Saturday, November 26, 2011

Strange Dreams and Voices

Time was I used to have vivid dreams. Sleep was a veritable adventure for me, which perhaps explains my love of it and my bed. I can't actually remember when the dreams stopped and sleep ended with just realising I was awake and still tired, but for the last three nights they've been back.


First off was an interesting ride through some post-apocalyptic zombie-strewn landscape. You'd think that would be a nightmare, but in truth it was more of an adventure. The over-riding concern was that I and my fellow survivors not get splashed by any blood or other fluids from the zombies as we fought them. We all helped each other, and I woke with a warm feeling of camaraderie. Still tired, though.


Yesterday's affair was somewhat more disjointed. It started with the Horse Doctor and me taking a small crab and starfish down to the beach to put them back in the sea. For some unspecified reason this was very important, but as I held the starfish, two teeth appeared in the end of one of its stars and it bit me. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.


As we approached the water's edge, something orange and wolf-like appeared, washed up by the waves. It was genuinely scary at first, and probably dead, but then it morphed into a rather bedraggled orange fluffy cat, with a collar on that said it belonged to someone in Poole, Dorset. Strange how that one detail sticks. I couldn't make out anything else on the collar, so I took it off, at which point the cat escaped and I had to chase after it. There was a brief appearance by Mr Stuart's cat, Grendel, who strangely appeared to have had kittens, and then I finally managed to catch the orange cat in someone's overgrown garden. Alas, I woke, again tired, before I could return her to her owner in Poole, Dorset.


This morning's dream was not so vivid and I have forgotten the details. I did wake feeling happy though, which is a first for a long time.* Still tired, mind you. I never wake refreshed and it generally takes me until about lunchtime to get myself up to speed these days.


But I'm glad to be dreaming again. Or maybe I've always been dreaming but the alarm buggers up remembering them. The morning of the first dream, my alarm failed to go off and I overslept by an hour. Whatever the reason, though, I love the disjointed logic of dreams and the way the brain weaves together disparate thoughts and memories into something that makes absolutely no sense but is in every other way completely plausible.


And then there's the voices. The other night I was struggling to stay awake whilst reading just one more chapter of the latest work in progress before turning out the light. For some strange reason, the song Henrietta by the Fratellis was bouncing around inside my head - this happens sometimes, especially when I'm tired. Not necessarily Henrietta by the Fratellis, of course, any music will do. Life would be pretty dull if your brain only ever played you Henrietta by the Fratellis, after all. Sometimes it's got to give you Tori Amos singing Bliss, or maybe even the waltz from Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. My brain is a veritable ipod shuffle of half-songs and refrains, snatched bits of music on infinite loop, and has been since long before the ipod shuffle was invented. Occasionally it even invents its own tunes.


But I digress. It was the Fratellis singing Henrietta, from their debut album Costello Music. I suspect this was the last song I'd listened to whilst cutting and piling up gorse that afternoon - that's usually enough to birth the ear-worm and it can sit silent for hours, just waiting for the right moment to start burrowing through my brain. 


I could tell I was getting tired and losing concentration on the reading because the music was getting more and more detailed. And because I'd had to read the same paragraph two or three times just to stop the words from moving around. Then, as if there were a volume control in my head, Henrietta faded softly down to nothing, and the clear voice of a young woman said:


'It's just so unfair.'


And then the music faded back up again. 


It's not often that I hear voices, but I do from time to time. Now before you start thinking I'm some kind of raving lunatic here, this is not 'hearing voices' in any kind of psychotic manner. I am always aware that this is my own mind at work here, usually on the cusp of falling asleep - quite possibly actually asleep but not quite realising it yet. These are not voices urging me on to unspeakable acts of depravity, or persuading me that children are the source of all evil and need to be eliminated from the world. They are just simple snippets of everyday conversation - possibly even something I've heard during the day and forgotten about. Even the clarity of the voice, and the subtle turning down and back up again of the music, were nothing but a product of my tiredness. There is no message to be found in the voice of a young woman telling me of some unspecified injustice, unless you take from it a plea from my subconscious to stop reading, turn out the light and go to sleep. At least, I hope there isn't.


But it's weird all the same, and quite spooky when you're all alone and the wind is howling outside.


I heard the voice two nights ago, started remembering my dreams the morning before it happened. I have recently finished a major rewrite of my Debut Dagger shortlisted novel, Natural Causes, and have been giving it a final read-through before deciding what to do with it next. In many ways I'm starting to be more creative after way too long of doing nothing, either due to tiredness or apathy or even the creeping depression that's been my companion in one form or another probably since my parents died more than three years ago. I take from this not the thought that I might be descending into some new kind of madness, but that my creative juices are finally flowing again.**


Here's hoping the dreams persist and that the voices never get too insistent.






Quite what happy was doing in bed with me, I've no idea.
** eww.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Ellen said...

Oddly, your dream with the orange cat coincided with the beginning of the demise of my orange cat. Strange, that.

December 03, 2011 5:28 pm  

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