Saturday, December 31, 2005
When I was a boy, maybe six years old, I dreamed there was a head under my bed. The head wasn't doing much. It just sat there in the dark, with the dirty socks and dust bunnies, and spoke to me whenever I passed.
In the dream, nobody believed it when I told them there was a head under my bed. Later, my babysitter came into my room (her name was Mrs. Gilbert and she had dyed black hair and bright red lipstick), and leaned under the bed to look. The head under the bed stole the head of Mrs. Gilbert and then it went on babbling from down there in the dark.
I wrote a story about the dream years later. In a fit of creativity, I titled it: "The Head Under the Bed." I don't know where I come up with this stuff.
When I was a teen, around the time I started drinking, smoking and doing that other great teen stuff, I had a dream about a nun. I had been swimming at Rice's Rips in Waterville and drifted too close to the waterfall. There's a 30 foot drop there and I plunged over it to the rocks below. When I opened my eyes, badly injured from the fall, a nun was standing in the water 30 feet above me. She was smiling wickedly and beckoning me forth with her hand. It was a horrifying site and in that moment, I knew I was dreaming but could not wake up. I struggled against the dream for what felt like days (it was in fact, more likely seconds) until I managed to force my eyes open with Herculean effort. The dream haunted me the rest of the day and I feared sleep for nights after.
Nightmares are crazy. So horrifying and crippling, they are also intensely personal. Try explaining one to another person and you sound like a child describing a comical boogey that lives in the closet. Bad dreams cannot be precisely recreated in the real world.
It would take a very long time for me to jot down the bad dreams I've had. There was one where I came into possession of a weird pair of glasses that afforded me a view into hell. There was another stunner where I walked passed a cemetery and heard the voices of the dead in my head. Both of those later became works of fiction, but again: bad dreams lose the true impact of their fangs and claws in the light of consciousness. Which by all reasoning is a good thing.
This morning, I'm up uncharacteristically early because I snapped awake at 6:34 a.m., chilled and near paralyzed by a nightmare. I stumbled from bed and came out here to write about it. By the time I was done, 2,000 words were on the page and it's a nail-biter. What are the chances this will morph into my next novel? Ask me in eight weeks.
With all of this morbid rambling in mind, the topic for today is bad dreams. Lay down on the couch and tell me all about them. I'm here for you. I can help. And if I can't, at least I can steal your thoughts and write stories about of them.
Happy New Year, freaks.