Thursday, August 04, 2011

Writing Exercises

I attend a weekly writing group. I thought it was a great coincidence one week when I arrived for class and the prompt on the blackboard was, "What did you dream last night?" I wrote most of "Go North For Freedom" that day.

There were other prompts too: first was to write a dream dictionary for five words yelled out randomly by class members. Here's what I came up with:

Dirty Dishes - if you dream of dirty dishes in your home, you are stressed and overextended. If you dream of dirty dishes at someone else's home, that person is not trustworthy. If you dream of cleaning or clean dishes, you are prepared for new opportunities. If you dream of broken dishes, you are about to lose money.

Newspaper - if you dream of carrying a newspaper, it denotes that you can trust your associates. If you dream of reading a newspaper, you should consider going back to school.

Statue - if you dream of a large statue, you are about to encounter a powerful person. If you dream of a small statue or figurine, it refers to someone in your circle of friends and family. If the figurine is an animal, it denotes a child; if a goddess, your wife or mother; if a god or bust of a revered man, your husband or father. If the statue is broken, your relationship with that person will undergo changes.

Fish - if you dream of fishing, you are seeking answers in life. If you are eating fish, you are growing into the wisdom of age and experience. If the fish is threatening, such as a shark or piranha, you are learning to protect yourself spiritually and mentally. If the fish are in a tank, you are risk-averse.

Monkey - if you dream of a circus monkey, you are feeling unchallenged and perhaps humiliated at your job. If you dream of a monkey in the wild, you are being given an opportunity to be true to your nature.

Next, the class leader put a list of book titles on the board, all with the word "dream" in the title. The exercise was to write something about what I supposed the books were about. And for the most part, the titles were general and nondescript enough for the exercise to work.
I Still Dream About You features Fabio with black hair, clutching a swooning beauty in a torn dress, drowning in a sea of lace and blonde.

The Mind At Night is a work of nonfiction where three theses are discussed for 600 pages, the fascination of each wearing away steadily, the footnotes a rockslide of shale on a sandy seabed.

The Dream Doctor is a novelization of a British SF show wherein a dashing man in a bowtie rescues a plucky but bewildered English girl from a villain with the face of a pig.

Fever Dream is an earnest, dramatic novel following a married couple through the dissolution of their relationship. There's a picture of a tree on the cover. I suppose someone might read it...

The Lake of Dreams is a novel for young people, where brothers fight and a girl has an awkward time with a bathing suit.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is too famous. Everyone loves it and there are a bunch of internet memes based on it. LOL.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Getting it on with Till Lindemann

Forgive my obscure and exotic taste in celebrity crushes. For the uninitiated, this is Till Lindemann:

...and this is what he does for a living.

My dream began with me traveling to Europe on holiday and meeting a random guy in a bar who turned out to be German rock star Till Lindemann. Oh lucky me! So I dragged him off into a corner and had my way with him.

Some time later, my back suddenly went out and I couldn't straighten up. I teetered around the neighbourhood on my way home, every step an agony, unable to raise my head, but sure that once I was home my suffering would end. I crossed a street precariously and entered my building from the back, passing a convenience store that is not there in real life. Searching for the elevators, I find a large meeting room full of people discussing matters of concern to the building, but I don't stay because of my impaired condition. Continuing my search for the elevators I find many features in the building that also are not there in real life, including restaurants, bars, shopping, a fountain, a huge terrace and a library full of neighbours doing research. The way to my own front door eludes me. Finally, I come to an enormous main foyer complete with doormen and escalators. Now I have my bearings and I head straight home.

My home is also full of things that are not there in real life. The dream ends with me lying down on a deck lounge on my new giant patio in the sky, relaxed at last.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Go North for Freedom, part 2

I fall in love with a man. He's not glamourous or perfect in any way, just a nerdy looking guy with a blue collar job. We decide to move up to the Yukon and set up housekeeping, so we load into an old Cutlass Supreme and point it north. it's already winter when we leave and there's snow on the road.

For a Canadian road trip it's a romantic experience; the truck stops are charmingly gritty and the parkas are toasty warm on the inside. We make out in parking lots a fair amount. By the time we pull in to our destination, a fair-sized northern town, the car is loaded with supplies and we have had a big adventure we will always remember.

Then we settle down to sensible Northern living in a modular house made out of two old shipping containers. My husband and I both work for the local transit company, him as a vehicle mechanic and me as a dispatcher. Sometimes my job involves knocking truly gigantic icicles off the doorways of the building I work in. My husband has a hobby that involves multiple vats of boiling liquids kept in a part of the garage, metallurgy maybe? It's delightfully geeky.

