Tag Archives: dreaming

Foggy Monday, Foggy Brain

So, this morning when I woke up, I looked out the window and couldn’t see across the green to my neighbours’ house – in fact, I couldn’t even really see the end of our driveway.  It was foggy – just the kind of morning to make you want to curl right back up again and go back to sleep! My husband had the worst of it, of course, as he had to pack himself up into the car and get to work, but I remember well all the mornings I had to trek my long commute into Dublin, no matter what the weather, and I don’t miss having to do that.  The fog is starting to lift a little now – I can see the end of the garden, which is nice! – and hopefully my brain will start to de-mist soon too.

What is it about foggy weather that makes you feel like the world has somehow slid into a different plane of being?  Nothing makes your surroundings look weirder than a heavy shroud of fog.  It makes my mind lean at a sharp angle, like I’m looking at a film or watching myself from the outside, not knowing what’s going to happen or what’s outside the window.  It’s no surprise that this time of year is the one traditionally associated with ghouls and the spirit-world, I suppose.

Fog’s traditional association with the idea of being ‘lost’ has not escaped me this morning, either.  I’m fighting my desire to work on the WiP (I promised my husband I wouldn’t, so I won’t!) because I know that trying to revise it now, so soon after finishing Draft 1, will not help matters with regard to my knowledge that there is so much about it that needs to be fixed.  I’ve been feeling ‘at sea’ in relation to my work all weekend, trying to keep my sense of failure and panic under control, and so I don’t wish to make myself feel even more lost and confused.  I know that it’s a useful first step to get ‘the bones’ of the story written, but it didn’t go down on paper as smoothly or as attractively as I’d hoped for, and I feel the plot is becoming hopelessly tangled – but, with any luck, a few days’ break from it should give me the perspective I need to work through all the knots.  It’s almost poetically appropriate that I’ve managed to be at this stage in the WiP at this time of year, when the weather is matching my mood so expertly.  I hope the fog in my brain will lift and clear as easily, and inevitably, as the fog in my garden.

I dreamed last night, again – a dream I’ve had, in one way or another, for years.  I’m in a bedroom, a very well-appointed and lovely room, perhaps in a hotel or a big country house.  Certainly, the room is not in my home, or in any place with which I’m familiar.  The only strange thing about it is there are far too many beds in it – maybe four or five, when one would have been fine.  I turn around to undress and prepare for bed, and when I turn back, the room has grown much bigger and there are now hundreds of beds.  Each bed now has an occupant, sleeping soundly.  Usually the occupants are children or young people, sometimes girls, but more often than not I can’t make out the gender of the sleepers.  I have to stumble, as quietly as possible, between these tightly-packed and illogically arranged beds, trying to find a place to rest.  It’s a strange dream, and maybe I feel so muddle-headed and disoriented this morning because the dream-feeling is working in conjunction with the weather, both conspiring to muddle me.

The dream makes me feel clumsy, large and cumbersome, as well as afraid that I’ll never find an unoccupied bed in which to sleep, so it’s interesting that I should dream it again now.  The dream usually doesn’t end with me finding a peaceful place to rest – whatever significance that might have – so I hope it’s my brain telling me to keep on going, despite all obstacles (as opposed to ‘you’re on a wild goose chase, give up now’)!

Here’s hoping I’m the only one labouring under fog-brain today.  I hope your thought processes are clear, sharp and keen, and that you’re ready for another week’s challenges and opportunities.


Well, good morning.  I’m feeling a bit better today – a little bit stronger, a little bit more settled.  I hope the writing will flow a little easier today.  The going has been slow for the past few weeks on my WiP, partly due to the fact that I’ve been distracted by real life a little more than normal, but today I hope I’ll have a focused day.  *crosses fingers*

I’m thinking about imagination this morning, perhaps due to the fact that both my husband and myself had extremely detailed – and remarkably similar – dreams last night; we both dreamed about natural disasters, oddly enough.  In his case it was a volcanic eruption, and in mine it was a landslide, which I could ‘see’ as clearly as if it was happening three feet away from me.  It started me off thinking about the human brain, its capacity to imagine and dream, and how or why we place limits on our minds, sometimes.

I’m engaged in a battle with the climax of my book at the moment.  My characters are right in the middle of one of the big showdowns, and as I was writing yesterday I actually kept thinking ‘I can’t write that.  It sounds ridiculous.  I have to scale that back a little, surely.’  I caught myself doing this just as I had come up with something really interesting – and something I’d certainly never seen or read before – and it was enough to bring my work to a complete stop.  It was like I’d reached an impasse with myself.  My creative brain wanted to forge ahead and write this idea to its fullest, but my logical brain scoffed at it, almost as if it was afraid to break new ground, and decided it wasn’t happening.  I still haven’t resolved this argument, but I think I’ll revisit the issue today and hope my creative brain is a bit stronger than it was yesterday, and better able to stand up for itself.

