Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Living Inside Vivid Dreams

"Is it real. Or is it Memorex?"

Please forgive me if this blog somewhat incoherent but I just woke up from a nap. During the nap I dreamt that I left the toaster oven on while I was sleeping. A big fire ensued. In my dream I could smell the acrid odor of burning metal and plastic. The oven wasn't in the kitchen of my "dream house." It was in my basement bedroom, and I was asleep beside my girlfriend while upstairs I could hear my ex-wife screaming at someone. I kept trying to put the fire out and yelling for my ex to help but she couldn't hear me...

Funny how dreams help shape our waking lives. The subconscious in which they are created can be a funny thing. It can help us get through serious anxieties. It can be channel through which to express heartbreak or anger. It can even serve as a warning to impending doom.

In my new thriller, The Remains, my protagonist, female sleuth and victim, Rebecca Underhill must endure several vivid nightmares which recur every night for a week. When she is inside the dream she feels herself caught up somewhere between the awake and not awake. She is often paralyzed by the dream and questions whether or not the events that make it up are derived from her brain or reality.

While one dream is most definitely created in her mind (a dream in which she and her late twin sister Molly are walking through the deep woods behind their farm before coming upon an abandoned house), another is very realistic (Rebecca spots the shadow of a man standing inside the doorway of her bedroom. His voice is raspy, like a smoker. She can smell the cigarette smoke on him. She wants to scream at the man, but her voice won't come. She wants to get up and run but she is paralyzed. This is the man who abducted she and Molly when they were kids, and held them in the basement of that house in the woods).

Rebecca uses her dreams as warnings. They lead her to the knowledge that the monster who abducted her is back, and he wants to harm her again. He wants to kill her! In this manner, the past hasn't come back to haunt Rebecca. It's come back to killer her !

This past weekend, my girlfriend and I went to see Inception. It's a sci fi movie about controlling dreams, manipulating them, even living inside them. Between The Remains and this movie, I am now looking at what I dream about in a new light. I believe it's important to listen to your dreams and not be afraid of your nightmares. I believe it's important to train yourself to control them, not allow them to control you. In this way you not only work on living with your worst fears, you learn to overcome them.