It’s Almost the End of October

 

turrets_3370385kOctober is for Dreams

 

October has really been full of dreams, hasn’t it?

I hope you have enjoyed our wandering in and out of dreams and nightmares. If it seems that although the world around us is strange, it doesn’t hold a candle to the world inside of us.

I have a wonderfully talented artist lined up for Sunday’s Art Gallery — a fun way to tie together Halloween and All Hallow’s Eve, dreams, and, who knows — nightmares, too.

But what have we learned, spending the last month in and out of the dream state?

  •  We all dream. Whether or not we remember, we do. It’s the body’s way of relieving stress, rebuilding on a cellular level. It’s just that some of us sleep so hard that dreaming seems a drifting dream itself. So quit running around saying “I don’t dream.” You do. Keep on doing it. Even if you don’t remember it.
  • Many dream about people who have passed on to the next life. And some are upset about that. To me, dreaming about my mother (who passed away 30 years ago) and my dad (who moved along to be with her 5 years ago) just keep them in my life. I remember at first, going along with the dream, then suddenly saying (to myself or to my mom in the dream) “Hey! You’re not supposed to be here! You’re dead!” Now I know this is just a way to continue my life with the two of them. It’s often in the house I grew up in, and I love hanging out there. I love, laugh, talk or argue, then move along through the rest of the dream. It doesn’t hurt. And it shouldn’t hurt you, either.
  • Nothing makes sense in dreams. Studies show dreams (and nightmares) are a way for our unconscious side to deal with our conscious side. But I’ve also come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter if they make sense or not. People I haven’t seen in ages, places I’ve never been — where does that come from? Who cares? We have to quit trying to make “sense” of everything. Like black holes, most of their evidence is indirect. Probably with a “to be continued” sign hanging metaphisically on the doorway.
  • Nightmares are also a way of life. A way of coping. Some people bring their day nightmares into their dreams; others pick them up on the way. A bit of advice from a non-psychology major. If your day job (family, job, friends) give you nightmares during the day, leave them. You only go through life once; don’t waste it on those who don’t understand or appreciate you. Get professional help. Or listen to the friend who has been there for you all this time. But get out of the toxicity.
  • To those who have a fairly balanced, often off-center, goofy, busy kind of life, let the nightmares do their thing. Most times they don’t make sense anyway. The monsters, the chasing, the cars flying off the cliff, all are ways we cleanse the soul, the mess we have to deal with every day. If you can find a way to stand back and just watch them, do it. If you wake up with your heart pounding and your mind dizzy, sit up, breathe, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, and slip back under the covers.
  • Sigmund Freud believed that every action and thought is motivated by your unconscious at some level, and that in order to live in a civilized society we have to repress our urges and impulses. Because these urges and impulses must be released in some way, an easy outlet is through your dreams. Because the content of the unconscious may be extremely disturbing or harmful, Freud believed that the unconscious expresses itself in a symbolic language. That’s why they don’t often make sense. That may be true, but I don’t believe the “content” is always disturbing or harmful. Dreams are alternate choices, alternate paths, our minds take, each one as valid as the one taken during the day. Don’t psychoanalyze what more often is a vivid playground you can only visit during sleep. Go play.
  • If you can retain the essence of your dreams, retain it. Savour it. Write it down. Transform it into poetry or a painting or a piece of jewelry. Let it encourage the creative side of you. Explore those feelings that float in the mist just beyond your reach, the light just around the corner. You will find that there is such a thing as magic — and the magic is you.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Anton Seminov

There are times when an artist’s view of reality is frightening.

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Anton Semenov is a 28-year-old digital painter and graphic designer born and raised in Bratsk, Russia.

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He is a digital painter, graphic designer, and, according to some, bringer of nightmares.

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His unique surrealistic style and phenomenal attention to detail and preciseness has crafted his technique into truly his own dark vision of the world around us.

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As in all nightmares, there is something fascinating about the way his mind wraps around the darkness and breathes life into it, bringing them into the daylight.

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His works feature unique interpretations of the subconscious world.

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We might not always feel comfortable with his interpretations, but we are thankful he is able to create that which we fear to share.

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More of Anton Semenov’s work can be found at http://www.awwwards.com/anton-semenov-disturbing-and-frightening-illustrations.html  and http://gloom82.livejournal.com/.

I’m Watching Me Dream

lucid-dreamOctober is for Dreams

 

You are engaged to your old boss from 40 years ago, even though in reality you have moved to a different state and have been happily married to someone else for almost as long.

