Saturday, November 7, 2009

To sleep, perchance to dream...

By Kirsten Scott

My son asked me this morning what was the scariest dream I'd ever had. I didn't have to think very long. When I was a young girl, maybe six or seven, I dreamed that my dad's head fell off. When I woke up, I was trying to reattach it to his neck. I will remember that image, and that feeling of terror, until the day I die.

Now, best dream ever? Flying. I've had a couple of incredible flying dreams and they always leave me astonished at how wonderful they are. The power and grace, the freedom of soaring through the air. They are magical.

After turning in the second book of my young adult series to my editor last month, and finishing up revisions on another book for my agent a couple of weeks ago, I've been in a bit of a writing hiatus. My first for a good many years, actually. Usually, I've got another book itching to be written. It's hard to keep them inside, so I just let them go, one after another. But I got so tired and burnt out with the last book that I really needed a break. So it's been nice to let it all go for a few weeks.

But...(there's always a big butt, right?)...I'm getting the itch. My son's question sent me back to an idea for a series I first started noodling on a few years ago. It has to do with dreamtime, and a rift between the dream world and the "real world." So now I'm thinking about dreams.

They're so powerful, it's hard to believe they're not real. My dream about my dad has lingered for decades, and it's almost as vivid today as it was then. My flying dreams stay with me for weeks, bringing a smile to my face every time I think about them. I can't wait to start working out my characters and plot for this new book. It won't be hard to imagine a world in which dreamtime enters the everyday world. It doesn't feel like much of a stretch.

So -- what about you? Had any vivid dreams lately? Any dreams wallop you with their power -- good or bad? What do you remember: color, smell, taste, touch? Or maybe just a feeling. A feeling that can last for years...Do you think the dream world can be as real as this one?


Helen said...

Is he coming to my place?

Have Fun

Helen said...


I am so happy you have been able to relax for a while and now get back to the writing it must be wonderful to have all those ideas running around inside your head although for me it would be a bit scary.

I very rarely dream or remember what I dream I know that I have had dreams about falling and I always wake up before I hit the ground there is supposed to be some sort of meaning to that dream.
I often wake up feeling jittery I am not sure why but I think that it could have been because of a dream but I don't remember them.

The GR and I are going to have a quiet evening I am reading Beth's book His Secret Agenda and I am loving it love the hat Beth. And of course we have Tim Tams

Have Fun

PinkPeony said...

Hi Kirsten! Helen, the GR will be in good company.

I have flying dreams too. I soar over the city like Sister Bertrille but I only fly at night.

The last vivid dream/nightmare...I was having a dinner party for friends but strangers were showing up and pretty soon the house was filled and I didn't have enough food and I freaked out.

Have a great weekend! Jen

Donna MacMeans said...

Helen - you just beat me! I see the GR will be at your place today. He missed the grandkids!

I can vivdly remember a dream I had years ago of being in an out-of-control car. Actually, I've had variations of that dream through the years, though not recently. The car is flying down the road, narrowly avoiding disaster after disaster, and I'm trapped inside helpless. I remember the emotion, the speed and the sense of being powerless. I always figured it was my subconscious telling me I was overscheduled and that I was racing toward the wrong goal.

I can't recall having that dream once I started writing.

I can't recall having flying dreams, but I have a friend who has and describes them as a spiritual experience. She's told me when she flies she is all-knowing, and everything makes sense. The answers are so clear and simple and peaceful. Would love to have that dream. Can you share (grin)?

Sounds like cool inspiration. Good luck with the development.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I have the dreams I don't remember but like Helen I wake up feeling jittery and scared so I am assuming I don't want to know.

Gillian Layne said...

I've always been a big nightmare person, more so in my childhood but I've a had a few doozies as an adult, as well. I never tell anyone about them. Something about saying the scary parts out loud.

Ever have the ones where, after you wake up, it takes a second or two for you to realize which state is actually reality?

And have you seen the movie about where the scientist is harnessing psychics to go into other people's dreams to kill them in their sleep? It's from the 70's or 80's, I think. In the end the bad guy went after the President in his sleep. It was kind of cheesy, but it gave my friends and I something to talk about for weeks.

Deb Marlowe said...

