Many Czech emigres in Toronto say they had the same recurring dream in the 1980s as this Canadian writer, Paul Wilson. He describes walking the dark winding streets of Prague and meeting his old friends there, but always in fear of being found by the police.
He describes the semi-nightmares as intense, “hyper-realistic” nocturnal voyages through Prague, with a “powerful erotic undertow linked to a mounting sense of anxiety.” Each version of the dream ended with a panicked and ultimately foiled attempt to leave town, whether by rail or air or just walking away. Wilson had lived there in the 1960s and 1970s, and had been forced to leave by the communist police like so many Czech writers and artists and activists.
It is, Wilson writes, the “émigré dream” — common to those forced to leave their homeland because of political events. His specific dream, though, is very familiar to me. I also began having this dream in the 1980s, toward the end of the decade. The thing was, I had never been to Prague and didn’t know a soul there. In fact, I didn’t know where the dreams took place until December of 1991, when I broke off from my traveling buddy to take a train to then-Czechoslovakia on my own.Read more