You have an important dinner date or presentation to make. All you can find to wear is some tatty t-shirt and dirty shorts. All the clothes you’ve ever owned are piled way high around the washing machine. You watch yourself throw clothes everywhere, digging, digging through the pile. Yet everything looks the same.

You are hiding from some unknown monster/entity that is clearing out your apartment complex floor by floor. You are running from room to room, finally settling on hiding under a shelf behind the clothes rack in some closet. You’ve never lived in a high-rise apartment, and you don’t believe in monsters. So you hide and wait to see what happens.

Are you dreaming? Or lucid dreaming? Is there a difference?

I’ve scoured the Internet looking for clues, for some sort of distinction between the two.  If you want detailed explanations, the Internet is your portal. If you want the I-enjoy-your-blog-so-give-me-the-short-version version, stick around. Because you and I want to have fun with this.

According to Web MD (Dream1), dreams are basically stories and images our mind creates while we sleep. They can be vivid, happy, sad, or downright confusing. They can occur any time during sleep, but most vividly during deep REM sleep, when the brain is most active.

Lucid dreams, on the other hand, is more like having a dream where you know you are dreaming. In other words, you know the house you are walking through is not your house or your spouse is not your spouse and you follow along anyway. You don’t have to wake up to know that whatever is happening is not real. Lucid dreaming represents a brain state between REM sleep and being awake. More like those twilight dreams at the edge of waking.

I think most of us experience a combination of the two. Most times we find ourselves in situations and places and memories we have no control over, and we go with the flow. But sometimes we make decisions to do certain things in our dreams like jump off buildings and fly or open doors that lead to huge mansions and strange factories and more. We don’t fight the dream – we actually encourage it.

You can scour the Internet (my favorite phrase today!) for ways to become more aware/involved with your dreaming. Some sights are hokey; but others share real information.  The Goddess and I have a few suggestions for this next step of evolutionary dreaming, though.

  1. Don’t pay for seminars, pills, lectures, or anything that concerns moola. Simple – and free – ways are available.
  2. Sleep in complete darkness. Don’t let the stray light of a bathroom light or hall light unconsciously raise you from your well-earned dream stroll.
  3. Keep a dream journal. I know it’s a pain the buttocks to turn the lights on and off all the time, but the act of writing forces the art of retaining. This training will help you acknowledge and track your dreamscapes.
  4. When your weird dream ends, don’t jump up. Don’t move. Don’t even open your eyes. Recall as much of it as you can. Even if it doesn’t make sense. The mere act of recalling the feeling and actions encourages more recollection.
  5. Condition yourself at night to let your dreams go where they may. The final thoughts you have before switching gears into dreamland help influence where your dreams go. So go lightly but firmly.
  6. Allow yourself to check in and say “Hey! Cool dream!” Let it flow as a passing thought, not a change in the river’s flow. The more you find yourself letting your dreams go where they may, the more you can stand back and watch them.
  7. Unless it’s a nightmare, don’t try and force yourself awake. Many squiggly dreams make it to the surface to taunt you then fade back into the abyss. The more you let the dreamworld take you by the hand the more you will remember.

Dreaming is a wonderful way to explore the worlds of “what if” and “if only.” Not to mention “Wha??” and “Woah!!”  Those are the ones you want to explore, continue, and repeat.

Happy Dreaming!

 

 

Dreams and Nightmares — Nightmares and Dreams

 

leslieannodell_01October is for Dreams

 

Nightmares and Dreams. Two sides of the same card. Two sides of the same mirror. Two breaths from the same mouth. We cannot have one without the other. For how can you reach for the light if you’ve never been lost in the dark?

My friend  Kat McDonald  (Inner Focus)  is an exceptional writer. Her writing is gritty and vivid and imaginative. I read this story back in 2013, and I remember it like it was yesterday. It stretches longer than my usual blog lengths, but do take the time to read it all. Get lost in her mind and figure out for yourself. Is it a dream? A nightmare? Or both?

