Tag Archives: dreams

Dreambook

I have a lot of dreams, which I usually remember for a little while after I wake up – and then they start fading away. Many mornings I wake up pulled from a really good dream, and then spend some time trying to fall back asleep so I can get back into my dream.

Not that this usually works. But it’s worth a try, and on the odd occasion I do manage to find my way back to the dream, it’s so good.

But one thing I’ve never really done consistently is write down my dreams. I’ve had dreams that were just so epic (and I really mean “epic”, not as in “awesome” but an actual epic) I absolutely had to write them down. But those have been far and few in between.

All this changed early last week, when The Art of Neil Gaiman inspired me to start a dreambook.

I’m nearing the end of this book, a biography of Neil by Hayley Campbell. It’s really good, because it’s based not only on interviews with Neil but also on the trunkloads of papers and notebooks he keeps up in the attic of his house. A real treasure trove for fans (although I must admit to finding his handwriting difficult to decipher!).

And in one section of the book, there is a spread from a few of his dream diaries:

neil gaiman dream diariesFrom The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell

A few pages later, Neil had this to say about his dream diaries:

When I was writing Sandman I would occasionally steal imagery from my dreams, almost never got plots, but occasionally images were incredibly useful. And to this day if there’s a dream that’s just sort of affecting emotionally, I’ll write it down. Which was something I learned to do while I was doing Sandman.

… I would write them down partly because you’d never know what was going to be useful in retrospect, or what might be important in retrospect. Which isn’t to say that I ever went back and reread them, but it is to say some of the time the action of writing stuff down moves it from this weird box in your head of stuff that will evaporate … it moves it from being written in melting snow, to being written onto paper. In terms of the boxes of your mind things are in, it’s changed. (emphasis added)

This really called out to me.  … some of the time the action of writing stuff down moves it from this weird box in your head of stuff that will evaporate it. I’ve experienced that fading of a really good dream so many times, and I really liked the idea of moving my dreams out of that weird box in my head where stuff evaporates.

So the next morning, I woke up from a good dream, and thought to myself, no time like now to start, right? So I popped into my office and grabbed a blank notebook, then sat up in bed and jotted down all the bits of the dream I wanted to remember. I don’t have the book in front of me right now, and despite my writing it down, I couldn’t tell you at all what it was about. But it’s there now, on paper, and if I ever get a moment when I get curious about the first dream I wrote down in my dreambook, I’ll be able to go back and read it.

Not to say the whole writing-down-your-dreams-in-the-morning thing has been going smoothly since I started. For the three or four mornings after I jotted down that first dream, I had such mundane dreams. One of them was about going to a BBQ at my sister’s place (and coincidentally, I was going to a BBQ at my sister’s place later that day). I did jot down a dream in which I was merely an observer, although it wasn’t particularly exciting. It was basically an Anne of Green Gables scene, plotted from beginning to end, set in modern times with a totally different but still sufficiently Anne-ish girl.

And then I had a night when insomnia hit me, and there were no dreams the morning after that!

Still, this feels like a good habit to me, so I’ll keep on doing it for the fun of it.

How about you? Do you remember your dreams? Do you write them down in a dream journal or a notebook?

[TSS] Napping after ‘American Gods’

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Last month, while still in the heat of deadlines, I read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods over the course of ten days. Normally, for a book of this length (the version I read was 588 pages) it would have taken me about two days to finish, but since I was in the middle of deadlines, I didn’t have as much reading time as I would have liked.

Also, I found myself reading every single word, slowly, letting myself be pulled into the atmosphere of the book. Gaiman’s writing is like that, I find; where I’m usually one to gallop through a book, flipping pages, inhaling the story, with his books I tend to take my time. The whole thing becomes quite a joyous ramble.

Over those ten days of reading American Gods, I had two Saturdays during which I was able to devote a good five to six hours to the book. On Saturday mornings I take my son to drama class and then to dance class; consequently, I have time to read while I’m waiting for the classes to finish. That first Saturday, I continued with my reading of American Gods, and, as often happens when I dip into a good book for an extended period of time, when we got home, I picked up the book again and kept reading.

I’m normally a late riser, so another thing happens most Saturdays. By around three or four in the afternoon, I’m tired, and in need of a nap. On that Saturday, I read American Gods until I was in danger of dozing off, and then I did what I normally do on Saturday afternoons. I took a nap.

And I dreamt about American Gods. Not the characters, or the story, but the book itself, the atmosphere woven by the words, the greyness, that sense of something real underlying the not real underlying the real.

It was truly the most awesome thing ever. And, I thought, probably something that wouldn’t happen again.

Except that it did. The next Saturday followed the same pattern – I devoted another five or six hours to American Gods, and then I slept, and I dreamt, and it was the same dream. There I was, deep inside the landscape of American Gods.

I’ve never experienced this before, but I know one thing. At whatever future date I reread American Gods (and I expect I will), I’m going to sleep right after. Because that dream was amazing, and I’d love to have it again.

Gaiman’s words are really magical.

