Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lucid Dreaming

Today I went to a course on Fatigue Management, which was a lot more interesting than it sounds, I promise. And I learned a few helpful tips, and also one very interesting thing. I am apparently in the 30% of people who are lucid dreamers. What's that? 

Well, as the guy explained it. "You know that dream when you're a kid and a tiger is chasing you? Well, thirty percent of kids realise that they can turn around and chase the tiger back." 

Basically, I am the director of the weird art house experimental dreams that my brain churns out. 

Not always, of course. But sometimes. 



After my dad died, I had heaps of dreams about him. For a long time. Boring, everyday dreams, with an undercurrent of "What-the-fuck-is-going-on-something-is-terribly-wrong-here". And so I stepped in. This is okay, I told myself like a kid watching a horror movie, but it isn't real. You're allowed to enjoy this. Just remember that when you wake up, you don't have to feel the loss all over again. 

When I was a kid I dreamed constantly of flying. Not all dramatically or anything...just taking one foot of the ground, then the other one, and hovering along. And I could go exactly where I wanted. 

There have also been occasions when I've said to myself, "Okay, tonight when I fall asleep I'd like to go to Africa", and so I did. To a weird made-up kind of Africa that probably looks nothing like the real place, but it worked all the same. 

I've been on the Titanic before and, because I knew I was dreaming and I knew exactly what was going to happen, I was up on the deck waiting for the lifeboat before we even hit that damn iceberg. So was the kid I was with -- I think I was a governess or something -- but we didn't bother alert his father. Maybe we didn't like him. 

And then there was that time I was stabbed by Jack the Ripper. And, even as I woke up in sheer terror, I was still hugely impressed at my attention to detail. Because he really had to push to get the blade through my corset. Not exactly a lucid dream, since I didn't do anything to stop it, but sure as hell vivid. Sound effects and everything. 

I love dreaming. I love the strange places your brain can take you when it's filtering through all the detritus you've left lying around up there. I even love the nightmares, because if you can harness some of that darkness in your writing...wow. 

Everything is fodder for a writer, even the stuff from our own dreams and nightmares. Maybe especially that stuff. It's what we do. We might not always be able to control what happens when we're sleeping, but, whatever it is, we can find a way to explore it on the page. And that's kind of amazing. 

What's the strangest dream you've ever had? 



6 comments:

  1. I do a bit of lucid dreaming, and I totally enjoy it. The first few times I really had to work hard to convince myself I was dreaming - "This is just a dream. You graduated high school, remember?" - but the times after that I'd be like, "Yeah, I'm dreaming!" and be able to remember what I planned to do the next time it happened.

    It's funny, though - I can fly fine, or float through the woods, when I'm dreaming, but when lucid dreaming I'm often like that kid who thinks he's Superman, taking three big steps and leaping, and... nothing. "C'mon, I'm dreaming, I CAN DO THIS!" Maybe you can give me lessons.

    And I love how you got to be with your father again. I once had a dream I was hanging out with a good friend from high school, and then I looked at him and was like, "Wait... you died." And he kind of shrugged and gave a small grin and said, "I couldn't handle the commitment." Like this cosmic inside joke about how we could be together again.

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    1. It's crazy what dreams can do.

      Your dream of your friend? A lot like the ones I had of my dad. And I don't know whether it's your own subconscious trying to tell you it's okay, or something more than that. But it's nice to know that nobody is really lost forever.

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  2. Sounds like fun. I've tried to lucid dream but I've never quite managed it.

    mood

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    1. It's not an every night event for me either, Mood. But it's great when it happens. Keep trying!

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  3. It's really cool that you can lucid dream like that. I remember trying for a long time to do it but I never could manage to "chase the tiger".

    As for strange dreams, I'm not sure there's an alternative :). Just last night I dreamt I was babysitting a bunch of kids, then running from a monster, and then loading a dishwasher. I have to say, it gave me some good ideas, too.

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    1. I agree there's no alternative to strange dreams. I love the weird places your brain takes you when you're sleeping, and there is always so much inspiration to be found there!

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