Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Ray Villafane

Artists who truly create from the heart leave lasting impressions on our minds and hearts

44575200-cached-1

Sometimes, those memories are mixed with a bit of awe, a bit of amazement

ae4d9f3eed805438918e7e48e1ab6951_f605

and a bit of fear

halloween-pumpkin-carvings-villafane-studios-24

Ray Villafane graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1991.

44575200-cached-2

Having a passion for children, he elected for a career in teaching.

44575200-cached-6

After several custom-carved requests from students’ parents, Ray realized he was on to something with his pumpkins and started offering them to local hotels and restaurants.

3af7889cb1e2f6c8607e271c6b35c960_f255

Ray’s hobby of pumpkin carving exploded after winning the Grand Prize for Food Network’s Outrageous Pumpkin Challenge I and II.

44575200-cached-15

The rest, as the cliché points out, is history.

ray-villafane-pumpkin-carvings-24

More of Ray Villafane‘s extraordinary talents can be found at his website

http://villafanestudios.com/.

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.

Quotes About Dreams

stock-photo_george-redhawkOctober is for Dreams

 

With the growth of social media, people are throwing out inspirational and tell-tale quotes left and right. So in honor of October, the month of Dreams, I have gathered some wonderful ditties you can post away whenever you are in need of something deep, warm, and mystical to say.

 

Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. ~ Oscar Wilde

I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now? ~John Lennon

It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream. ~ Edgar Alan Poe

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. ~ T.E.  Lawrence

A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars. ~ Victor Hugo

I’ve dreamed a lot. I’m tired now from dreaming but not tired of dreaming. No one tires of dreaming, because to dream is to forget, and forgetting does not weigh on us, it is a dreamless sleep throughout which we remain awake. In dreams I have achieved everything. ~ Fernando Pessoa

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together. ~ Jack Kerouac

The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened. ~ James Arthur Baldwin

All men whilst they are awake are in one common world: but each of them, when he is asleep, is in a world of his own. ~ Plutarch

Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy. ~ Sigmund Freud

Deaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or Shakespeare. ~ H.F. Hedge

Dreams are more real than reality itself, they’re closer to the self. ~ Gao Xingjian

In sleep, fantasy takes the form of dreams. But in waking life, too, we continue to dream beneath the threshold of consciousness, especially when under the influence of repressed or other unconscious complexes. ~ Carl Jung

Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you. ~ Marsha Norman

A dream is a microscope through which we look at the hidden occurrences in our soul. ~ Erich Fromm

Dreams are the most curious asides and soliloquies of the soul. When a man recollects his dream, it is like meeting the ghost of himself. Dreams often surprise us into the strangest self-knowledge…. Dreaming is the truest confessional, and often the sharpest penance. ~ Alexander Smith

The answer is dreams. Dreaming on and on. Entering the world of dreams and never coming out. Living in dreams for the rest of time.” ~ Haruki Murakami

You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting. ~ J.M. Barrie

 

 I was born to catch dragons in their dens

And pick flowers

To tell tales and laugh away the morning

To drift and dream like a lazy stream

And walk barefoot across sunshine days. ~ James Kavanaugh

 

 

Angels and Witches and Dreams

s-l1000October is for Dreams

 

Ever since I started this month-long series on Dreams and Nightmares, my night life has really been cranked up. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been focusing more on my crazy dreams, wanting to remember them more, or are just fascinated by the worlds that are only accessable through those states.

I want to end the month with more light and fascination.

I really love the bloggings of Austin and his blog The Return of the Modern Philosopher. He is funny and creative and talks to gargoyles, THE devil, and other various characters about life, love, politics, and everything inbetween.

The following blog is from way back in 2013. It is based on a supposed “fever”, but, knowing Austin, it could be just another state of reality. But it does tie in wonderfully into my October is for Dreams segment. Enjoy!

 

Delirious Ramblings Of An Angelic Man In A Cauldron Fever Dream

Posted on November 10, 2013 by Austin

I remember waking up on the porch of The House on the Hill, Modern Philosophers.  I was still in my pajamas with my Magic robe pulled tightly around me.