This morning, after my husband and I realised we’d both had amazing dreams, I started to think again about imagination, and the freedom involved in letting it loose.  I wondered, too, why I’d stopped myself using my imagination yesterday.  In my dream last night, I surfed down a landslide as if it was a wave and I was a champion surfer, and my ‘rational’ brain had no objection.  It was all pure imagination, pure creative brain, and it felt wonderful to let it loose.  When it comes to writing, though, I regularly feel as though I’m urging myself to hold back, to explain everything, to make sure everything ‘makes sense’, to take care, to go slowly… it causes me great stress and anxiety, sometimes.  I’m all in favour of just writing, getting the story out, and then going back to ‘fix’ things later – I just can’t seem to do it myself.  I got myself so wrapped up in knots a few weeks ago trying to sort out some of the technology being used in my fictive world that I nearly drove myself to drink.  It didn’t occur to me for days that this is my world: I created this place, and it can run whatever way I want it to.  When I did finally realise that, it was as if I’d been allowed to take a deep breath after weeks of wearing a too-tight corset.  Once I’d given myself that freedom, the scene started to work as if by magic – I sorted out the technology, it was all fine, and the work proceeded easily.

You’d think I’d learn from that experience, but it seems not.  Here I am doing it to myself again.

So, I am going to learn from my dreams today.  Let your imagination run free, and see where it takes you.  Remember that writing is supposed to be fun.  It’s supposed to be about creativity and self-expression, as well as the challenge of creating a story and a world that ‘works’ and holds itself together.  I need to remember the bits about fun and creativity – the rest, as I’ve seen, will follow on naturally.  It makes sense that allowing your brain the freedom to breathe creatively will help your work – I just keep allowing myself to forget that part!

If you’re writing (or even if you’re not), good luck with whatever your brain is trying to get up to today.  And remember – your brain knows more than you think!

Dreams (Includes some Jimi Hendrix)

Good morning!  I’m having one of those mornings where your brain stays about an hour behind your body.  It can be a good sensation, or it can be ultra weird.  I’m not completely sure what this morning’s sensation is, yet.  All I know is, I’m thinking about dreams.

I read a great blog post about dreams last night just before I went to sleep, which must have acted as the seed for my own brain-dancing last night – I had one of the most vivid nights’ dreaming that I can remember for quite a while.  To begin with, I was in a prison camp with Caitlin Moran (who, of course, was far too cool to talk to me) and hundreds of other people, and my survival depended on my ability to see – and thereby avoid – the red lattice of laser beams keeping me and the other prisoners penned in.  We’d just had a huge prison assembly when the guards started firing on us randomly, and some of the other people, who couldn’t see the laser beams, made a run for it but ended up getting zapped before they could be shot.  It looked like I was going to escape, and I was running for it towards some trees… when something woke me.  Then, I blinked at the darkness and panicked for a bit, until I realised that no matter how cruel a prison camp I might have ended up in, surely the cell wouldn’t look like my old bedroom at my parents’ house, so I concluded – cleverly, I thought – that it had all been a dream.  When I fell asleep again, I was surrounded by the glass walls of a building that I’ve dreamed about before, several times.  I’ve never been able to figure out what it is, or what it means – usually, I just pick a random corridor and follow it.  It’s a low-ceilinged, green-tinted building, like a hotel designed during the 1970s.  It’s mostly made of glass, with lots of ferny plants everywhere.  Some doors I can’t open, and the ones I can lead to blank rooms with a view over the roofs of an anonymous city.  Someday, I’d love to know where this place is.  I’d be slightly worried if this giant, empty building represents my mind, so I’m hoping it’s just a repressed memory of a deeply unfashionable place that I’ve actually been to.  Fingers crossed.

I woke up this morning, then, my brain full of pictures, and I started thinking about dreaming.  Do you have a favourite dream?  I do.  When I was a teenager at school, I became obsessed with Jimi Hendrix.  I listened to his music non-stop, I drew his image on everything I owned, and I read whatever I could about his life.  Then, one night, I had The Dream.  It was so amazing that when I woke up, brimming with the sounds, colours and beauty of my dream-experience, I had to write it down immediately in case any shred of detail would escape.  It began in what looked like an old power station, and I was wandering around inside it, hopelessly lost.  I passed iron doors that wouldn’t open, glass windows too dirty to see through.  Then, just when I was giving up hope, I heard a liquidy guitar riff, coming from somewhere just ahead; I ran towards it, to find a door open.  Through it there was an old-style American diner, complete with red leather booths and a large curving counter.  The only other person there was Jimi Hendrix, up on a small stage; he raised his hand in greeting as I entered, and proceeded to play me an entirely new, completely unheard, utterly amazing piece of music.  He then joined me in the booth, where we sat and talked for ages, though I couldn’t remember all the details of our conversation.  He held my hands, and when I woke up, I could still feel the touch of his fingers.

I still get a thrill, even writing about it.  I wish I could explain how much a dream like that meant to me, an awkward and deeply shy teenager.

I’ve sometimes been inspired to write by dreams; occasionally, details or names will come to me in a dream, and – if I remember them when I wake up – dreams can be rich sources of ideas.  My problem is remembering things once I wake!  When I was younger I used to record my dreams on waking, but as an adult that became impractical.  Sometimes I dream solutions to plot problems, and once, in recent months, I woke with a strange word burned across my vision in red letters.  I didn’t know what the word meant, but I wrote it down anyway and made a story around it.  It would make you wonder what your brain gets up to at night, when you’re not keeping an eye on it.

Tell me about your dreams, do.  Can you remember them?  Do they inspire you?  And – most importantly – have you ever dreamed about Jimi, and does he ever ask about me?