archers. Rousse’s talking animals, such as the dog in Collie dog lies, fashion for red-heads, and a sad trip to Australia (Rousse) fill me with envy though, and I love Rousse attacked by robot rag doll cleaner. The single-liners such as Rousse marries make me scream too.

Do Rousse and Belle share the same dream themes?

Rousse and Belle: Yes, and often this makes sense. For example, both us have lived in Birmingham in the past so it’s not surprising that each of us locates reveries there, as noted on the Birmingham page. However, we have been surprised at some similarities that have emerged since we started documenting our dreams. For example, we both dream with a similar frequency about Dr Who, beaches, dogs, swimming and bathrooms. We also occasionally dream the same theme on the same night (for example, berries in Chimps, sheep and a dog (Belle) and Rousse’s reunion), and are very fond of rescuing others – or being rescued.

To what extent does the Dreamaticus content reflect what is going on in your everyday life?

Rousse: There are quite a few parallels between what I dream about and what’s happening in my “real” world. For example, in the early postings there is quite a lot about office moves. In a very short period I relocated at work three times. Similarly, Conference calamity (Rousse) is a classic anxiety dream experienced the night before I participated at a large international conference. That said, some content is quite puzzling. For example, my interactions with TPR in many dreams are often not terribly comfortable, yet in “real” life we barely exchange a cross word, and I do wonder why I so often need to be rescued as in Rousse’s Princes Street rescue and Beckham rescues Rousse.

Belle: It will come as no surprise to readers of my dreams that I have some insecurities about the way I look! Mostly, however, my dreams are pleasingly “other worldly”.

Is there any content on Dreamaticus that surprises you?

Rousse: I’m anti-smoking, but I didn’t realise the extent to which others smoking upsets me, as is evident in Rousse in time warp trouble. I’m also quite impressed that I seem to be able to recall while sleeping facts that I wasn’t aware that I knew. For example, I’m pretty sure that if someone asked me where the A12 is located I wouldn’t be able to tell them. However, in Snowy conditions and dodgy map cause travel chaos near Cambridge (Rousse) I accurately located this road.

Some people can control their dreams. Can either of you do this?

Rousse and Belle: No.

Do you censor your dreams?

Rousse and Belle: The point of Dreamaticus is to relate our funny dreams. So the content is censored in that we only type up what we find to be amusing, and don’t bother with anything that isn’t funny – at least to us (although Belle admits that she might have done more with Vernon Kay in Vernon Kay, Tess Daly and a mouse than is documented in the posting). This explains why on some days there is only one entry, or perhaps none at all. (We’ve also worked out that we tend not to dream, or not remember our dreams, when we are very stressed, so this is another reason why there may be less content on the site at a particular time.)

Do you write any other blogs?

Rousse and Belle: Yes, but for work purposes far too dull to mention here.

Please could you tell us a little more about yourselves?

Rousse and Belle: By reading the Dreamaticus entries you’ll see that we reveal quite a lot about ourselves anyway, but for those who are curious, we both:

  • are very close in age – born five weeks apart
  • are about the same height/weight/shape
  • talk and laugh a lot
  • work in the same industry
  • have sisters called J
  • studied literature for our first degrees
  • hold postgraduate qualifications in the same subject
  • rate reading, Radio 4 and charity shop scouring amongst our favourite leisure activities
  • love dogs

How can I find out more about Dreamaticus, and Rousse and Belle?

Please ask any questions in the box below and we’ll respond by adding our reply to this page.

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