Delirium

a new fever has me in its clutches… i can feel her long, bony, icy fingers twist my spine and contort my brain… i need paracetamol… i need a glass of water… i need to sleep…

but sleep won’t come easy…

paracetamol… a glass of water… bed.

i climb into bed… i am shaking… my hands are tingling… am i hungry..? am i over-tired..? i feel exhausted… i feel sick… nausea rushes at me like a jealous mistress… my head feels twice the size it should be… my forehead is hot… my feet are cold… i am shaking… i swallow the pills and wash them down with a long drink of water.

i climb into bed… the pillow feels cool beneath my heavy skull… i close my eyes and then it starts… i must ride this out until it breaks…

micro flashing neon lights spark inside my minds eye, igniting visions… visions… murky, but i look deeper… deeper into the grain and chaos… i see a face… a man’s face… it is Stalin… he is standing outside an old house… a house on a wild beach… a house with a red door… suddenly, he vomits all over himself… then dissolves into a puddle on the ground… i look out to sea… but the sea is not a sea… it is a vast expanse of rippling silken fabric, billowing in the breeze… i look up to the sky… a pterodactyl swoops in low over the water towards me… i duck for cover and close my eyes tight, anticipating being snatched up by the giant predatory bird… nothing… the wind has picked up the pace and snatches my breath… i gasp and open my eyes… i find myself atop one of the steel eagles that grace the lofty Chrysler Building in NYC… i am terrified… the wind is strong… my hair whips my face… i am too scared to look down… but i do… and now my palms are wet, sweating… i cannot hold on, i lose my grip… but wait! i am typing…

i am sat at a desk, in the middle of a forest, and i am typing… typing incoherent words on a sheet of stiff, white paper… The typewriter is old and battered and clunky… a pale blue Olivetti electric typewriter… my curious eyes follow the flex… it is plugged into a giant snail… the sound of my fingers tapping the keys rattles my brain… the words make no sense… the words make me shiver… i open a cupboard… an old farmhouse style larder- just like the one my Aunt Mary had at Fullerton Farm… i open the door and find hundreds of tins of Baked Beans… i close the door… but the door is a mirror now… i stare at my own reflection… i smile to her, but she does not smile back… she is naked… pale, gaunt… two headless horses appear behind me… one black as night, The other white as snow… the white one speaks to me in a language i cannot comprehend… but we start to dance… the floor beneath me turns to silver sand…

the sun is beating down on me… i pull the quilt around me and nestle into the comfort and familiarity of my bed, despite the madness of these visions… visions i have no control over… i cannot make them stop… they come, in a flood… my mind is a fairground… i look at my hands… six fingers on each hand… i cut off the tips of my fingers with a large pair of shears… they are bleeding… i put on a pair of bright yellow rubber gloves and go outside into the night… there are two moons in the sky… both are full and resplendent… the night is cool… i am alone… i look to my left and the buildings start to crumble and fall… an apple falls from the sky and rolls towards me, stopping at my feet… It speaks to me… beckoning me to take bite… i pick up the lilac apple and bite into its soft, juicy flesh… it tastes salty… so i throw it away… it explodes on impact… in the distance, i hear a child’s voice… it is my lover’a son… he appears out of nowhere, wearing a flappy bird t-shirt and red jeans… he is barefoot, as i am… he takes my hand and tells me to follow him… i do…

suddenly, i find myself, alone, inside a computer… i look at my hands… i am made of pixels… i peer through the screen and see a morbidly obese man, sitting on his sofa with a boxful of donuts… he is playing a computer game… he is controlling me and my movements… he is controlling the CGI world i now find myself locked in… i like it here, but i cannot stay… i call out for my lover’a son… but he is gone… he has left me a note… it reads “gone fishing, be home Tuesday!”… i smell coffee… i look down and find myself in a bathtub full of warm, steaming coffee… it stains my skin… my lover appears… he dries my wet skin with a cloud, gently patting it dry… he lovingly combs my wet hair and strokes my face… we kiss… and float out the wind into space… we swim through the stratosphere and look back at Earth… it looks radiant and blue… i take a bite… it tastes like battery acid… the shock cuts my tongue and i spit out blood and a chunk of France… “it never used to taste like this…” says my lover, his eyes filled with tears… he spits a mouthful of India out into the blue stratospheric air… he fades into the night… “soon…” he says, blowing kisses as he dissolves into the ether… i find myself in a deep, Belfast sink… the cold tap is turned on and the sink is filling up with tiny sea horses and goldfish… they sparkle and shimmer and swim around me… but i need to urinate…

