My Nightmares

I am in a house and someone is trying to get into the house. I am in a house and someone is also in the house and I must sneak out of the house. I am in a house and someone is outside so I need to hide under window frames.

What is with this house business? My dream dictionary, which I opened, says that the house is me. New nightmares:

I am in me and someone is trying to get into me too. I am in me and someone is also in me and I must sneak out of me. I am in me and someone is outside of me and I need to hide under window frames?

I don’t know. The other day someone gave me an apple in a dream and I just thought: That is a thing. Dreams are a thing and I can’t wait to go to sleep at night because I love their entertainment value. But sometimes I wonder about their intentions.

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(photo https://www.pinterest.com/charisbranson/scary-houses/…does not appear in my dreams because I am always inside my house)

Are dreams meant to get me thinking about unresolved issues? Or (as I would like to think) are they maybe meant to resolve them? Because I’m spending lots of my own time in my own consciously-controlled life thinking through issues, so I’d like a little chance to rest every once in a while, and sleep used to be the way I did that. Now I do nightmares. What is their purpose? Why are they happening now?

Yes, it’s quieter here than where I used to be. Yes, my cat is getting older and meowing for no reason in the middle of the night. Yes, so many things are new and scary but I’m not scared of them, I’m not scared of people getting into my house! So I’m thinking, what if instead, my dreams are inventing? What if my dreams are me playing? And what if I can play back?

I once woke up from a vivid, well-crafted, epic dream and decided to write it down. People said you couldn’t do this. I know you cannot do this. I know that the most unsatisfying ending of a story is “It was all a dream”. But why? What makes that so insanely annoying? What is it about dreams, though, that aren’t? They are completely nonsensical, peopled with metamorphosing hybrid characters, places you’ve never seen and situations that make absolutely no sense, but when you’re in them, you’re sold. Like any good story, dreams suspend disbelief. But when you wake from one, why does that semblance of reality stay? Why do we all think we need to tell our dreams to others, as though they will be impressed? They are never! The dreams are bad! Why don’t we see that?

I don’t have an answer, because dreams fascinate me and I can’t stop thinking about them but I also can’t figure them out. What I know is I am night-maring often and this has definitely caught my attention and whether I’m going to Freud it up or not, I need to deal with this people in my house business.

Next time I’m in my house dream, I vow to confront the demons. Maybe I will set fire to the house. Maybe I will break the windows. Maybe I will open the door to the wind.

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My Nose is Growing

Some people plant gardens and watch them grow. I need only look at my face. My nose is growing!

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(photo from healthtap.com)

It’s a known thing that the parts of you that keep growing after sadly your breasts have stopped are your ears and your nose. I just didn’t think it was a thing that happened overnight (like DJ’s friend in Full House). But I swear over the past two days my nose has looked wider in the mirror. I attribute it to a few factors.

– Summer is approaching and I have perhaps drank more beer as of late. I am developing that bulbous nose that Santa Clause and other drunks are known for.

– I have springtime allergies. But these last all year long, and include dust from poorly vacuumed floors and cats, who I surround myself with.

– My lies have been catching up with me. Someone (Geppetto) noticed that I have been claiming to be a writer but haven’t touched my novel in a week and the last post on this blog is from March.

– Like the grey in my hair, this year has aged me. I have been so busy learning to teach that I didn’t notice time, and suddenly a sullen, nose-filled face looked back at me in the place of my reflection.

Or maybe I am wiser. Maybe my body is telling me I need to give precedent to my senses. Maybe my body is literally saying: “Wake up and smell the flowers!” and is giving me more ability to do so. What next, my mouth? No, this one will probably get smaller.

As summer arrives, so do so many changes in my life. I have to pay my car insurance because this time two years ago I decided to buy a car. I am moving because this time last year I also moved. I am finishing the school year (not only because of the teacher job action but because this is when school actually finishes) and I am embarking on two months of WRITING. Writing with all capital letters!

My dreams are preparing me too: last night I dreamt up a dream schedule. I will wake at 8:00, my dream told me. I will read and drink coffee till 9:00. Then I will write! I will leave the house to take a walk or a bike ride. And then I will write!

My dreams are scheduling for me, and my body is equipping me with the nose I need to smell the world and write about it. All I need now are bigger ears and more sensitive fingers, then I’ll be ready to go.

Straight Through

I’m going to aim through the novel, not at it, to a future place where I want it to land. It’s easy to get stuck in the notion that my novel has no real audience, no real deadline. It’s easy to sit in it, to imagine it exists when really, does it? If you put a gun to my head right now and asked to read it, I’d be flattered, but it would be in pieces.