A Mystery Dream

I woke up from a dream that’s been driving me nuts all morning. I have very vivid dreams, and in about half of them, I’m more of an observer, watching events unfold. It can be like watching a movie, and I’ve dreamed many thrilling, blockbuster movie types of dreams.

But never one like the one I had this morning.

One of the characters (let’s call him Bob, just to give him a handle, although he was utterly nameless in my dream) was a detective. And he was investigating the murder of someone. The murder took place in a room filled with about ten people. The room looked like the library in an English manor house. And of course, none of the people saw a thing.

Bob suddenly finds himself back in the same room where the victim died, among the same crowd of people, attending the same kind of cocktail event in which the first victim died. And he’s peering down at the spot where the victim met his end, and suddenly I see his expression change. Something’s flashed through his mind. He knows something! And then BAM! He’s murdered too.

Enter detective no. 2. Let’s call him Lawrence. (He too was nameless in the dream. In fact, everyone was nameless.) Lawrence is now in charge of investigating both murders. He spends some time peering at Bob’s lifeless body, then there’s a fizzy bit (which felt absolutely normal in the dream) and suddenly, just like Bob, he’s back in the room, and it’s filled once again with the same group of people.

And Lawrence is standing where Bob was, examining the spot where both victims died, and I see the same flash of sudden understanding in his face. I mean, I’m prickly all over with his knowledge – except that I don’t know what that sudden knowledge is!

Lawrence straightens up, and my attention is drawn to this auburn-haired woman standing at the other end of the room.

And then I wake up.

So frustrating! Since the dream presented me with no information about motive, or even the identity of the first victim, there’s very little to go on. No forensics evidence – I don’t even know how the victims died. All I know is that the auburn-haired woman is (maybe) the culprit, but I don’t know how she did it.

The questions! What did both Bob and Lawrence see? How did Lawrence know it was the auborn-haired woman? Was it even the auborn-haired woman? And if it was, how did she kill both men in that room, in front of all those people?

I angsted over this all morning and the only thing I could come up with was the not-very-credible idea of a golden hairpin that shoots self-dissolving micro darts filled with a deadly poison. Which might have worked if 007 had been involved in the dream, but Bond was nowhere in sight. No, this one was a classic kind of mystery story.

I think maybe it’s a sign that I’ve been reading way too many mysteries lately.

Any ideas, anyone? And have you ever had a mystery dream, either with or without the solution? This is my first. Despite the frustration of not knowing whodunnit, I did quite enjoy it!

A Rambly Random Wednesday

I’m feeling rather random-ly today, so of course, it means another post of random stuff! Here are the random things that have been delighting me:

Dream analysis. My older son has been getting university acceptances and a few scholarship offers, as well as several phone calls from the universities he’s applied to, so we’ve had lots of celebratory-feeling days around here.

Last night, I dreamed he cooked up a whole batch of bacon – it was crisp and perfectly done. I’ve never really been big on dream analysis, but this one just jumps out at me. Yes! He is going to be successful, bringing home the bacon!

A Clean Desk. I did it. I finally got around to cleaning up my desk. I took a picture, since it’s a rare event and I like to record things like this for future reference (and to remind a certain husband that I can occasionally be tidy).

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And this should give you an idea how I did it – I call it the “everything-in-the-box” method (note: patent pending).

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Writing. I started my first readthrough of my WIP, NANTUCKET, last night and I’m very happy to say that this readthrough is going so much better than the readthrough I did of my NaNoWriMo novel last month. No, it’s not perfect, but there’s stuff I can work on, and the story (so far) is shaping up quite well. (Please feel free to cheer …)

Reading. I finished The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern and have one burning question (don’t worry, not a spoiler):

Did Rosaleen know about the book, or not? If you’ve read the book and have more of a clue about this than I do, please let me know!

Lust Speaking of Husbands. As most of you know, my husband is a martial arts teacher. Now that we have a little dojo in our home, he holds the occasional private class here.

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What this means is that I’m now getting to see him in his black belt uniform again (I hadn’t seen him in his dogi for quite a while, because I rarely make it out to dojo functions these days).

image index_001_001 ward

I’d forgotten I have a tendency to swoon when I see him in his karate dogi. Oddly enough, it’s not the same for me when he’s wearing his aikido uniform or his jodo uniform.

I guess it’s a good thing to be swooning over one’s own husband.

Blog Stuff. I’m hoping to be able to start working on a new look for Ms. Bookish next week, so if you see funny things happening around here, you’ll know why. The dilemma right now is picking a new template. There are just so many – it’s tough to choose just one. I guess it would be too confusing to use several at once!

Exercise. I’ve decided exercise is no longer going to be a dreaded word for me. It helps that I found a picture of me taken not so long ago where I looked decidedly more svelte than I do now. The reminder that it wasn’t that long ago was a good one.

So, treadmill, you and I are going to begin our love affair, starting today tomorrow Friday. I promise!

That’s my random stuff for today. Every now and then, I love a day of random. What random stuff have you been delighting in recently?