i open my eyes, climb out of bed and make my way to the bathroom across the hall… my legs are shaking… i feel weak… perhaps sleep will come soon… i hope for a dreamless sleep… but instead, i find myself in a field full of rabbits… hundreds and thousands of rabbits… rabbits of all different colours… the pink ones are my favourites… odd… i hate the colour pink… but they are the friendliest… i reach up to the sky and reel in the sun… i hold it in my hands… it burns, but only momentarily… my cold hands chill its fire and it turns from burning amber to brittle blue… the sun shatters in my hands… i am left holding fragments of turquoise glass… i throw the shards up into the air… they tinkle and twinkle against the sky, like dying light… The tranquility of their peaceful chimes turns into an ugly chaos as the fragments of harmless light turn into bullets… they rain down all around me… everything has turned to dust… children lie dead around me… women scream… another bomb goes off… the ground shakes, like the thunder of the apocalypse… there is no colour… everything is grey… the course of death… i hear the wail of an electric guitar… someone, somewhere is playing a guitar… it wails, like a wounded animal… i cover my ears and crouch down, holding myself… crying… i open my eyes and see a young deer, chewing a leafy twig, at the foot of my sweating bed…

the pillow is damp… i turn it over and, with trembling hands, i gulp down a glass of cold, clean water… i close my eyes… please let me sleep… a dreamless sleep… please… these rapid fire flashbacks of former trips inside my minds eye and visions of my subconscious’ innermost thoughts and fears, as surreal as they are, are raping my brain… i am exhausted… i want calm… i want to feel well again… i look at the time… three hours have passed… i have been away for three hours…

i take two more pills, and water… and close my eyes…

but wait! my feet are covered in sand…

 

What are Dreams?

 

meh-ro9329-1October is for Dreams

 

What are dreams?

This question has haunted mankind since primitives woke up laughing – or screaming – in the middle of the night.

There are plenty of websites, books, and discussion groups that offer theories and facts about the ethereal state of the human mind. I leave it to you to peruse the wavelengths to find your own technical explanation.

I would rather talk about the magic of dreams. The sensations that linger long after you are on with your day (or night). The memory that hangs at the edge of your thoughts that whispers … I can almost remember… and I remember feeling… but the words won’t come. It’s the world that you can almost reach – if only you could stretch farther, remember harder, sleep a little longer.

Dreams are the involuntary conjuring up of images, sounds, ideas and feelings as well as other sensations during sleep.  Of course, it is possible to wake up, have a conscious moment of reality, then fall back asleep, either continuing the same dream path or steering it in a different direction.

I know that I am a direct participant in my dreams – it’s not like I’m watching a television show – I am the television show. I conjure up faces I’ve never seen, faces I used to know, and faces that don’t belong with the bodies I see. I go places I’ve never been, experienced things I’ve never experienced, and often wake up wanting more.

Studies have shown that dreaming is important to our health and well being. Not being allowed to dream can lead to anxiety, depression, lack of coordination, and more. Not being allowed to dream is different than saying we don’t dream. We all dream. It’s just that some of us sleep harder than others, our dreams deeper and harder to recall.

What about nightmares, then? Are they part of the normal processing of life’s hardest lessons?

Nightmares are almost the other end of the tunnel. We get stuck, we can’t change course, and so we wander through the world of horror and emptiness and terror. Upon awakening we realize we are safe, but tell that to me when’m driving down a cliff side with my son in tow or I hear monsters in the room below making their way up the stairs. We try and reason our way out of our terror, mostly by telling ourselves it’s only a dream. Other times we burst into the waking world with our hearts pounding and our heads swirling, glad to have escaped the talons of the night one more time.

Researchers say nightmares are often caused by stress, conflict, fear, emotional problems, and medication, among others. In this day and age, who doesn’t suffer from anxiety? Kids yelling, spousal conflicts, traffic jams, attitudes at work – it’s hard not to take the ebb and flow of life as an insult half the time. So we seek refuge – or expression – in dreams.

What I would like to do during the month of October is explore this world through the eyes of others who have been here. Writers, poets, artists – both the heavenly and the ghastly – and experience this mysterious, elusive world through their eyes. Their dreams. Their creativity.

And as the month goes along, feel free to share your own dream worlds. Authors you enjoy, websites that fascinate, music that sends you into that world where no one can follow.

And yet where everyone you know exists.

October is for Dreams

200I admit it. I love Fall.

Not just because I am at the end of my hot flash phase. But the smells, the sights, the feel of warm afternoons and cool evenings, gorgeous sunsets, cuddling under blankets, and since I love the night time, earlier sunset times so I have more snuggle writing time.