Congrats on the bird, Helen! I'll bet those grandbabies will love chasing him about!

Kirsten, Congrats on the writing achievements--and the chance to have some breathing space! Look how good the pay-off is--great ideas for a new series!

I think that dreams definitely can *feel* as real as the real world. I'm like you, when I have a good dream, I like to savor it! It's like having a fun secret, cheers you up all day.

Buffie said...

I had a dream several years ago that I will always remember. It was of my grandfather (who had past away a few years prior). We were together, taking a walk with his little dog like we used to do when I was a small girl. Only this time I was an adult. My grandfather (who was not a big talker in real life) talked to me about loving my family, being there for my family and friends, taking the time to enjoy life, and remembering to walk in the sunshine with those I love. To do this when I think of that dream, it still brings tears to my eyes.

Barbara Monajem said...

In my best-remembered nightmare, my hand was disintegrating... the skin gone, all the veins showing... I woke up, and my hand was asleep!

I had a very vision-like dream a long time ago. The colors were incredibly vivid. I was on a beach with a young man. He was headed for the water, and I was trying to get him to come back... Here there be monsters! But he didn't pay any heed.

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Kirsten!

You know, every time I was pregnant I had incredibly vivid dreams. That crazy flood of hormones did something to my subconscious and every night was a wild adventure.

I don't usually have very memorable dreams anymore but just the other night I dreamed I was nursing my youngest again. That warm weight of an infant in my arms, that chubby little hand patting my chest, the clean baby smell, stroking that soft little leg, holding that fat little foot....

I woke up with my arms aching. And then went in to wake up those enormous beasts my children have become. :-) It was such a beautiful treat to remember a cherished moment so vividly.

Joan said...

Very cool post, Kirsten.

I dream every night and with rare exception remember most or at least bits of the dreams.

I dream almost exclusively in color and have felt emtions in my dreams.

I'm fortunate in that I don't often have nightmares and when I do I can usually attribute it to something I'd seen or heard about during the day (like those scary movies I don't watch)As a child I had a recurring one of being chased around our garage by a man with a knife.

As an adult stress dreams associated mostly with work....running around taking care of patients all day only to find that you've "missed one" a far room with all kinds of tubes, etc.

Then there's the going to work barefoot.

I dream I have powers like Bewitched.

I've had a couple of dreams of my parents that had me waking up feeling warmed and loved.

I've also had some pretty intense dreams about Keith Urban....ones I can't go into on a family blog ....ummmm..they were...nice..yeah. That's it! Nice


Kirsten said...

Hi Helen! Congratulations on the GR -- and on picking a fantastic book for the evening. :-) His Secret Agenda was in my TBR pile forever (stupid deadlines!), but I thanks to my brief break from writing, I finally got to finish it a couple of nights ago. It's fantastic! Beth is amazing!

Falling dreams are horrible. I've had a few of those and I wake up so startled and my heart racing. Of course, some people say that's when your soul has left your body. Scary.

Kirsten said...

Hey Jen! Okay, I've heard of test anxiety dreams, but party anxiety? :-) That's pretty must entertain a lot!

So, do you have the flying dreams a lot? I only have them every few years. They're really special that way.

Kirsten said...

Oh Donna -- shudder -- that out of control car dream sounds awful. I've had a couple of similar ones, usually early in the morning, when I wake up and then fall back asleep. Sometimes when I do that, I dream with my eyes half-open, and I can't see things very well. It's so disconcerting.

I love your theory about why you had the dream, too. Sounds very plausible. I guess you were really called to write, m'dear! I'm so glad you found peace within your dreams and your life!

Kirsten said...

Hi Dianna -- yes, I've woken up with that feeling as well, and it does make you wonder what your body was doing before you woke up, doesn't it?

So, do you remember any of your dreams, or just wake up with feelings like that?

Kirsten said...

Hey Gillian,

You must be a very creative person. I think those bad dreams are a manifestation of creative energy that gets unleashed while we're sleeping.

And yes, I have had those dreams, where you wake up and don't know what was real. It's very disconcerting, especially if you're waking from a bad dream.

I haven't seen the movie you're talking about, but I might need to watch it -- for research, of course!

Kirsten said...

