Friday, July 2, 2010

Sweet Dreams (Ha!)

by Susan McBride

I had the weirdest dream the other night. Okay, I have weird dreams a lot of nights. This one was pretty typical. I was in my grandparents’ house, but neither was there (both are deceased). I could see this gang of bad guys approaching, and I knew they aimed to break in. So I called 9-1-1 only to be told by the dispatcher that they’d have a car there in two hours.

Two hours? Hello!

Then the bad guys were at the door, and they looked like they were armed with AK47s. I ended up dropping the phone and running to hide, along with a bunch of other people (I can’t remember who they were, but I knew some and didn’t know others).

The armed band of thugs (who were mostly women) got inside and started trying to round us up. I remember getting outside, where there’s a small lake behind the house, attempting to skirt the lake and nearby copse of trees to get to a neighbor’s house. Unfortunately, one of the AK47-toting chicks saw me and threatened to shoot.

So I went back to the house, but then I reminded myself I was dreaming and started to beat up on the armed gang. I do recall pummeling one of them while she/he (I can’t recall) grinned maniacally at me.

What the heck???

I often have dreams (er, nightmares?) where I’m aware that someone’s coming to get me or the group I'm with, but I can’t escape. Though, at some point, I realize it’s a dream and defend myself, often cartoonishly slugging the offender over and over.

Is this a lingering hazard of my previous gig writing murder mysteries? Or am I taking out my frustrations and subconscious aggressions against people who drive me batty?

Let me look it up in my dream symbols book (yes, of course, I have one…doesn’t everybody?). Okay, “Attack: Similar to Being Run Over, only more aggressive and accompanied by the fear of losing property.”

All right, I’ll flip to “Being Run Over” and see what that says. “This may point to a feeling of being overwhelmed.” Well, yeah, I have a book due in four and a half months, plus two more books due after that. So "overwhelmed" makes sense. Oh, wait, there’s more. “According to Freud, this image, particularly in men’s dreams, appears when one’s id can’t be actively lived out.”

Okey dokey, I wasn’t being run over so let’s nix that Freud analysis and move on to another bizarre recurring dream I have.

I’m in bed, and I think I’ve woken up. It’s dark, and I glance toward the doorway and see a shadow. I feel like someone’s in the house, and I want to scream, but I can't make a sound.

Hmm, let me look up “shadow” in my handy-dandy dream book. Oh, wow, this is long. Let me paraphrase: “The shadow is, first of all, that which is invisible...[and] is a sign that you’re in the process of becoming aware of your Self. So there is no reason to fear your shadow or try to avoid it.”

But is it my shadow? If I’m just waking up from sleeping in my dream and see the shadow in the doorway? I’m confused. Let’s read on:

“The shadow is usually connected to the past or the future: old injuries are casting their shadow onto today’s behavior and emotions”—now, wait, that sounds plausible, seeing as how I've always worn my heart on my sleeve and have had my emotions stomped on more than once—“Coming to terms with the shadow is necessary in order to understand life here and now. It brings intensity, wealth, and imagination to life.”

Did it say “wealth?” I think I can deal with that.

Anyone else have that dream where you’re back in school and have to take a test, but you haven’t studied for it yet? Sometimes I’ll dream that I’m the age I am now, yet I’m back in high school or college, taking classes, though I keep telling people I’ve already graduated, that I even went to grad school for a week (yes, I said a week--at SMU in Dallas—but that’s all I could last with my unbearable creative writing instructor).

Here we go: “School: Learning as in School Work and Tests.” All right, the “School Work” definition says: “See also Tests. Something you still have to do.” Man, I could’ve figured that out. So we’ll mosey over to “Test,” which says, “See Exam/Test.” Grrr, this is a stupid book! Finally, “Exam/Test (University): Difficulty at work. Passing a test points to ambition…One of the most common dreams is failing an exam. In the dream, one is not prepared for the exam. In a variation, one is on stage and doesn’t know the lines. Both situations refer to a fear of failing in public.”

I still have plenty of work to do and a definite fear of failing in public. Scary how on the mark those are. Who needs a therapist when you’ve got a dream symbols book to tell you about your insecurities, ambitions and phobias?

Now, if you'll excuse me for a sec, I need to look up "Flying." (Yes, I occasionally fly under my own my dreams, that is.) Maybe that's a sign I should be writing about angels, or at least fallen angels. I hear they're the new vampires. Or is it that dragonflies are the new vampires? I'll have to sleep on that one.

P.S. Have a great holiday weekend, everyone! May all your dreams be sweet (or at least sweeter than my crazy ones!).


  1. Seems to me running around in your dream book is more exhausting than your writing laugh. LOL
    Great weekend to you. Sweet dreams back at you. (Please don't look that up!)

    Giggles and Guns

  2. Mary, you're right! My dreams are exhausting! My husband wonders why I can't just dream of kitties and puppies and sweet things. ;-)

  3. My dreams are always weird--but they seem to have more to do with what's going on in my life at the time, though some are throwbacks to places I've lived the past including the house I grew up in in L.A. I'm always a grown-up, but much younger than I am now.

    Have a fun Fourth, Susan.


  4. I've had the "unprepared for the test" dreams often. I also have the dream where I'm late for class and can't find my locker or can't remember the lock combination dream. The worst dreams are those where I dream I'm awake and someone is standing over my bed. I discover that I'm frozen with fear - I can't move - can't raise my arms, can't even roll over. I just wait for the dream to pass - my heart pounding. Sure, I know what you're going to say - those are probably just alien abductions and not really dreams. Joking.

    My favorite dreams are those where I'm visiting with my dead grandparents. I always wake up smiling.

    aka The Southern Half of Evelyn David

  5. LOL, Susan!!
    My dad had a book on "dream analysis" that I used to read when I was a kid. I'm sure they still have it in their house somewhere. Must try to find it and look up some new things... And, oh, someday I'd love to hear about your week with the unbearable creative writing instructor!!! (Makes a good character, I'm sure. :)

  6. Marilyn, I most often dream of places I've lived (and very rarely--if ever--our house now!). So there must be something to that! I'll have to look it up. ;-)

    Rhonda, I have that dream, too! It's very scary, because you think you wake up and you can't move. It's kind of an extension of my shadow dream where I think I'm awake and see a shadow in the doorway (and I'm usually in the bedroom of my old condo). I'm glad to know someone else has that dream! Or maybe we've both been abducted by aliens. My hubby would probably say, "That explains a lot!" :-D

    Marilyn B., you'll definitely have to dig up that book! Ah, the writing instructor. He was somethin' all right (like, a big, egomaniacal somethin'!). ;-)

  7. I had a dream last week that I was pregnant with twins. And I was happy about it. I am toooooo old to be happy about being pregnant, and twins? Yikes! Had to look that one up. According to the interwebs, dreaming your pregnant, if you're happy about it usually means you're getting ready to make changes in your life or you're getting ready to start a new project that is spiritual or creative. Since I am making some changes and I was getting ready to start a new book, that seemed right on the money. So I didn't panic about the babies, though it would be cool if one of my kids called to tell me they're expecting. :)

  8. Um, Kadi, your protagonist has twins! So maybe that has something to do with it. ;-) I've had dreams I was pregnant, too (although not with twins!). I like the idea of it reflecting a rebirth or new beginning (per my dopey dream book!). In your case, it's a new beginning twice over, maybe both spiritually AND creatively. So you go, girl!