Lately my world feels like its drifting in and out of the dream world. My dreams, others dreams, the magic and absurdity of our subconscious as it dances at the edge of twilight, gives me the sensation when I wake that I just had the most incredible adventure.

If I could only remember it.

So throughout the month of October, I’m going to hang around the dream world, bringing you poetry from other dreamers, pictures, stories, tales and myths. That way you can pull your blanket up a little closer to your face and hide when you must, play along if you want.

Four years ago today I wrote a blog about dreams. How perfect to start the month off getting lost in the shadows. Hope you enjoy.

To Dream or Not To Dream…That Is The Question

One of the yin-yangs of hormone fluctuation is sleep, or lack of it. Between hot flashes and finding a comfortable position, my REM’s make rare visits, leaving my consciousness floating in the bubbles of semi-sleep through the world of dreams. Now, many people say they don’t dream; others leave a notepad on their nightstand so they can record the ching chang jumble that comes out in the middle of the night. I believe we all dream, but length, depth and retaining capacity is what makes everyone’s claim different.

Scientists and talk show hosts tell us our lives are influenced by anything and everything, and our dreams are one way of dealing with all of it. Dreams, and  their alter ego, nightmares, can result from everything from eating pizza before bed to an argument earlier in the day. Dreams can be triggered by stress, anticipation, having too much time on your hands or, more likely, not enough.  Scary movies, sappy movies, long distance phone calls — everything can leave a chip in your mind that can explode into a myriad of dreamy scenarios.

The great thing about this flight through those shadowed clouds, though, is the variety of experiences it presents. I doubt my conscious mind could make up half the things my subconscious does. And if it could, would it be as fun?  In my dreams I interact with bosses from 20 years ago and talk to family members who are no longer with me. I wander the halls of my grade school, look out on Lake Michigan from a high-rise balcony, and walk through castles of long ago.  I have driven off cliffs and been chased by  unseen dragony/monster things. I have stood in a shadowy alley talking to Edward Norton and had coffee with Kiefer Sutherland. I have run from building to building to building, either looking for something or trying to get somewhere, and have jumped and bounced and flown my way across the landscape.

Where in Jove’s name do we get these ideas from? 

Being a writer, I often bring some of the unearthliness of my subconscious and put it into forms that entertain me and others. Without analyzing every laugh and tear, I try to bring these esoteric beings into my writing. The more nonsensical, the better. Other people transform their dreams into paintings, gardens, photography, and card making. So why not writing?

Of course, the down side of dreams is that they don’t always give you a direct answer to your cosmic questions.  It is fairly obvious that when I dream of my son as a toddler rather than a college kid, I am searching for the olden days connection we had when I was omnipotent and he was subservient.  When I am wandering through corridors and cross loading docks and down long hallways filled with shops and warehouses and theaters I am lost in more ways than I care to admit. But instead of interpreting these dreams as portents of bad things to come, I would rather see them as insights to the possibilities that lie ahead. We have the ability to choose which meanings we take to heart and which  we toss out. We can choose to see rain in the clouds or we can just see clouds. 

The best course is always to choose a little of both. Don’t ignore the clouds that are thunderheads, and don’t step out of a plane to bounce on their springy tops.  But let those clouds be dragons or snakes or ships. Notice the thread of reality that runs through the middle, then make what you will of the rest. Don’t worry what others think your dreams mean, or if you can’t remember their endings. The old adage that it’s the journey that counts, not the destination, makes as much sense to your unconscious state of mind as your conscious one. Take that journey and run with it.

As for me, I’m looking forward to tonight. I told Kiefer I’d meet him at the coffee shop sometime around eleven.  Maybe I’ll even ride my dragon there.

 

 

 

Know Any Spooky Books to Keep Me Awake At Night?

thIn the cold, crappy days of winter, I find myself wanting to be entertained while I’m stuck indoors.

TV gets old fast. I’ve limited favorite shows to all the Chicago’s (Fire, PD, Med), Face Off, and, if I can stomach it, Hell’s Kitchen. I’m also a fan of Grimm, which always opens doors to my other cold weather passion — reading.

I’m in the mood to read something spooky. Something heart-pounding. Something that keeps me up until midnight (like I need that). I have read a few of Stephen King’s earlier works (The Stand, The Shining, Carrie), and a couple of Dean Koontz. (I can not get through his Intensity; family and friends have all read it and praised it but it gives me the creeps.)