I was soaked in sweat as I slowly opened my eyes and glanced out upon the falling snow.  Why was I sleeping with my glasses on?  Why was I out on the porch?  Was I shivering from the cold or from my fever?

“Why are you out here, Austin?” came the sweet, soothing, familiar voice to my left.

I glanced over, and the mere act of moving my head sent a violent pain throbbing through my skull.  My tired eyes focused on the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen, Rachel the Archangel.  Her wings were still visible and she held her mighty, flaming sword in her right hand, a sure sign that she sensed a threat.

I told her I didn’t know why I was on the porch.  She strode towards me, her eyes constantly checking to make sure there were no surprises.  After what seemed like an eternity, she finally arrived at where I sat.  Her big, brown eyes looked down at me, she sighed, and then finally smiled.

“You don’t look so good,” Rachel advised as her wings vanished and the flame extinguished on her sword.  “Judging from the sweat pouring off of you and that deranged look in your eyes, I’d say you have a fever.  Let’s get you inside.”

She reached out and offered her hand.  The second I grabbed it, I felt a chill race through me.  My body temperature immediately began to drop as goose bumps popped up over every inch of my 6’3″ frame.

I told Rachel how beautiful she was, and that I knew she would come for me.

“I’ll always come for you, Austin,” she cooed and that was the last thing I remember. The next time I opened my eyes, I was in my bed and saw my three closest Witch friends staring down at me.

“He’s finally awake,” Ti-Diana whispered to Waltzing Matilda and Volcanica Ivy.  All three of them approached the bed with caution.  “How are you feeling?”

My throat was dry and extremely sore, but I managed to ask them where Rachel was.

“The Archangel?” Volcanica Ivy asked as she looked down on me with concern.  “She wasn’t here when we arrived.  Are you expecting her?”

Why had Rachel left?  Did she just bring me up to bed and vanish?  Then I saw it.  Rachel’s sword was leaning up against the wall in the corner of the room.  She had been here.

“Gary the Gargoyle came to fetch us,” Waltzing Matilda explained as if she thought the perplexed look on my face meant I was wondering how the three most powerful Witches in Maine had come to be in my bedroom.  “He told us that you’ve been extremely ill and wandering aimlessly around the house.”

“We’ve come to cure you with Magic,” Ti-Diana assured me as she squeezed my shoulder.  “There’s a cauldron of Feevahbraykor Elixir bubbling down in the sun room.  Once it’s ready, we’ll give you a dose and all will be well.”

“Just rest for now,” Volcanica Ivy suggested.  “You need sleep.” The next time I opened my eyes, I was on the couch in the living room.  I was in my pajamas with my Magic robe wrapped tightly around me.  My fever was gone, and The House on the Hill smelled as if an apothecary had exploded in the next room.

I got up to wander into the sun room and find the source of the smell, but the room was empty.  The only thing I discovered was a dark smudge in the middle of the floor, as if something large, round, and hot had been set there.

I trudged up the stairs, crawled into bed, and settled in under the covers.  I looked over to the corner, expecting to see something there, but there was nothing.  I couldn’t quite remember what I thought would be there, and my mind was too tired to form any further Deep Thoughts on the topic.

I’m pretty sure I fell asleep the second I closed my eyes…

The Significance of Dreams — H.P. Lovecraft

h_p__lovecraft_mosaic_by_koscielny-d7m2fzxOctober is for Dreams

 

Howard Phillips (H.P.) Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction. His major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror — the fact that life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien. Lovecraft’s writings were influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, and like Poe, was virtually unknown and only published in pulp magazines before he died in poverty. Fortunately for us, he is now regarded as one of the most significant 20th-century authors in his genre.

I like to describe Lovecraft’s works as eloquent, cerebral, and very curly-q-ish. The following clip is the first paragraph from his short story “Beyond the Wall of Sleep.” I know it might be hard to read at first, but take one sentence at a time. Savor it. Let the sentence linger on your tongue, in your senses. And let his reflections about dreams open your own thoughts.