Struggling through a novel is the narrative most accepted in literary circles. I’m working at this. I’m rewriting. What if I actually pictured success?

What would it look like, really, to have this novel published? I’m told it’s far less fine than I think. Published writers are always complaining about having to promote their book, ensuring young hopefuls that having a novel published doesn’t guarantee, or in any way lead to, financial success. But what an amazing thing it would be, sitting on stage, blushing, talking about your characters like they’re real. Yes, asking people to read your book would be a bit demoralizing, but how much better it would be than if you didn’t have a book at all, frequenting book clubs and bookstores promoting other books, always books that aren’t yours.

And what if you were really successful – like really successful? Then what? You go on tour with the book. You are like a rockstar but your bandmates are your books in boxes. Maybe you have a friend with you who is literary-minded. You probably travel around on a bus, where you get to read a lot. You get to be a grump and speak esoterically about everything. No one bothers you except for the craziest of people.

And then your job is over and you are under pressure to write more. So what? You love writing. This time someone else cares about you writing too. Maybe you get book topics suggested to you. What a great way of coming up with ideas. Maybe you have a deadline, unlike something you’ve ever had before in writing. Maybe you make money.

And then the second book comes out. And it doesn’t have as good of reviews. That’s great! You can then wow them with the next one. You have made a career because people are comparing something you’ve done before to something you’ve done now, which means time has passed. And you are still at it. You are writing every day. You’ve lost your other job! You’re just writing. You wake up and instead of thinking about other people, you are thinking about a world that you made up. And it can be anything.

I would live in my dreams, if it were socially acceptable. What a joy it is to lay down every night and know that I will be entertained. I feel more overnight, or am given the ability to feel everything every night in a way that then benefits me in my day life. Writing is the same. I feel things, and maybe I’m making them up, but it’s better than not feeling them at all.

So living a life of writing, then, would be a life of dreaming. And getting paid, and getting acknowledgements, and getting to not do other things but it. I can’t imagine being that life being all that bad. Just this novel, that’s the bad part. And then the one after.

The More You Do

I’ve found this to be true enough times that it must be true: the more you do, the easier things get. I say this somewhat hopefully, having volunteered for too many things as a new elementary school teacher. I say this as somebody who writes a novel on top of living. I say this as someone who thinks they’re supposed to read absolutely every night but also write absolutely every night and also be nice to others. There’s only so much you can really do, but I think the more you try and do, the easier each thing gets.

It’s a splitting of the heart, but also a realization that the heart space is so much bigger than you thought. You can’t be up for twenty-four hours, sure, until they find a cure for that, but you can be doing more things in your day than you think you can. The moment you take a break to do something different, something you think you don’t have time for, the work you left behind on your desk suddenly gets put into perspective. That’s work on a desk. This is life.

I had a dream in which I was going to get killed by a gang member and then the gang member’s girlfriend shot herself in the mouth twelve times and I just watched her brain go everywhere. So I think I’m pretty stressed out. I looked it up in my dream book and I found that everyone in your dream (all those gang members and that girlfriend shooting herself in the mouth) are actually you. Dreams are very egotistical. And suicide, says the dream book, is an indication that you feel you have no pleasure in your life.

It’s getting to the point that I want to take up smoking, just so I can go sit out on a balcony for ten minutes and not do anything. It’s getting to the point that going to the washroom is the best part of my day, that eating a bowl of yogurt last night almost made me cry because I felt like I was treating myself and that somehow felt comforting.

I’m busy! But the more I do – the more I sign up to coach basketball and take on this thing called The Vow of Silence (which sounds easy) – the more I spread my heart out and the less I confine it to this small space between two Ikea desks where I have piled up soo many papers and worries. And the more I realize that kids are all around! And they’re just kids! They don’t care if the math thing that I’m doing makes total sense, they would just rather me be nice to them. So that’s what I figured out. Also, the more I take a moment to write a blog post, the more I realize that I am me, and not a teacher, and not a writer who is failing to write, but me who writes in this blog and thinks these thoughts, me that I left behind when I decided to work from 6am to 11pm and shoot my pseudo-self in the mouth in dreams and think that’s okay.

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I’m not Sleepy!

I don’t sleep around full moons or after late afternoon coffees. I continue to drink coffee on certain late afternoons and I continue to live through full moons. I know I’ll stay up at night but I think: how productive tonight could be! Maybe I could read a whole book.