I always wonder why milquetoasts like me want to read something that nightmares are made of. I know I’m not alone — good scary movies and good scary books are talked about long after the mediocrity of other books has passed. And, like movies, not just blood and guts. Anyone can talk Dissection 101 and make is painful.

I look for books that creep me out without scarring me for life. Ones with twists and surprises and a satisfactory, if not super positive, ending. For being a writer, I know it is one’s imagination that needs to be taken care of first. If your scope is narrow, so is your experience of the world. If your imagination is fertile, your imagination takes wing. You can imagine things before you see them. Which is the basis of any good book. Things don’t have to be spelled out in black and white to be understood.

So the purpose of this little Tuesday night gathering is — do you have any books that fit the above criteria? Creepy, scary, adventurous, fun? Books that keep you awake at night?

Also — has anyone read H.P. Lovecraft’s works? I’ve been thinking of ordering them, as he was ahead of his time in his ideas and writing.

Like blogs, Twitter, and movies, I think recommendations from friends are far more enjoyable than those from an advertiser.

And maybe, through your suggestions, NONE of us will get much sleep.

 

 

 

Dream A Little Dream

GODZILLA - 2014 FILM STILL - Photo Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

In my late night cannot-sleep mental meanderings, I often think how cool it would be if the afterlife were nothing more than eternal dreaming. Long after the neurons stop flashing, I’d still love to exist on a dreamplane someplace. Meeting people, doing weird things, drifting here and there, trying to make sense of nonsense.

Although the way I dream, I’d still have to have a “cosmic” wake up now and then.

They say we all dream. It’s just that some of us linger in the twilight longer than others. Hence, not enough deep sleep equals insomnia, dark circles under the eyes, and weird dreams.

Do you remember your dreams?

I would love to remember more of mine, although the more tendrils I pull out of the dream base, the more nonsense I find.

I do a lot of walking from building to building, making my way through warehouses, offices with eternal hallways, crossing city streets, and back through theaters and more underground buildings. I do a lot of “boss” dreaming, too, past and present, in offices I’ve never seen in my life. Strange people show up in my dreams, often TV or movie types, people I’ve often never given second thought to. I also still dream of my mom, although she’s been on the other side for 30 years.

Of course, weirdness is relative. I’ve seen godzillas in the distance but never a unicorn. I’ve flown and jumped off buildings and been able to take giant bounces down the street but have never gone to another planet. I write a lot of time travel stories, but I have yet to dream about going back in time.

In other words, I don’t encounter my daytime daydreams in my nighttime ones.

Maybe on some level that’s a good thing. Not being able to distinguish dreams from daydreams might be the first step to insanity. And I’m already a deal off-kilter.

But then, that would lead to quite an interesting writing career. Wasn’t Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft a bit on the “eccentric” side? (see http://brainz.org/10-writers-who-were-mentally-disturbed/ for a little eye opener).

I wonder what Stephen King or Dean Koontz dream about?

Maybe I don’t want to see where those tendrils go…

A Way With Words

Glass Textures 067Like many or most of you, I love the written word. When used correctly, words can expand three times their height and width as they push their way into your thoughts and heart. Of course, we all like different words. That’s the beauty of freedom — we can nod at one and shake our head at another, yet appreciate both.

One of the blogs I follow is written by a very creative and talented writer and visual artist. I was struck by her imagery and imagination. I just love the images that pop with each turn. Unfortunately, this creativeness was brought about by a migraine, not the sort of writing prop we look for. While I wish her swift healing and relief from what can be a debilitating episode, I asked (and was granted) permission to share her creativity. It’s a little over 1,300 words, but I think you will appreciate them all.

If you enjoy what you read, pop on over and check out her website: Inner Focus (www.katmphotography.wordpress.com).  It’s a wonderful combination of poetry and art.

 

Delirium

a new fever has me in its clutches… i can feel her long, bony, icy fingers twist my spine and contort my brain… i need paracetamol… i need a glass of water… i need to sleep…

but sleep won’t come easy…

paracetamol… a glass of water… bed.

i climb into bed… i am shaking… my hands are tingling… am i hungry..? am i over-tired..? i feel exhausted… i feel sick… nausea rushes at me like a jealous mistress… my head feels twice the size it should be… my forehead is hot… my feet are cold… i am shaking… i swallow the pills and wash them down with a long drink of water.

