Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Where No Logic Prevails

I had a bad dream.

I intended to be sensible about it. After all, it was just a dream. It wasn’t real. I didn’t even say anything about it to Evil Kev. There was no reason to.

It was just a dream.

But it came back to hit me in the heart later. I had the sudden, overwhelming shock of the idea of the dream, of how horrid it would be to face that reality. Reason was gone. I felt numb, then scared.

I had the dream on Sunday night. I don’t want to tell you all the details. I should point out that dreams aren’t all that common for me. I don’t often remember them. In this case, I don’t remember all the specifics. What I remember is the outcome… the reality that one of my sister’s children was dead. (She will now phone or email to ask which one.)

This is where you might think I’m being really silly, because I don’t want to say. The funny thing about going through the querying phase with my manuscript right now is that there’s almost this unspoken superstition, don’t talk about it or it won’t happen. As though talking about something you hope for can kill it alone (and talent, timing and hard work have nothing to do with getting a publishing deal at all). But when it comes to negatives, it feels like talking about it could make it a reality.

Throughout my morning yesterday I was gripped by irrational moments of fear, of being confronted by the terrible awareness of what it would be like if that dream were true. In my dream I’d seen parts of the future, of how the death of one affected their siblings. It was gut-wrenching.

Now that I’ve had some time to process it, I think I know why I had this dream. My conscious mind connected to something subconsciously and twisted. Voila... dream that freaks me out.

It got me thinking about the fact that sometimes our emotions are disconnected from our reality. I’ve had times in my life when it was incredibly bleak and I was facing a lot of hard stuff, but I held together. It wasn’t until after things got better that I fell apart. I thought that was the subconscious way of coping – your defense mechanisms kick in and keep you strong until it’s safe to be vulnerable.

But how do you hide from your fear?

Geez. The next time I get a notion to read about the stages of grief somebody slap some sense into me, okay?


Christa M. Miller said...

Ugh, I'm sorry. I still remember the incredibly vivid dream I had about my father trying to murder my infant son by leaving him in a hot car. We were having some problems at the time... obviously my brain chose an altogether warped way of dealing with the stress.

And I think you're right about self-protection. Rain Dog and I only fight after a stressful time, never during.

norby said...

The college I graduated from had this class called Death & Dying. That's right, a whole semester about Kubler Ross' steps. Everyone said it was a great class. Even if my grandfather and a great uncle hadn't died right before I came to college. Even if my aunt hadn't died while I was in college-no way. No freakin' way.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Christa, what an awful dream.

When I was a child I had a recurring nightmare about Hamburglar. That stayed with me.

Norby, I can't imagine a semester long class of that. I had classes on writing obituaries. That was enough!

Trace said...

I'm the queen of irrational fears and worst case scenario ruminations. I can relate :)

Sandra Ruttan said...

It's really horrid what we do to ourselves, isn't it Trace?

JamesO said...

A bad dream about Hamburglar can only be a good thing;}#

I quite often find myself suddenly faced with a heavy emotional hit when I think 'what if...?' and you can put in all manner of scenarios after that. Sometimes they're sparked by dreams, sometimes just my mind wandering, but always the emotion is very, very real.

I think it's part of the skill of being a writer (or an actor to much the same extent) to be able to really visualise the full ramifications of possible events - be they good or bad. We are skilled dreamers, basically. But sometimes those dreams are nightmares.

And I know all about the not talking about something in case is does/doesn't happen. Extend this logic a little further and you'll begin to understand why half of my work has never been submitted anywhere. I went through a very bad patch a few years ago where I was really just writing for myself. When I finished a novel I'd launch right into the next one - far easier that than face up to the morass of irrational fears and superstitions that go with letting your baby out in public.

Sandra Ruttan said...

"We are skilled dreamers, basically. But sometimes those dreams are nightmares."

That's the truth. And it can seem so silly to be upset by what you're writing, but some days, it gets to me!

Anonymous said...

I dreamt I cut off my ear the other night. Delusions of grandeur perhaps?

There were a few years when I had friction with my sister and whenever I dreamt about her there was death and murder and blood. Which is very symbolic of her general aura.

Sometimes these sort of dreams are purging. By letting your subconcious deal with and process certain emotions you can acknoweledge them and let them go. But sometimes they're just yucky dreams with things you don't want in your head.

My favourite dream ever was a three-some with aliens that had tentacles they'd use to do interesting things. Now that's a dream I'd like to repeat.