Are You Afraid of Your Dreams?
I think every kid who has ever tried to get sleep in a dark room all by himself has been afraid at one time or another. I mean really, how many of us growing up in the age of electricity either had a plug in night light or sleep with a light burning behind the closed door of a hall bathroom? I’d say most reading this blog will say yes.
Equally as frightening as a child was the sleep that followed. In the subtle twilight between sleep and awake, in the place that the mind goes out to play each night, there were the dreams. The dreams could be the place where the ball game never ended or the first kiss with Mary from the bus took place or any of a number of pleasant things.
It could also be the place where shadows on the wall and the imagined scratches behind the closet door came to life in the form of hideous, child-eating monsters. Those monsters would lurk over the child, scaring the daylights out of him only to retreat when the screams started and the parents came running in. The monsters would disappear back onto the wall and into the closet, biding their time while the parents calmed the child down, assuring him that “it was only a dream.” Then, when the kid was calm, the parents were gone, and the lights were out once more, the unrelenting monsters came to life once more. Sleeping as a child could be a horrendous thing.
I had nightmares like any other child, but somewhere along the way, I learned to stop fearing my nightmares, to stop cringing at the mere thought of them, and actually embrace them. Once I started to write (in the form of fiction stories) about my deepest, darkest fears, I suddenly found that I couldn’t live without my deepest darkest fears. What better place to get acquainted with my deepest, darkest place than the one place where I cannot lie to myself – my dreams.
Dreams are the body’s natural release for the things our minds suppress every day in order to make life tolerable. They let go of the anger and anxiety we keep in check or reinforce the fear you feel. You might find yourself the hero, finally punching that smart-ass boss in the mouth. You could just as easily find yourself cowering in the corner, curled up like a puppy dog waiting to be kicked. Either way, if you happen to be a writer, it makes for good material.
I don’t keep a notebook beside the bed so that I can jot down my every dream. I don’t feel the need to do this. The dreams that stand out in my mind long enough after waking for me to remember are the ones worthy of getting some pen time in my stories. The ones that didn’t stand out had nothing to offer me to begin with. Why bother to remember them?
As a writer, I feel very lucky to have this natural outlet for ridding myself of burdensome personal issues. Through my stories and my characters, I can deliver the demons of my body and toss the weight of my fears to the wind.
And, each night, if I am lucky, my dreams will tell me what is bothering me the most.
Tell me of your dreams. Do they help you write? Are you indifferent to them?
I am still learning the line phase. If you copy and paste the link, it will work.
If anyone wishes a PDF version, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org