In My Dreams…

This will be a shorter-than-usual post because I’m finally at the point in Book 14 where all questions have been resolved and the action is flowing and OMG-I-just-have-to-write!  It’s my favourite part of the process — that glorious absorption where every waking minute is consumed by what happens next; and mundane matters like food and sleep are merely annoying distractions.

And speaking of sleep:  My dreams have been especially vivid lately (writing 14 hours a day will do that).  Everything is in full colour and it all makes perfect sense… until I wake up.  So many times I’ve invented something absolutely brilliant in my dreams only to wake up and think, “What the ever-loving f…?”

I don’t know why my dream-inventions always seem brilliant at the time (maybe a slight ego problem?), but at least that’s better than The Exam Dream.  You know the one:  I’m late for an exam, I haven’t studied, I can’t find the building where the exam is being held, and I may or may not be naked.  When I finally get to the exam hall and sit down, I realize that this the wrong course entirely, and I can’t even read the questions.

But when I try to run away and my legs won’t move (that’s another typical dream), I struggle and strain and eventually bend down to dig my hands into the ground; and then I don’t have hands anymore and I run effortlessly and tirelessly on all four paws.

I prefer to think that this is all normal.  (Yeah, I know:  In my dreams.)

Any other inventor-shapeshifters out there with academic performance anxiety?

Book 14 update:  It’s been an awesome writing week!  I’m on Chapter 52 and I might… (dare I say it?) …finish the draft this week — I’m so pumped!

Rude Awakenings

My husband deserves a medal.  Not just for putting up with me on a daily basis (which in itself is medal-worthy), but for daring to sleep in the same bed as me.  That’s an undertaking for none but a brave man.

I sleep well, but lightly.  Some little corner of my subconscious always has an ear open, and my entire body is ready to leap awake at the slightest provocation.  This is a problem, because there are lots of slight provocations during the night.

Dreams, for example.  Depending on their content, it’s entirely possible that I might kick, punch, scream, or laugh myself awake.  The laughing dreams are the best – I dream of something so hilarious that I’m laughing my ass off in my dream, only to wake with a guffaw.  The kicking and punching dreams are another matter.  I haven’t made contact with Hubby yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

I’ve farted myself awake, too.  There’s nothing worse than bolting up in bed in the middle of the night thinking, “Ohmigod, something just came out of my ass!  Did I just shit the bed?”  (BTW, I never have.  Just sayin’.)

Back when I had cats, I frequently woke up already on my feet and halfway out the bedroom door, dashing toward a location pinpointed in my ever-alert brain by the sound of a cat horking up a hairball.

I wake at the slightest noise from our back alley, which is annoying because there’s a green space near us and people, especially teenagers coming back from parties in the wee hours, tend to walk and talk boisterously there.  I’d swear those voices are coming from just beyond the foot of the bed.

But the most dangerous situation for Hubby is this:  sometimes I snore.  That puts him in the unenviable position of trying to rouse me enough to make me stop snoring without actually waking me.  It’s a losing battle.

The other night I lurched up in bed with a yell, eyes wide and fists clenched.  Hubby recoiled.  “I just barely whispered your name,” he explained.  “I only wanted you to stop snoring.”

Clutching my chest over my hammering heart, I snapped, “Well, it worked!”

But the rudest awakening I’ve ever had was years ago when I was living alone.  I owned a little two-storey crackerbox of a house with no air conditioning.  There was a giant poplar tree in the back yard, which was great because I could leave the second-floor bedroom window and curtains open at night to get a breeze without worrying about privacy.

I was blissfully asleep one night when a hellish racket and a glare of brilliant light rocketed me out of bed to find the police helicopter hovering with its spotlight trained on my back yard.

That was seriously disturbing because it meant they were looking for a criminal and s/he was too close to my house for comfort; but equally disturbing was the fact that they were looking in my bedroom window with a spotlight bright enough to reveal every detail of my birthday suit.

I think that was around the time I started keeping a set of clothes within reach of the bed…

What was your rudest awakening?

Brain Salad

(I promise this isn’t another post about zombies, despite the title.)