Hey Deb, thanks for stopping by! yes, it is nice to have a little breathing room. It's funny that I haven't really *wanted* breathing room for a few years, but now I'm really enjoying it.

I love the way you describe the good dream as a secret. It does feel that way -- like something private that no one else can really understand.

Gillian Layne said...

Hey, I was just looking up the title cause it was bugging me that I couldn't remember.

It's called Dreamscape, and it has Dennis Quaid in it.

Kirsten said...

Oh Buffie, that's such a lovely dream. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I don't have any problem believing that you did share that moment with your grandfather's spirit. And what a perfect message for you to take into your life. We would all do good to remember that, wouldn't we?

Kirsten said...

Oh Barbara, those must have been very vivid dreams! It is interesting, the way our dreams and real life are intertwined. I wonder if it was just that your hand fell asleep, and that caused the dream, or the other way around?

Did you ever have a theory about the second dream? Was there someone in your life you were trying to take care of, who was resisting your help?

Kirsten said...

Hi Susan! I have heard that pregnancy can evoke dreams, and maybe it is the hormones -- or maybe the baby has their own dreams, and they're pulling in the mom? Hmmm....(cue woo woo music).

What a sweet and beautiful memory of nursing your babies. I had SUCH a different experience with nursing! If I were too look back on those days it would involve a lot of cursing and wincing and silent pleas for the moment to be over. I made it through eight months of nursing with my son, and it definitely got easier, but never was anything less than uncomfortable. BUT -- I loved the moments of cuddling afterward. There is nothing that compares to that, is there?

Kirsten said...

Joan -- it sounds like you are an absolute master of dreaming! A testament to your creativity and power, clearly! :-)

I am definitely influenced by things I read right before bed. I was reading a book called Shiver the other day (Maggie Stiefvater) which is about a girl who falls in love with a werewolf, and I had dreams about being hunted down by wolves all night. It was terrifying. Taught me not to read angsty-YA books before bed! *VBG*

But about this Keith Urban thing -- does that actually work for you? You can think of something you want to dream about, and make it happen? I never get to plan my dreams. I never control my dreams either. Do you do that? Lucid dreaming?

Kirsten said...

Thanks Gillian -- I'll see if I can find it anywhere. Bonus because I lurve Dennis Quaid!

jo robertson said...

Fun topic, Kirsten! Dreams are pretty amazing, aren't they? There are such commonplace ones, like being naked in a public venue (usually showing anxiety about not being prepared). New teachers have that kind of dream all the time LOL.

I had a recurring dream when I was a child. This giant RED amoeba-like blob was chasing me, and I was running like the devil and looking over my shoulder as it got squishily closer and closer. Just as it threatened to roll over me, I woke up. So vivid, so scary.

I realized way into my thirties that the dream started when we lived in Berlin, Germany, during the cold war. My mom and dad were always talking about "the Reds" and apparently my tiny brain translated that to the monster in my dream.

Kirsten said...

Oh my goodness, Jo, what an amazing story. Gives the "red menace" a whole new meaning.

Now, I can't believe I didn't know you had lived in Berlin. Was your dad in the military? How long were you there? Were you there for the wall coming down?

My mom was born in Latvia and emigrated to the US when she was six. The Russians took over her country and tried to send her dad to a camp in Siberia, so they had to escape on foot through Switzerland and Germany. I remember seeing her face when the wall came down and listening to her cry. It was such an amazing time.

catslady said...

I love being able to connect certain things that happened during my day that ended up in my dreams. But I never figure out what to do in my real life from what dreams should be telling me lol. I love the flying dreams. I use to have one of flying down our street or our stairs. I had the usual forgetting my locker combination or forgetting my schedule for too many years after it was pertinent anymore lol. I remember a reoccuring dream as a child of a man waiting at the bottom of our steps to grab my leg (I was afraid of the dark living room with the empty fireplace lol). Now it's usually about spiders or bears (oh my). I have had a few that I could have sworn I was awake (a man in my bedroom is one) yikes.

Beth said...

Congrats on all your fabulous writing accomplishments, Kirsten! You deserve a nice break :-)

I often dream I'm pregnant. Often. I'm pretty sure it's because I always wanted 4 kids *g* But, I can control my dreams so when something happens in a dream and I know it shouldn't be happening, my dream self will be like: "uh, that's not possible" and the dream will change or I'll wake up.

