It's 6AM right now. I've been up for over an hour, had a shower, dragged myself downstairs, made a cup of tea, some toast, started the laundry. I didn't get to bed the night before until almost midnight, and I hate that I've had only five hours of sleep (less, if you subtract the time I spent tossing and turning). But that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. Sleep gets short shrift when I'm busy, and I am busy these days.
I've been thinking ever since I stepped out of the shower about what I could add to this week's topic. Not much, really. Like Lisabet, I dream and I remember my dreams. In fact, last night's dreams are still fresh in my mind, a confused jumble about me attending a science fiction convention and trying to find someone, maybe horror writer Matt F'n Wallace, to hold my purse (since when did I start carrying a fucking purse?!) while I run off to dance or chase aliens or go home because nobody at the convention likes me anymore. I dream a lot about science fiction conventions these days, probably because they've become so important to my writing career. I've attended five this year.
Of course, like Jenna, I've also had my bouts of insomnia, but unlike Jenna, I'm loathe to take anything for it. I guess I don't have insomnia that often, nor do I have a husband who's a light sleeper. I will say, however that for me, insomnia is the true nightmare. Every minute of sleep counts in my world.
Like Jude, I do have a tendency to work on stories while I sleep, though I don't recall dreaming about my writing when this happens. I just wake up and have a solution ready to go. Funny how that works.
Garce mentioned writers as people who live in a waking dream, bringing it to reality through the written word. Many of my stories come from vivid daydreams. In fact, the best stories are the ones that seize me while I'm awake, and I can't stop playing them over and over in my head, like a favorite movie, only I'm rehearsing the dialog and action and perfecting the scenery and plot with each pass through. I never get tired of doing that, either.
I obviously don't have Ashley's problem, since I remember my dreams, but I do sympathize with his wife. I woke up one morning and nearly punched Hubster's lights out because I dreamt he had kissed my sister. To this day, he gets into more trouble for things he's done in my dreams than for any actual transgressions he's committed in the real world. In fact, I think the worst recent nightmare I've had was about him divorcing me and refusing to give a reason why. I can't recall ever having woken up so angry and upset before.
I'm a vivid dreamer. I frequently recall my dreams. I usually post snippets of the more memorable ones on Twitter first thing after I get up. I've never used a specific night-dream (as opposed to day-dream) for any story, but somehow stories do manage to get written or edited while I'm off in Slumber Land. As for day-dreams, I'd be lost without them.
And all this has been covered by everyone else so far this week. So what do I have to add to this discussion that's unique, original, not yet mentioned?
Only myself, and my own weird dreams.
The first nightmare I can recall having happened was when I was five or six. It was about Flat Stanley. I dreamt he was shot and killed in the art museum robbery. I would never again let my parents read Flat Stanley to me, and in fact hid the book so I would never have to look at it again. To this day, I will not read Flat Stanley.
I dreamt once about a skull headed woman driving a horse-drawn cart. Her face and hair had been burned off in a fire, though the rest of her was untouched. I don't know why that one snippet of dream still hangs with me to this day.
In college, I dreamt about being on a search for a magical talisman. The search always took place in the same weird, endless underground city, in a rather seedy market place. That same year, I was taking a class on creativity. We had to pick a "talisman," an object to journal about (this was looooooooong before the days of blogging), think about, dream about. I dreamt about my object all right. My talisman was a piece of moss agate. I finally dreamt one night that I found my talisman in a dusty shop in the underground city. I broke it open and drank the milky fluid inside of it. It tasted flat, stale, salty, metallic. Nothing magical whatsoever happened as a result of that drink.
I dreamt once that Batman and Robin were hosting a news cast. Robin told a joke about the Marine Corps, and it was so funny, I woke up laughing. I startled the hell out of the Hubster, who asked, "What's so funny?" He says I told him, "It wouldn't translate well in real time." I spent the rest of the day walking around with a smile on my face that nothing could wipe off.
I dreamt that I went to visit my grandmother in a nursing home. I was sitting at her feet, chatting, when she suddenly said, "You know your old grandma is dying." I hugged her knees and said, "It's okay, Grandma." A month or so later, she did die, though that wasn't unexpected. That dream was the last time I really saw her.
I dreamt I was in my favorite aunt's house, being hunted by my other aunt, the one who had estranged herself from my family years before. The lights were all out, and I slipped from room to room, silently as I could, sticking close to the walls because even though I couldn't see it in the dark, I knew the floors had all collapsed in the middle of each room. My estranged aunt was always just a room behind me, hunting for me in the dark...
I dreamt once about the lousy part-time job I had as a cashier in a craft store. The dream was a nightmare, with nothing going right. In the midst of it, a man took me by the hand and suddenly I was standing in my yard with him. He asked me, "If you could be a goddess, what kind of goddess would you be?" I said, "I'd be a goddess of cats, and art, and creativity." "Then why aren't you that goddess now?" he asked me. I'm still trying to figure out the answer to that one.
When I really, really want to have a nightmare, I dream I'm back in college and I'm a cadet again. Either I can't find my dorm room, or I have to live in an apartment off campus but there's something wrong with the apartment or else I can't find it, and I know I'm going to get in trouble because of this. I hate dreaming I'm back in college. I really, really hate it.
I dreamt once I had a flying carpet and I rode it through my neighborhood. It was the neatest thing in the world!
I dreamt once that I stood in a train station, waiting for someone important to show up. A gorgeous young man stepped off the train and greeted me with a kiss. It's the only time I can recall having an orgasm in my sleep.
I dreamt once that I was the only person in a giant Barnes and Noble bookstore. It had millions upon millions of books, and the world's best cafe filled with all sorts of culinary delights. The second floor of the store was an endless series of baths, each one modeled in a different style, including a Roman bath and a Polynesian hot spring. Apparently the whole place had been built for me and me alone. It was my dream of Paradise. Then one of the tubs upstairs overflowed and the water rotted the floor until the top story fell into the bottom story and the whole place collapsed on itself. I woke up devastated.
During my second pregnancy, I dreamt I was a dominatrix, dressed form head to toe in a black vinyl bodysuit and thigh high boots. I was having strap-on sex with a friend, a woman I knew in real life. She wore a harness and nothing else. I was cruel and indifferent to her struggles against me. I woke up from that dream so disoriented and confused, for a while I wasn't sure if it had happened in reality or not.
Last week, I dreamt someone tried to mug me for my knitting. Yes, my knitting! I beat the crap out of the guy, but did not feel good about it afterwords.
And those are just a few of my nighttime dreams. The daydreams run the gamut from blisteringly hot sexual fantasy to the more mundane things like being on the New York Times best-seller list. And of course, I have those moments of waking lucid dreaming where I'm working on a story, and have become so possessed by the characters that I stand there, lips moving, mumbling dialog and narrative to myself like some sort of lunatic (do not let Garce and I sit in a cafe together; I'm certain someone would call the men in white jackets if they saw us both babbling and have us locked away).
Piers Anthony once wrote a book called "Nightmare" in which a jet black horse named Mare Imbrium delivered bad dreams to people. At the time I read that, I thought it was the coolest idea I'd ever heard of. Not surprisingly, I have dreamed of riding that horse.