Michael Murphy’s Book of Dreams

Thursday October 5th 2017

Hodges Figgis, Nassau Street, Dublin 2


On World Book Day Ireland, Thursday March 2nd, 2017, I signed a book deal with the commissioning editor, Sarah Liddy, for Michael Murphy’s Book of Dreams. It’ll be published by Gill Books at the end of September 2017.

Michael Murphy’s Book of Dreams consists of 65 dreams and their detailed analyses. The book is written so that you’ll be able to see how to analyse your own dreams. I’ve been working as a psychoanalyst for over thirty years, and analysing a client’s dreams, as Freud said, is the royal road to the unconscious, so it’s something I do every day in the privacy of the consulting room. Only this time you get to look over my shoulder, and see how it’s done.

Sarah gave me a fortnight to get the manuscript into a finished form, which meant 4.00 am starts, and long days of re-writing until stupefied exhaustion took over late each evening. In order to make it more accessible, the book is now divided into sections with short introductions, such as sex and relationship dreams, journey dreams, animal dreams, and nightmares. Sarah had wanted to raise the word count by 4,000 words, and in the end I’d written a further 8,000! My partner, Terry, kept the meals coming without complaint, so that I was able to devote myself to writing. Although the work continued at an intense pitch, he remarked that I was singing, and in great form, really happy doing something I love.

I write listening to an internet radio tuned to a German station specialising in Bach. The complex music keeps my mind turning over in top form, rather like the hard disc which runs my laptop. What’s the myth behind the dream’s drama? That word, what’s its origin, and what else can it mean? Which psychoanalytic concept is at work here? Put English on it instead of jargon. Advice, irony, confrontation: can I say something helpful here?

I analysed listeners’ dreams in a weekly slot on the RTE 2FM Chris and Ciara Radio Show, and the presenters’ youthful responses, often from the left field, broadened and grounded my own. For three years I regularly analysed viewers’ dreams on the afternoon television RTE Today Show with Maura and Dáithí. Their insightful approach guided me towards supportive responses, which is a requirement of live broadcasting. Those programmes were superb training for telling the truth with tenderness in Michael Murphy’s Book of Dreams.

Sarah has received my effort, the fruit of strong exertion. Now begins the to and fro process of editing the manuscript and designing the book. Sarah says she wants it to be beautiful, something that you’d be happy to give your friend as a gift, and I agree with that. A possible cover photograph was taken in Spain last summer by the visionary photographer, José Luis Veiga: “Jou make lubb to the lens!” I wonder will Gill Books’ marketing department go with that approach? I hope they do, because the book has been written with love.

Michael Murphy’s Book of Dreams will be launched on Thursday 5 October in Hodges Figgis, Nassau Street, Dublin 2 at 6.30pm. The book is priced at €14.99.

The book is published by:

Gill Books
Hume Avenue
Park West
Dublin 12
Tel (01) 500 9500

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