 

Beyond the Wall of Sleep

I have frequently wondered if the majority of mankind ever pause to reflect upon the occasionally titanic significance of dreams, and of the obscure world to which they belong. Whilst the greater number of our nocturnal visions are perhaps no more than faint and fantastic reflections of our waking experiences—Freud to the contrary with his puerile symbolism—there are still a certain remainder whose immundane and ethereal character permits of no ordinary interpretation, and whose vaguely exciting and disquieting effect suggests possible minute glimpses into a sphere of mental existence no less important than physical life, yet separated from that life by an all but impassable barrier. From my experience I cannot doubt but that man, when lost to terrestrial consciousness, is indeed sojourning in another and uncorporeal life of far different nature from the life we know; and of which only the slightest and most indistinct memories linger after waking. From those blurred and fragmentary memories we may infer much, yet prove little. We may guess that in dreams life, matter, and vitality, as the earth knows such things, are not necessarily constant; and that time and space do not exist as our waking selves comprehend them. Sometimes I believe that this less material life is our truer life, and that our vain presence on the terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon.

You can find full texts of H.P. Lovecraft’s writings at the following sites:

http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/ or http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/.

Enjoy!

 

October Dream Poetry

9572440208093fac1c038300b1bd0500October is for Dreams

 

Dream House

I went to the house of the Lady of Dreams
For a dream to carry away
That should ferry me over the blackest streams
I had to cross by day;

For comforting dreams from her small white hands
Rise up like butterflies,
And dreams like the lakes in old fairylands
Lie back of her shining eyes,

And gold-riddled dreams like tapestries
Cling painted along her walls
And yellow bird-dreams from shadow-trees
Come fluttering when she calls;
And all of the day-dark when she spoke
Was shattered and rainbow-hung,
And she gave me a dream like a scarlet cloak
And a dream like a wreath rose-strung . . .

But I went from the house of the Lady of Dreams
And my packet of dreams blew wide,
And only a red-rose cloud in streams
Swung torn in the west outside!

Margaret Widdemer, 1918

 

Margaret Widdemer (1884-1978) was an American author who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (known then as the Columbia University Prize) in 1919 for her collection The Old Road to Paradise (1918).

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 Give Us Strength

 

landscape-022October is for Dreams

 

The other side of night is day. Despair, hope. That is what the dream world provides. An escape from the horrors or pressures or stress of the day, or perhaps a continuation of the love, good times, and everlasting friendships of the day. Either way, the word “dreams” become part of our every day vocabulary.

I follow a blogger who has become a good friend through the years. Ann Koplow has been writing through the ups and downs of life, including a very recent heart surgery. Her blogs are full of unique pictures that relate to her topic at hand…all written with hope and love and a bit of humor. She shows us all that we should never stop dreaming.

It is her blog of December 28, 2015, that I bring to you this evening. If you like the ring of dreams, please check her blog The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally.

 

Day 1092: Dreams

Here are some of my associations with “Dreams” on this Monday of the week between Christmas and the New Year of 2016:

  • This time of year feels particularly dream-like to me.
  • I think and talk a lot about dreams, at work and elsewhere.
  • One of my favorite books is Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill, about the amazing healing that happens when people share dreams in groups.
  • Even though I’ve been living the dream of blogging daily for (almost) three years, I’ve written only four previous posts with “Dreams” in the title (here, here, here, and here).
  • When I got my first cardiac pacemaker at age ten in 1963, my being alive and well over fifty years later was just a dream.
  • I’ve had several dream jobs — including creating the recruitment video for Berklee College of Music in the 1990s — but nothing more satisfying than my current work as a psychotherapist.
  • When I was 44 years old, I consciously gave up the dream of ever having a child.
  • One month later, I found out I was pregnant with my dreamy son, Aaron.
  • Two nights ago I had a dream when I was falling from a great height to certain death, but because I knew I was dreaming, I wasn’t afraid, at all.
  • If a dream comes true and I get a call-back when I try out for The Voice on February 21, I’m going to sing  Mad World, which has this line:  The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had.

Because I was dreaming so much yesterday, I forgot to take many photos. Which of these images seems the most dream-like, to you?