But when night comes around, my heart beats in my chest and my mind runs everywhere. I lay there yawning, restlessly wishing for sleep. But this weekend (waning half moon and no coffee in the house) I just wasn’t sleepy. I never got sleepy!

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What I could have done this weekend, had I thought of it. Instead I lay there, peaceful in my thoughts. What happened? Have I changed people?

I remember studying Shakespeare at high school and university and getting quizzed on whether I knew that insomnia meant that the character was troubled. Well, I thought. Is there more to it than that?

But maybe there is. My thoughts at night weren’t troubled. I thought a lot about The Bachelorette, about Harry Potter, about where I would walk the dog tomorrow and would I go swimming before or after dinner? I was interested in a lot of different things but I didn’t feel like reading.

What I didn’t think of doing was writing. I’ve been writing one hour a day (which is great!) but when that hour is up, proud as I am, I move on. I read or I watch television or maybe I do my school work. Or, like, I leave the house! But I think I’m scared that if I go back to writing then maybe I’ll max myself out and I won’t do my hour tomorrow. And if I don’t do my hour tomorrow then will I do it the next day? I am so easily persuaded, so influenced by my worst self.

Maybe I’m up at night because I’m supposed to be writing. Maybe one hour a day has put me on some roll! Maybe the time I have invested in my writing is spawning more creativity – nervous energy that keeps me up at night because it wants to be used for something. And because I’m lazy and it’s dark in the room I am not reaching for a pen and am thinking instead. And yes, my dreams are really creative, but could I be using this for writing?

So I plan to never sleep again and write a lot! And with that decision is born a writer: insomniac, paranoid, probably alcoholic.

Dreams to write

I wrote a short story out of one of my dreams. Is that allowed? It seemed like cheating, like the story came out of somewhere magical instead of me. It’s about a blind woman who listens to birds, and a husband who has learned to imitate her favourite bird call. I can’t dream that stuff up. I don’t even know the name of any birds!

Dreams are great because they come pre-packed with thematic content. I have a sixth sense when I exist in dream world: I know why everything is happening. I know what everything means.

 

There was a while in which I didn’t dream. I was too busy with school and I guess I just forgot. I made a sign (“Dream!!”) and put it on the ceiling of my bed. I started writing down my dreams and they came back. Isn’t it funny that it’s that easy to get in touch with our subconscious?

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I’m experimenting at writing at different times of the day. Right now it is the morning and it is awful. Evenings I am sometimes tired. Afternoons I am SO boring. So we’re trying things out. I wonder whether I age throughout the day? I start the morning off stumbling around, speaking in a soft, childish voice, eating cereal. I end the day an old man, drinking a glass of wine alone, falling asleep in front of the TV, wise, maybe.

So I’ve been wondering if we need dreams to write, if they are our most primordial writing coach. They have awful plot structure. Characters are not distinct (in fact they often morph into other characters). Setting is often interesting but impossible. But the feelings!!! Dreams exist on theme and emotion and that’s what I want out of a story.

Full Moon Dreams

I created worlds in my dreams this week, alternate universes. I did little yet so much writing this week.

For our final writing project of my practicum, I asked my grade three students to do something called “writing projects”. The idea was they could create an idea for a project – any type of writing they could think of – and then they had to write it. I read their first drafts this Saturday night and was blown to pieces. Imagine if everyone did a writing project.

 

What a neat thing, to ask your brain to create alternate universes every night, universes where you dance on a party bus as if that is just something you do in your personality. Imagine creating an alternate universe where you get to visit with someone you don’t get to see anymore every night. What a writing project I have under my belt, these dreams of mine.

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I’ve started writing them down, as if to tell them I am taking them more seriously. I wake up and I write the last thing that happened to me – my reality before I opened my eyes – and from there I go back in non-sequential time to all the other pieces of myself I had made up in the hours of unconsciousness. More than you would think comes back to me. I fill up a page or two at least. I write everything because it is all so insignificant that I can’t let the grocery store dream go if I’m keeping the elevator on the beach. It’s all nonsense; it’s all gold.

The final step my students will take in their writing projects will be deciding on a mode of publication and publishing it. I scribble my dreams down every morning. Months and years later I reread them and I remember my dreams like memories. They inform my writing and my life. They inspire me and make my life feel bigger than it is. They provide a recursive element that isn’t present in my linear life but has no reason not to be. They allow me to reflect and absorb and change. I am shifted every night because of something and I think it is good I have found importance in what it was that happened that made me shift.