So… occasionally I make Tilt Soup.  It never tastes the same twice, and the recipe is as follows:  ‘Tilt the fridge and whatever falls out goes into the soup’.  Much to Hubby’s relief, I exercise restraint with that recipe.  I’ve never actually served soup containing pickles, jam, and leftover pizza… but the potential is there.

In the same vein, there’s a mental condition called ‘word salad’, where people are capable of intelligible speech but their words come out in an incoherent jumble.  As you may have guessed by now, today’s post is brain salad – a conglomeration of oddments that have been collecting in my mental filters for some time now.

For example:  One night I had an extremely vivid dream in which I was running an online dating service for lonely single monkeys.  I have no idea what the hell I’d eaten or drunk that would generate that level of weirdness, but the dream begs all kinds of questions such as, “How would that even work?” and “For the love of God, WHY?”

And while I’m on the topic of ‘why’, here’s something else I wonder about:  Why are ‘panties’ plural, but ‘bra’ is singular?

And why did I smell gunpowder in the upscale restaurant where I ate a while ago?  I mean, really, the meat was fresh, but it wasn’t that fresh.

And why does my list of blog post ideas contain a draft post titled ‘I Got Mad Skillz’ that is completely blank?  Apparently I once had an idea for a blog post I thought merited that title… but I guess my ‘skillz’ deserted me before I could write it.

The miscellany in my blog file also includes a biker obituary I discovered a while ago and saved because I’d like an obituary like this (except for the ‘younger women’ part):

“Weary of reading obituaries noting someone’s courageous battle with death, Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died. He is survived by Uncle Don and Aunt Cynthia (his favorite); Uncle Dill and Aunt Dot, cousins and nephews, Baba Yaga can kiss his butt.”

I presume Baba Yaga doesn’t refer to the witch of Slavic folklore, so I’d love to know the story behind that one.

And one last thing that made me laugh this week:  You know those website captcha things where you have to interpret numbers and letters that rival Rorschach ink blots in their obscurity?  Well, sometimes they’re not obscure enough to defeat my juvenile sense of humour.  A while ago, I got ‘pness’ and ‘pemile’ in quick succession, generating a flurry of childish snickers.  I entered 8==> in the text box, but apparently that wasn’t what they were looking for…

(Hint:  Rotate that group of characters 90 degrees counterclockwise.  Or clockwise if the Viagra has worn off.)

So that’s it for my brain salad today.  Just like Tilt Soup, if you hold your nose and gulp it down fast, it might not come back on you…

What Was IN That Salad?!?

So, the other night I was gambling in Vegas with James Spader and a couple of Klingon women in 70s-style fun-fur maxi coats.

Then things got weird.

As I noted in I Dream Of Dillweed, I usually don’t remember my dreams unless I’m sick.  Well, physically sick.  Let’s not get into the delicate issue of mental health.

But the other night I had this vivid dream, and James Spader was in it.  I have no idea why; I haven’t watched TV for years, and the last thing I saw him in was Boston Legal.  Also, though he’s a fine actor, if I was going to dream of an actor there are lots of others I’d prefer to meet in my dreams, ifyaknowwhatImean.

The Klingon women made sense… I guess.  I’ve been a Star Trek fan pretty much all my life, but Klingon women aren’t really my type.  Though they could have been Klingon men in drag.  It’s hard to tell with Klingons.  Either way, they weren’t doing it for me.

Also, I was winning in Vegas, which is weird in itself.  I was playing video poker (my game of choice, so that was normal).  But the machine was spitting out real coins, which doesn’t happen anymore.  And I was chortling and stuffing the coins into the capacious pockets of the white painter’s coveralls I wore.

That was all fine until I got the Superhero Distress Call.  I thought my blogging buddy Tom was the only one who has an inner superhero, but apparently I do, too.  Sadly, she seems a little on the incompetent side.

In the first place, I got my cape on backward.  Which actually turned out to be a good thing because I’d forgotten to put on the rest of my superhero suit, so I was running down the sidewalk holding the cape closed over my bare ass.