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.

Flash Fiction Dreams

41524-autumn-leaf-heartOctober is for Dreams

 

This flash fiction piece was inspired by my first novel (yet to be published), about a woman who drives through a cornfield, crashes into an old oak tree, and wakes up in small town 1880.

Was it a dream? Or did it really happen? Who is to say?

 

Pretzel Dawn

Her car streaks down the highway in the granite dawn, her heartbeat matching the thrum of the tires. Fluorescent pinpoints from distant skyscrapers become nothing more than blurred starlight as she madly races towards her destiny…a destiny she has waited to fill longer than she can remember.

A sliver of apprehension cuts into her thoughts. A foreboding, like a ghost crossing her path.  Why is it an effort to remember the number of the exit? Why does the city in the distance waver as if seen through crackled glass?

Metropolis turns into suburbia and then into country, yet she cannot slow down. Eventually the Buick veers from the concrete onto the tarmac of some long forgotten road lined with the skeletal remains of fall.  Her window is open, the last breath of night air chilling her, thrilling her.  It’s not far now.  Instinct drives her forward ― instinct and desire.  He is somewhere ahead, pacing on the dew-covered grass beneath the maple archway. Watching. Waiting. She senses the sparkle of his chocolate eyes, his scent of sweat and hay and the muskiness from his turn-of-the-century charm.

The road ahead is shadowed.  She doesn’t remember the giant oak tree on her last drive through this part of the countryside, nor the weathered barn in the distance.  She cannot remember many details of her last visit — but it doesn’t matter.  Her heart pounds faster as crimson streaks highlight the horizon.  She cannot bear to let him slip away again.  Not without a word, without a touch.  He is dark and deep, passion and fury, a flicker of days gone by. He said he would wait for her, and she promised to return.

The car’s acceleration slows, and tears of frustration well in her blue eyes. She is lost.  Too many turns. Too many distractions.  She cannot tell cliffs from moors, fields from meadows.  The dark crimson glow over her shoulder is now a soft magenta ribboned with blue.  She is running out of time. Hills to mountains to boulders along the side of the crushed gravel road, yet this has to be the way. The road twists in a pretzel design, dead-ending at a forest dark and primeval.  She drives to the maple archway at the edge of the wooded glen and stops.

He stands at the hedgerow, a masculine glow in the twinkling dawn. She fumbles and stumbles through the tall brown grass and into his arms.  She has made her way back through time. Her need reaches out to him in the pale light of morning, his response soothing and gentle. His loving words curve and twist around her soul and down into the abyss of her dreams, curving and twirling and tumbling and swirling until they slowly turn into echoes from a conch shell.  Eternity disappears in a starburst of angel wings, only to reappear as the soft drone of the morning alarm.

 Once again, she has returned. Awake. And alone.

 

October is for Dreams — Dream Poetry

October is for Dreamsred-and-orange-flower-4

 

My thoughts this cool October evening drift to the twilight mist that exists between worlds…the world of dreams. I also love to share the thoughts and creations of other dreamers.

Tonight let me share the magic of my friend and fellow blogger Brenda Davis Harsham. Her blog, Friendly Fairy Tales, is full of poetry and flowers and everything dreamy. Here are her thoughts on dreams.

 

If I Remembered My Dreams

If I remembered my
dreams,
I’d have great stories
with ambushes and
car chases through
city streets. I’d easily
evade cross-dressing
grandma clowns
and black-feathered
ballerinas.
I’d be chased
by giant grasshoppers.
I’d get away
in the nick of time.
I’d soar over over treetops
in a hot air balloon.
I’d solve impossible
theorems.
I’d invent a spaceship
or stow away in one.
I’d speak Spanish,
know the names of
all the stars,
and birds would take
seeds right from my hands.
Instead, I sleep as deep
as the Mariana Trench,
and if I swim with lantern fish,
dine on sea cucumber
or comb my hair with jellyfish,
I will never remember
or wake to tell the tale.

Take some time and wander through Brenda’s website https://friendlyfairytales.com. You’ll be glad you did.