i climb into bed… the pillow feels cool beneath my heavy skull… i close my eyes and then it starts… i must ride this out until it breaks…

micro flashing neon lights spark inside my minds eye, igniting visions… visions… murky, but i look deeper… deeper into the grain and chaos… i see a face… a man’s face… it is Stalin… he is standing outside an old house… a house on a wild beach… a house with a red door… suddenly, he vomits all over himself… then dissolves into a puddle on the ground… i look out to sea… but the sea is not a sea… it is a vast expanse of rippling silken fabric, billowing in the breeze… i look up to the sky… a pterodactyl swoops in low over the water towards me… i duck for cover and close my eyes tight, anticipating being snatched up by the giant predatory bird… nothing… the wind has picked up the pace and snatches my breath… i gasp and open my eyes… i find myself atop one of the steel eagles that grace the lofty Chrysler Building in NYC… i am terrified… the wind is strong… my hair whips my face… i am too scared to look down… but i do… and now my palms are wet, sweating… i cannot hold on, i lose my grip… but wait! i am typing… i am sat at a desk, in the middle of a forest, and i am typing… typing incoherent words on a sheet of stiff, white paper… The typewriter is old and battered and clunky… a pale blue Olivetti electric typewriter… my curious eyes follow the flex… it is plugged into a giant snail… the sound of my fingers tapping the keys rattles my brain… the words make no sense… the words make me shiver… i open a cupboard… an old farmhouse style larder- just like the one my Aunt Mary had at Fullerton Farm… i open the door and find hundreds of tins of Baked Beans… i close the door… but the door is a mirror now… i stare at my own reflection… i smile to her, but she does not smile back… she is naked… pale, gaunt… two headless horses appear behind me… one black as night, The other white as snow… the white one speaks to me in a language i cannot comprehend… but we start to dance… the floor beneath me turns to silver sand… the sun is beating down on me… i pull the quilt around me and nestle into the comfort and familiarity of my bed, despite the madness of these visions… visions i have no control over… i cannot make them stop… they come, in a flood… my mind is a fairground… i look at my hands… six fingers on each hand… i cut off the tips of my fingers with a large pair of shears… they are bleeding… i put on a pair of bright yellow rubber gloves and go outside into the night… there are two moons in the sky… both are full and resplendent… the night is cool… i am alone… i look to my left and the buildings start to crumble and fall… an apple falls from the sky and rolls towards me, stopping at my feet… It speaks to me… beckoning me to take bite… i pick up the lilac apple and bite into its soft, juicy flesh… it tastes salty… so i throw it away… it explodes on impact… in the distance, i hear a child’s voice… it is my lover’a son… he appears out of nowhere, wearing a flappy bird t-shirt and red jeans… he is barefoot, as i am… he takes my hand and tells me to follow him… i do… suddenly, i find myself, alone, inside a computer… i look at my hands… i am made of pixels… i peer through the screen and see a morbidly obese man, sitting on his sofa with a boxful of donuts… he is playing a computer game… he is controlling me and my movements… he is controlling the CGI world i now find myself locked in… i like it here, but i cannot stay… i call out for my lover’a son… but he is gone… he has left me a note… it reads “gone fishing, be home Tuesday!”… i smell coffee… i look down and find myself in a bathtub full of warm, steaming coffee… it stains my skin… my lover appears… he dries my wet skin with a cloud, gently patting it dry… he lovingly combs my wet hair and strokes my face… we kiss… and float out the wind into space… we swim through the stratosphere and look back at Earth… it looks radiant and blue… i take a bite… it tastes like battery acid… the shock cuts my tongue and i spit out blood and a chunk of France… “it never used to taste like this…” says my lover, his eyes filled with tears… he spits a mouthful of India out into the blue stratospheric air… he fades into the night… “soon…” he says, blowing kisses as he dissolves into the ether… i find myself in a deep, Belfast sink… the cold tap is turned on and the sink is filling up with tiny sea horses and goldfish… they sparkle and shimmer and swim around me… but i need to urinate… i open my eyes, climb out of bed and make my way to the bathroom across the hall… my legs are shaking… i feel weak… perhaps sleep will come soon… i hope for a dreamless sleep… but instead, i find myself in a field full of rabbits… hundreds and thousands of rabbits… rabbits of all different colours… the pink ones are my favourites… odd… i hate the colour pink… but they are the friendliest… i reach up to the sky and reel in the sun… i hold it in my hands… it burns, but only momentarily… my cold hands chill its fire and it turns from burning amber to brittle blue… the sun shatters in my hands… i am left holding fragments of turquoise glass… i throw the shards up into the air… they tinkle and twinkle against the sky, like dying light… The tranquility of their peaceful chimes turns into an ugly chaos as the fragments of harmless light turn into bullets… they rain down all around me… everything has turned to dust… children lie dead around me… women scream… another bomb goes off… the ground shakes, like the thunder of the apocalypse… there is no colour… everything is grey… the course of death… i hear the wail of an electric guitar… someone, somewhere is playing a guitar… it wails, like a wounded animal… i cover my ears and crouch down, holding myself… crying… i open my eyes and see a young deer, chewing a leafy twig, at the foot of my sweating bed…

