Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Nightmare Love

Michelle posted a piece on her blog today about an interesting nightmare that she had. It made me think of my own nightmares, of which I've had many. The first one I remember was when I was about 8 or 9 and was being chased by half a dozen small human forms with long necks and no heads. Each of the forms wore either a blue or a red cowboy shirt, which I had gotten for Christmas not long before and which I seldom wore after my dream experience.

That first bad dream scared the hell out of me, but also ignited a life long love affair with nightmares. Not long after we were married, my wife woke me up from a nightmare that I was having. She thought she'd done me a good turn but I had to tell her, "never wake me when I'm having a bad dream." I like my bad dreams. I replay them over in my head after they are done; I write them down. Quite often I've gotten story elements or even whole stories from such dreams. But most of all they are fun, at least after the fact when I realize they were a dream.

In my nightmares I've been the victim of serial killers, and I've been the killer myself. I once dreamt that I was writing a book in the blood of my victims on the shut-in walls of my lair. I only killed when I needed more "ink." I have several times dreamt that I was Satan. I have dreamt that I was insane, and that I killed myself. And I've dreamt about monsters, demons, ghosts, and aliens dozens of times. I've dreamt of battling sorcerers over ancient books of forgotten lore, and I've dreamt of a place in the Amazon where the children are all born from the congress of the village's mothers with a river demon. I've died in my dreams many times, and terrified as I am at the point of death, I always think one thing when I wake up. Cool!

How about you?


Erik Donald France said...

Wild dreams and nightmares. I used to have a lot more scary dreams -- ghosts, cloned people, Mobsters on the chase, etc. Now the world seems scarier than any nightmare. Well, almost any. There are still some eerier ones to keep me going, I guess.

RK Sterling said...

Wow, Charles. I'm seriously worried about you now... :)

I've never awakened from a nightmare thinking how cool it was - mine usually involve lots of dismembered body parts - although it sounds like you have some great fodder for stories from yours.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I rarely have bad dreams. Perhaps I need to eat something that doesn't agree with me prior to going to sleep.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, maybe that's why I enjoy the weird dreams I have. Their not as scary as real life. Kate, you're not the only one. JR, a lot of mine probably comes from long time reading of horror novels, but that doesn't explain why I had them when I was young, before I discovered horror.

Lucas Pederson said...

Like your Charles, I've had nightmares since I was very young. And like you I still have them. I write down all that I remember after waking, and most of them become short stories, one is currently the novel I'm working on, called Hypnotize.
I like my nightmares, they give me inspiration. And inspiration is good, for all art forms. Great post.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

let me get back to you, charles. one involves my fear of clowns, i saw a clown explode, literally, out of a cannon and be disemboweled but my entire family thinks this must be some mad dream, i had it when i was 8. there are several more, but this is a good one for starters.

Drizel said...

Wowi....thats so kewl...when I am under stress I also get lost of nightmares I also write them down, and its fun to write about them...people just think you are crazy when you say you killed someone in your dreams...whahaha...but we all do it...i mean dream about it.hihi:)

Lana Gramlich said...

The worst nightmare I remember was from when I was 20 or 21. I am convinced to this day that had I not woken when I did, I would surely have had a heart attack. Ironically, I ended up in an almost identical situation in real life a few years later & was so scared by it I almost crapped my pants. It amazes me that the dreaming mind will signal physical responses from the body, as though the dream situation is "real." Perhaps it is--who can say, honestly, which world is more real?

Other nightmares usually involve me being killed by someone else--stabbed, shot, etc. In one instance I was stabbed in the ear with an icepick. The worst part was that I ran into my mother later, & she was more upset that I'd bought her the wrong dinner rolls than that I was dying.

The best thing about my nightmares is that they DEMAND my lucidity--no real effort req'd. It's not hard to pay attention to what's happening when someone's trying to kill you, even if it IS just a dream. As a result, I usually have long descriptions of these dreams with lots of detail. The memory of them remains, as well.