Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nightmares and Dreamscapes

Last night was not very restful. I had a hard time falling asleep, and I woke up at three in the morning from a nightmare. It's vague and fuzzy now, but there was something about a guy who was possessing people and I had to stop him, and save the people he was hurting. There were spirits and demons involved. It doesn't sound like it (nightmare never do) but it was scary. I woke up, certain there was a demon in the room with me.

I got up to use the bathroom, and had to avoid the mirror. I have this weird thing with mirrors. Most of the time, I think nothing of them. They are just there. But after a nightmare I can't look at them, because I am afraid I will see someone standing behind me, or something will reach out and grab me. I NEVER played "Bloody Mary", even as a kid.

Because here's the thing: when you're a writer, you tell yourself stories. Even if you're writing literary fiction, you are still making stuff up. I write fantasy, so believing in what isn't real goes double for me. During the day, when I am rational, I know elves and fairies and ghosts and demons don't exist. At least, I sort of know that. I am willing to concede that there is a possibility there are things out there we don't know about, but I don't actively search for it.

But at three in the morning, when it's pitch black out and no one's awake? That certainty goes straight out the window. No matter what I tell myself as I lay there in bed, I still think there *might* be something under my bed that is going to reach up and grab my ankle. And no amount of rationale will change that.

I think this is a negative side effect to writing. Or being creative in general. I spend so much time thinking about people and events that are a product of my imagination, and believing in them, giving them words and weight, that sometimes after I just wake up, this flexibility in my suspension of disbelief turns out to be a hinderance.

As a result, I am sooooo tired today. The thought of going to work makes me tired. I have a list of things I need to do, and I am doing them, but S-L-O-W-L-Y. I was hoping to be extra productive today, but things aren't looking so great. Unless of course I add to my list of things to do. For example, I already took a shower today. Check. Ate breakfast. Check. Wrote a blog post. Check. Go to work. Check soon enough. I guess if I extend my creativity further, I could add even more things to my list of things to do. Breathe. Check. Brush hair. Check. Get dressed. Check. Read other people's blogs. Check. 

See?! I am feeling more productive already! I guess it's time to do what I actually need to do--work on my notecard outline--though. I am getting so close to being ready, that it's tantalizing me. But yesterday I made chicken pot pie for my parents from scratch. They loved it, but it took longer than I thought it would. 

Hey, I can add to my list! Make dinner for parents; have enough for leftovers today. Check.

What do you guys do when you have bad dreams? Am I the only one who think is has to do with being creative?


  1. First of all, how am I only just now finding you? The amount we have in common is uncanny...

    Secondly, you are so right. I had a similar night last night, oddly enough. No nightmares, at least not the sleeping kind, but I couldn't sleep at all. And when I got out of bed to go to the bathroom, I had to avoid the mirror (I was so terrified of Bloody Mary! I probably still couldn't do it today), and then I heard a noise in the house.

    Now, a rational person would be sitting on the pot thinking, "Well the house is modular and more than 10 years old, it's bound to make noise. Plus I have a cat. Probably just him." But no, this isn't where my mind went at all. Instead I was imagining nothing short of a vampire draining the blood of all of my family members down the hall. I (literally) ran back into my bedroom and jumped from the doorway to the bed like I used to when I was a kid (because I don't want what's hiding underneath to grab my ankles!!).

    Finally got to sleep around 4:00 AM I think. Ugh... I'm exhausted.



  2. @Tara: Maybe we were separated at birth?

    I refuse to do Bloody Mary, even now. Mirrors just creep me out. And last night, I heard a noise in my room and had the awful idea that someone was sitting in the room with me. Eeep! I had to turn on the light to make sure. I don't know why my brain likes to torture me, but I plan to put this into the book I am writing for NaNo. Take that subconscious!

    Thanks for following me! :D

  3. Oh yes, I awake from nightmares or just weird dreams all the time. I also wake up at 3 a.m. with the perfect solution to my plot problems...and of course have to get up and sneak out of the room so I can go write it down...and I never get back to sleep. I have learned to survive on 3-4 hours of sleep/night most nights.

    Great blog. :)

  4. When I have a bad dream, I usually try to think of what may have prompted it. But one, when my son was 3, even though I KNEW what had prompted it, made me go and make sure he was breathing. (It was a parent's worst nightmare - in the dream, he died; I "saw" him take his last breath. I woke with my heart pounding. Oh, and yes, he was breathing.)

    I rarely have a decent night's sleep, though. That, I suspect, is the root of my health problems. I plow through the days as best I can.

  5. @Lola: First great name! I've always loved the name Lola. Welcome to my blog! It's great to see you! I don't know how you survive on that little sleep though...I think I would have a nervous breakdown if I only got that much sleep consistently.

    @Linda: I am pretty sure my story about ghosts didn't help the nightmare. Even though I know it's just a dream, it doesn't seem to make things any better. It's weird.