the pillow is damp… i turn it over and, with trembling hands, i gulp down a glass of cold, clean water… i close my eyes… please let me sleep… a dreamless sleep… please… these rapid fire flashbacks of former trips inside my minds eye and visions of my subconscious’ innermost thoughts and fears, as surreal as they are, are raping my brain… i am exhausted… i want calm… i want to feel well again… i look at the time… three hours have passed… i have been away for three hours…

i take two more pills, and water… and close my eyes…

but wait! my feet are covered in sand…

 

 

To Dream or Not to Dream…That Is the Question

       33 To Dream or Not to Dream     One of the yin-yangs of hormone fluctuation is sleep, or lack of it.  Between hot flashes and finding a comfortable position, my REM’s make rare visits,  leaving my consciousness floating in the bubbles of semi-sleep through the world of dreams.  Now, many people say they don’t dream; others leave a notepad on their nightstand so they can record the ching chang jumble that comes out in the middle of the night.  I believe we all dream, but length, depth and retaining capacity is what makes everyone’s claim different.

         Scientists and talk show hosts tell us our lives are influenced by anything and everything, and our dreams are one way of dealing with all of it. Dreams, and  their alter ego, nightmares, can result from everything from eating pizza before bed to an argument earlier in the day. Dreams can be triggered by stress, anticipation, having too much time on your hands or, more likely, not enough.  Scary movies, sappy movies, long distance phone calls — everything can leave a chip in your mind that can explode into a myriad of dreamy scenarios.

            The great thing about this flight through those shadowed clouds, though, is the variety of experiences it presents.  I doubt my conscious mind could make up half the things my subconscious does. And if it could, would it be as fun?  In my dreams I interact with bosses from 20 years ago and talk to family members who are no longer with me.  I wander the halls of my grade school, look out on Lake Michigan from a high-rise balcony, and walk through castles of long ago.  I have driven off cliffs and been chased by  unseen dragony/monster things. I have stood in a shadowy alley talking to Edward Norton and had coffee with Kiefer Sutherland.  I have run from building to building to building, either looking for something or trying to get somewhere, and have jumped and bounced and flown my way across the landscape.

            Where in Jove’s name do we get these ideas from? 

           Being a writer, I often bring some of the unearthliness of my subconscious and put it into forms that entertain me and others. Without analyzing every laugh and tear, I try to bring these esoteric beings into my writing. The more nonsensical, the better. Other people transform their dreams into paintings, gardens, photography, and card making. 

            Of course, the down side of dreams is that they don’t always give you a direct answer to your cosmic questions.  It is fairly obvious that when I dream of my son as a toddler rather than a college kid, I am searching for the olden days connection we had when I was omnipotent and he was subservient.  When I am wandering through corridors and cross loading docks and down long hallways filled with shops and warehouses and theaters I am lost in more ways than I care to admit. But instead of interpreting these dreams as portents of bad things to come, I would rather see them as insights to the possibilities that lie ahead. We have the ability to choose which meanings we take to heart and which  we toss out.  We can choose to see rain in the clouds or we can just see clouds.  We can choose to see dragons shapes or bouncy cotton balls in those clouds or we can just see clouds. 

            The best course is always to take a little of both. Don’t ignore the clouds that are really thunderheads, and don’t get the idea of stepping out of a plane to bounce on their springy tops.  But also let those clouds be dragons or snakes or baby diapers. Nod at the thread of reality that runs through the middle, then make what you will of the rest.   Don’t worry what others think your dreams mean, or if you can’t remember their endings.  The old adage that it’s the journey that counts, not the destination, is just as true in your onscious state of mind as in your conscious one.  Don’t read more into your dreams than what is there.  And create whatever you want from them.

            As for me, I’m looking forward to tonight.  I told Kiefer I’d meet him at the coffee shop sometime around eleven.  Maybe I’ll even ride my dragon there.