But that started to make sense when I arrived at Superhero Central a few moments later, and it turned out I had the clumsiest superhero suit ever invented.

All the other superheroes were suited up and leaping into flight, and I was still struggling to pull my suit out of the storage locker.  It was stuck underneath its belt, which consisted of a bunch of heavy diving weights strung together on aircraft cable.

I was still trying to yank it free when the Bad Guy launched himself into the air from a black spiderweb trampoline.  (The Bad Guy was dressed like Robin from the old Batman comics, except he wore black gloves.  That actually makes a bit of sense, because I’ve always thought Robin was disturbing anyway.)

Fortunately, one of the other superheroes realized I was in trouble and came back to rescue me.  And he was a handsome superhero, too, which was nice.  In fact, he looked remarkably the way I picture John Kane, one of the characters in my books – no surprise, since I’ve been writing my fingers to the bone the last couple of weeks.

Problem was, he didn’t do anything useful; he just jammed a Cone Of Silence (anybody remember that from Get Smart?) over our heads.  And then I woke up.

Earlier that evening at the pub I had eaten what they called a “California Salad”:  Mixed greens with Brie, spiced roasted pecans, sliced apples… and laced with much-too-sweet cranberry sauce.  And no, I didn’t dream that, though I kinda wish I had – the cranberry sauce was gross.

But now I wonder what else was in there…

I Dream Of Dillweed

Or maybe that’s “dickweed”.  Let me explain.

I’ve been sick for the past couple of weeks, but I’m all better now.  For those of you making the obvious “sick mind” jokes, just… well, yeah, okay.  I guess I can’t argue.

However, now I understand the true meaning of the phrase “fevered dreams”.  And lucky you, I’m going to share.  Hang on, ‘cause here we go:

A large group of Puritans stands silent and stock-still, all eyes fixed on me.  Men, women, and children, all garbed in sombre black with white lacy collars.  They just stare.  I don’t know why.  Their holy book is a catalogue of hand-crocheted sweater patterns.  On the front is a photo of a blonde fashion model wearing a lacy, openwork yellow sweater.

I’m not even going to try to analyze that little vignette.  But as the night wore on, my brain started to serve up coherent stories that only changed when I realized they were dreams.

The scarred, grizzled leader of a bike gang gets into my car and informs me that I will be hosting a party for the gang.  It will be a barbeque, and we discuss the menu while I drive to town to buy groceries.  They’ll have New York steaks, and I will make my famous potato salad.  Baked beans are discussed and agreed upon.  I do not find this funny.  I know as soon as the steaks are grilled to medium-rare perfection, I’ll become the evening’s entertainment.  My chances of survival are slim. Death will be merciful.

All very dark and threatening, but the dream continues:  They will bring their own beer.

Then I knew I had to be dreaming, so my brain switched scenes:

I awaken lying prone on a grey marble roof.  My drink is beside me, the glass slithering over the slippery curved edge as I open my eyes.  Sheer terror seizes me when I make a grab for my drink and realize I am hundreds of stories above the ground.  I jerk away from the edge, and irritation overcomes me.  I mutter, “Well, shit, I’m just going to throw these blankets over the edge and hope there’s nobody underneath when they hit, because I’m not climbing all the way back up here to get them.”

I must have made it down from the rooftop safely, because next thing I knew, I was a nurse.

I watch an angry-looking uniformed woman stride across the hallway, and my inner narrator dictates, “The administrator had heard about the blocked toilet ten minutes ago.  This allowed her nine and a half minutes to be furious.” 

For some reason, the narrator thinks these two sentences are sheer literary genius and must be written down at the first opportunity.  (And I just did.  Hmmm.)

Anyway, that dream went on, too:  I am one of a team of several nurses who must lift a six-hundred-pound patient.  As we gather around him, he booms, “Hell, my dick is 330 pounds alone!  It could be even bigger if I wanted.  Every day I rub it with dillweed!”

I wake with the triumphant bellow of “Dillweed!” still echoing in my mind.

Welcome to my brain.  Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

P.S.  Wanna buy some dillweed?  I hear it’s great for… well, you know.