Makes it very difficult to let my subconscious take over ;-)

Buffie said...

Joanie, I didn't think we were discussing *those* kinds of dreams!! LOL!

Kirsten said...

Hey catlady -- I have the same problem. It seems pretty easy (sometimes) to figure out what causes my dreams. Like when I read books about werewolves right before bed. LOL. But extracting the meaning from otherwise obscure dreams is much harder. Maybe because I always assume I'm just making them say what I want them to say (i.e., the universe is telling me to quit my job! LOL!).

Those dreams with someone waiting at the end of the stairs sound downright creepy. I've had a few spider/insect/crawling all over me dreams and they are horrible. Yuck. I could never do one of those reality shows where they put you in a container with insects crawling on you. No way.

Kirsten said...

Oh, thanks Beth! In case you missed it in the comments, I just finished your book a few night ago and loved it! You're the one with the huge accomplishments...

But I am cracking up that you refuse to relinquish control of reality, even in your dreams. And I thought I was a control freak! Ha! :-)

So when you're pregnant, are you happy about it, or not?

Kirsten said...

I know Buffie -- SOME people's mind will go there regardless of what you say!

Joan said...

No Kristen...I am not a master of Lucid dreaming.

And the dreams with Keith? Came out of the blue, wrapped me in his sexy Aussie arms and....(breaking into song)

I, um...felt other things besides emotion ;-)

jo robertson said...

Wow, Kirsten, that's an amazing story about your mom.

Yes, my dad was military and we lived in Germany for four years when I was young. This was before the wall went up and crossing into the Russian sector was very easy. And dangerous!

Kirsten said...

Okay, not to go where a family blog shouldn't go...but sexy dreams are actually pretty wonderful, if you ask me! All the pleasure with none of the fuss! ;-)

Kirsten said...

Jo -- I know, my grandfather was a really remarkable man. One of those old fashioned heros who protected his family in a time of horrible war and chaos.

I'm sure it's hard as a child of a military family to travel so much, but those experiences living abroad are so wonderful. My kids sure don't get exposed to much diversity around here. And the furthest I've ever traveled was northern Mexico. I've never even been to Europe myself.

Gannon Carr said...

I'm dream constantly. Fortunately, they're rarely nightmares, but I do have some really weird ones, and they often just blend into each other like one long dream.

My favorite dreams are when my mother-in-law is there to chat. She passed away almost 4 years ago and we were very close. The funniest one was right after she passed and she wanted to read the sympathy cards that we received to see what everyone said about her. It still makes me laugh.

Kirsten, my grandmother used to have flying dreams all the time. They were her favorite dreams. :)

Helen, let your grandbabies keep the GR in line.

FYI, Banditas: I went to Target today--the closest is about an hour away :(--and they have Tim Tams again!!! Woohoo! I bought 9! Of course, I plan to give some to my sister. :)

Joan said...

I just woke up from a nightmare. It was called "Men Who Stare at Goats"


Caren Crane said...

Helen, congrats to you!

Kirsten, I have had some incredibly vivid dreams before. There are some where I literally know why everything happens. I'm always looking at different people and events, but the WHYS are effortless. Of course, I retain no answers when I wake up, but that sense of having my finger on the pulse of the universe lingers. I can recall it even now. It is potent enough to call me back to dreamland, for sure!

Kirsten said...

Gannon, cool that you have so many dreams, and how wonderful to get a chance to "talk" to your mother-in-law. She must have been very special for you to maintain that bond after she passed away. And I love the idea of reading those sympathy cards! What a hoot!

Thanks for the TimTam tip! :-) Hope you have some sweet dreams tonight!

Kirsten said...

Okay, Joanie, that's completely random! :-)

Kirsten said...

Caren, that is one of the most interesting dreams I've ever heard about! Wow -- I can't imagine how that would feel, to just understand things like that. And thank goodness it's a good feeling. I guess it could go the other way, right?

Becke Davis said...

My dreams can be terrifying they are so real. Not just in 3-D color but with sounds and smells. I swear they aren't dreams, but a parallel universe.

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