Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Brain Finds Stories for Idle Minds

I remember posting previously that when I’m not actively working on a book, my brain will start to come up with stories that play out while I dream. Since I’m currently between tales, I had one of those dreams the other night.

As with most dreams that fade after waking, the details are a bit fuzzy. But there are some things I remember clearly. For one thing, I dreamed I was spending time with a friend from my high school days. We were in town for someone’s wedding. Now, this particular friend happens to be gifted in that peculiar way that so many of my friends seem to be. In fact, there are times that she is flat-out scary. If I were to tell her that she ran the gamut from “psychic” to “psycho” she’d just laugh at me and probably agree.

So in my dream, she and I had gone for a jog. This is not something we’ve ever done, but it is in line with something we would have done at one point. And while we were running, she…disappeared. I mean, she simply vanished. She was about three strides ahead of me one moment, and the next she was nowhere to be found. My dream-self looked for her: checking ahead to see if she’d gone into sprint mode; looking down the next alley (we were city jogging in my dream) to see if she’d turned a corner; glancing behind to see if I had somehow passed her. But no, she wasn’t anywhere around me.

Then the scene completely switched and I was alone, in bed for the night. Something had awakened me from sleep and in the brief second from deep sleep to full wakefulness, I realized there was someone else in the room. Someone no longer of this world, so to speak. I was aware of it and it was aware of me. So I did what any normal person would do: I pulled the blankets up over my head and willed it to go away. It didn’t want to be ignored. I could hear it moving around on the other side of the bed, shifting things, knocking against the closet door, rustling alongside the mattress as if it were walking right up against the blankets. At one point, it even turned on the light and I could see brightness through the covers over my face, but I ignored that and at last, after a few more bangings and rustlings, it went away.

And all while this was going on, my dream-self was aware that I was dreaming and also aware that something in my real bedroom was making real noise and also flashed a light. The light can be explained, even in the real, wide-awake world. We charge our phones on a night-table that’s up against the wall and every time my husband gets an e-mail, which is frequently—even in the middle of the night, his phone screen lights up like a Hollywood premiere, so I imagine that is what I was seeing, whether awake or asleep. The noises, however, stand on their own.

I’m not surprised I would dream about a wedding even if it stayed in the background. That’s coming up in a future story. And I’m not really surprised I would dream about a nocturnal visitor from beyond the grave. They’re on my mind all the time anyway. I assume this is just my writing brain telling me to get out of holiday mode and get on with it, already. Lord knows the house has been telling me the same thing.

Scenes and dialogue have been coming to me so I guess I’d better make a start very soon. Otherwise the dreams will keep coming. And I can’t even talk about my last waking dream this morning…

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