Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dreams and Nightmares

Damn but I wish I had dreams, and nightmares, more often. Last night I was chasing sheep off a vegetable patch I had in my parent’s garden whereupon I came upon a really tough cobweb made by a large green spider. When I cut the web it collapsed into a powerful spring. When I showed this spring to Steven Spielberg he didn’t believe me, so I threw part of it at him and told him to get it analysed. Next I was in a toilet in which the urinals and toilet bowl folded out from concealment, which was good, because they were filthy. There I found another web and another spider, though this spider was larger and covered in flowers. The spiders then made a perfectly natural transformation into worms I kept in a pencil packet and thereafter things got a bit chaotic…

Why do I wish for more dreams and even nightmares? Consider a nightmare I had many years ago. I was on an island covered in jungle, stepped onto a bridge over a stream and saw what looked like trout in the clear flow of water. Then one of the trout lifted its tubular thread-cutting mouth out of the water and I realized it was a leech. Retreating to the beach lying before a wall of jungle I saw long spidery blue hands reaching out and grapping someone (it might have been me – you know how jumbled nightmares are). Later this person was found, still alive, without his skin… I think you can work out where this one went.

Another nightmare involved being trapped in a cellar. The floor of the cellar was mud I was fighting not to sink into, and while struggling I realized the mud was actually alive. Next, out of the darkness came something moving like and ape. It turned out to be the still living body of a man, headless and chopped off at the waist. But he was okay because I knew he was there to help me. This nightmare I turned into a story called The Halfman’s Cellar which got me ‘honourable mention’ in the ‘Writers of the Future’ contest in 1991 and was published in a magazine called Scheherazade in 1994.

So what do I need to do, eat more cheese or something?


Pippa Jay said...

According to Freud and Jung, nightmares are often due to the sufferer re-experiencing traumatic events from their past. Another trip to see the geese at Colchester Zoo perhaps? :-P

Phil M said...

I think we are seeing something of spider fetish coming out here.

It's the nicotine that does it, when I tried to stop smoking and was using patches....woohoo.....had some cracking dreams then!

Leg-iron said...

Whisky works for me. Oh, and nodding off when Captain Beefheart is playing.

Neal Asher said...

Well, Pippa, I'm not exactly in agreement with the pseudoscience of Frued and have to state categorically: being kept in a cellar as a child has had no adverse effect on me. Geese at Colchester Zoo? Damn people know too much about me!

Phil, it was spiders last night. On another night it might be scorpions, wasps or centipedes ... or the one where I'm being chased by Giger aliens. You've given me the best reason yet to give up smoking ... and then start again and give up again and again.

Leg-iron, I always find whisky doesn't work for me at all, but then I tend not to be satisfied with just a glass or two. My sleep afterwards can be more accurately described as a coma.

Anonymous said...

Its always a good omen Neal having these intricate dreams ..get down to writing as your mind tends to be at its most creative.Who knows if we are tapping into future events yet to happen and our minds can only cope with snippets of information from them.Or maybe a message created in a dream sent to us to alter our own fate.

Michael Fowke said...

I quite often dream of the stuff I was thinking about before falling to sleep.

LatvjuAvs said...

Have a Dictaphone by the arms reach near bed.
When you have first realisation that you are waking up, grab it and try to record anything from dreams/nightmares.
Do this every morning/night.
Replay during day, you will actually remember them very well during day with correct description from recording.

Also this helps to remember dreams long term and easer to remember in mornings.

You also have sleep cycles, light- > deep -> light.
Light are for moving your ass to another position, cough, scratch back and sometimes to pee.
These cycles cycle few times during night, some people more often than others.
You have a dream in deep sleep, light cycle comes up you are more awake and remember your dream very well, you go back in deep sleep and another dream takes place, you forget the previous one.
You actually can use light cycle to reach for recording device and record dreams then go back to sleep.
Being semi-active in light cycle is not that bad.

Neal Asher said...

JSA, it's probably stuff from one of the infinite number of my alternate selfs somewhere down the probability slope. I suspect he must be a genetic engineer mucking about with spider to produce springs. Either that or something lodged in my brain concerning those Wind-up girl 'kink springs'.

Michael, I do too, but in this case I can see no connection to what I was writing or what I watched on TV before bed.

LatvjuAvs, I'm not sure I would want to be waking up perpetually to record my dreams. I'm of the age when 7 hours of complete sleep is a victory. As for the notebook, that gets used when my brain has gone into overdrive about something - usually what I'm working on at the time - and I simply can't get to sleep.

Addadude said...

Melatonin does it for me. I always have very vivid, almost story-like dreams after taking it.

Neal Asher said...

Addadude, yes, I was told about that when I was going through a period of not being able to sleep. Now that I am managing to sleep undisturbed I'd rather not risk it as it might have the opposite effect.

Alex Cull said...

The first spider is green and the second one is covered in flowers - I think the spiders are evidently manifestations of the greens/anthropogenic global warming proponents!

You encounter the first one in a vegetable patch (generally symbolic of green-ism, perhaps). The filthy toilets might represent the state of civilisation after being ruined by years of green policies/taxes.

The first spider was difficult to overcome - its web was tough and the spider became a metal spring. However, this spider and the second one then became worms and easily contained in a pencil packet. So...

The pencil packet surely represents writing! What this dream might be telling you is that your powerful feelings about such people and what they represent can be effectively channelled into producing a story. Thus the arachnid monsters can be tamed and transformed into industrious (and lucrative?) earthworms...