We still make out in the chilly garage sometimes, because we just can't help it.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Go North for Freedom

Right Where It Belongs by Nine Inch Nails on Grooveshark
Unlike in real life, I had a whole lot of fun in my dream last night. I dreamed I was the type of girl who goes to parties every night. Some friends and I were getting drunk and dancing on tables in a run-down old house, well on our way to trashing the place. Once it was trashed, we moved on to another house, the one I lived in when I was 10. We started up the party again, an ounce of pot was spilled out on a table, and I was exploring the old rooms with a bottle in my hand. I came to what was formerly my parents' bedroom, intending to claim it as my own, but things felt different. The room had a creepy, hair-raising vibe it didn't used to have. After a few minutes in there, I started to hear voices coming from the ceiling, and once I heard a baby crying. My instincts said to get out of there, but I hung around a bit longer, trying to make sense of the voices from the ceiling, but they were just muttering disjointed phrases, like the hybrid in Battlestar Galactica. As I listened, the voices resolved themselves into a woman. She walked out of the shadows in a corner of the room, took hold of my hand and squeezed it. She said, "Go north for freedom," and a pilgrimage began.

"End of line."

My party friends and I set out on an epic trek towards the north. The whole world had been turned into a neverending series of malls and hotels; we never go outside. But this new world is populated with large spiderlike robots that lie dormant under staircases and in darkened rooms, waking up whenever they sense movement. They attack my friends and I. Our pilgrimage to the north becomes similar to a first person shooter game, where we scout ahead for robots and fight them whenever we can't avoid them.

Eventually, my entourage and I find new digs in an ultra-modern building, all glass and stainless steel, where all the cool features in the apartment are controlled with buttons on a sleek silver console. There's one in every room. I stand on the bed and play with the buttons that are supposed to move the window blinds into myriad stylish arrangements. Instead, they fall on my friends' heads. They are not amused, and they start listing all the ways in which the automation in the apartment will not work. They say the track lighting will leak and the windows will turn dark. Somehow, one of the cushions from a charcoal Danish modern sofa goes flying out an open window, and I can't go out to retrieve it because my keys have gone missing. To punish me for the falling curtains thing, a friend makes me drink gin from his cupped hands.

We do eventually head outside to look for the flying cushion. We walk all around the building and its in-house fine-dining restaurant in a quaint, old fashioned annex. Clear on the other side of the building, we find several people gathered on a patio overlooking a garden. Piles of detritus line the concrete walls of the garden, including my wayward couch cushion.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I dreamed an episode of Doctor Who.

Walking with a neighbour, I come to a park bench and there's a man sitting there. He's Asian, with dull bushy hair and dressed in jeans and a hoodie. My friend speaks to him gently for a while. Someone passes by and says, "Why are you so nice to that guy?" My friend says "He's going to die soon." She puts her hand on his leg and shows that he is skin and bones, his leg the thickness of a bone under his jeans.

We sit with the man - it seems his mother is there too. Then there's a party; a bunch of neighbours gather. The man takes an interest in me and tells me I too will be dead soon, maybe in a year and a half, unless I make changes. I lean over the table to reach for something, and while I do he leans on my back and spits on me. Supposedly that's healing.

Later, we are walking past a business and the owners are closing up, taking some things out to a vehicle and tidying up inside. There's a sign on the window proudly describing the oil well that used to be on that very spot a century ago.

Suddenly there's a mild rumbling in the ground that continues for several minutes, and somehow we know the building is possessed. Some otherworldly creature has moved in. It's in the basement. The owner angrily goes down there and comes back enraged, because the whole basement is sealed off with grown-in roots of some sort, white like bratwurst.

Then The Doctor arrives. He says in his giddy way that such-and-such has taken over the building and we must be very careful of it. The owner, hearing this, decided, against The Doctor's advice, to go back to the basement and try to force the thing out. He saws at the roots that clog the door but before he makes any progress, there's a scream from below and the building quakes severely. The floor bursts open, the building shatters, and a giant insect crawls out of the roof and into the house next door, where the sleeping owners wake in horror and run into the street in their pyjamas. The otherworldly creature now has their house; the business next door is a ruin.

People keep on using the house, because it's in one piece, but the energy inside is so fearful, so oppressive, that everyone connected with it goes through their days with a haunted look around their eyes. The Doctor, meanwhile, tries to find a way to expel the creature.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I took a brief break from reading scifi novels this summer and got into horror movies instead. Guess what I dreamed about (once I finally got to sleep, that is)? I dreamed longingly of a long and dangerous journey through conflict and adversity to visit my friends the aliens and space travelers. So I guess it's time I resumed my trek through CJ Cherryh's Foreigner novels that I started earlier this summer.

Still, the Lovecraftian horror story I read last night had me waking up with yet more heavy metal in my head, and since this blog is called "The Song In My Head When I Woke Up This Morning", here is some Tool.

And now, back to the nerdfest.