Friday, January 31, 2014

In Your Wildest Dreams


Are you making the most of your nocturnal adventures?

By

Catherine Cavendish

I’ve never understood the concept of dreaming in black and white, yet my husband says most of his dreams are monochrome. Mine are, and always have been, in full, vivid Technicolor, and when they turn into nightmares, they come complete with sepia tones, dark corners and mysterious shadows.

OK, I’m a paranormal horror writer (mainly), so nightmares are my stock-in trade, but maybe what I do transmits itself to my unconscious, so I’m more prone to scary sleep encounters. Perhaps if I wrote romance, I’d have more – well – romantic dreams. Whatever the reason, I’ve learned to take a moment each morning, the second I awake, to drag up any residual memories of that night’s dreams. Some though, are so powerful, they stick with you well into your waking hours, with no effort required.

A few months ago, I woke with a start from a particularly disturbing dream. In it, I had been in some kind of library or museum and opened a narrow display drawer. You know the sort. The long dead owner’s butterfly collection is laid out neatly under glass. Murdered butterflies. Gruesome.

Anyway, this time, instead of impaled butterflies, moths, tiny birds’ eggs or beetles with vicious looking claws, I held a tightly rolled up canvas in my hand. As I straightened it, I revealed a painting of a lake – all murky blues and greens and painted from an underwater perspective. I stared at it and, suddenly, a frightened girl drifted into view. Pale, ghost-like, she was dressed in a long white dress decorated with a pattern of tiny flowers. The style was Edwardian and her long, brown hair wafted around her face and shoulders as she desperately struggled to rise to the surface. But her arms flailed and the despair in her eyes told me she knew she was drowning. She mouthed, “Help me!”

But my dream self just stood, terrified, clutching the painting, as the girl’s dark eyes closed and she sank to the bottom of the lake.

Then I panicked. I rolled the picture back up, thrust it into the drawer, slammed it shut and ran out of the room. That’s when I woke up.

And that’s when I reached for my bedside notebook. We’ve all got one, right? Because, you never know when you’re going to dream up a great story idea. This one has turned into a full length novel, with a working title of, Saving Grace Devine.

Another nightmare has resulted in a half page story idea currently pinned to my notice board, waiting for its turn to develop. In that one, there’s a strange shed-like house with a conservatory full of pictures. All are quite normal and unmemorable, except for one, painted in muted shades of yellow, brown and russet and depicting the house owner’s grandfather (don’t ask me how I knew this, I haven’t a clue, but it all made sense in the dream). He was, supposedly, a benevolent man, but was he? My dream self was scared of him, though he had died long ago.

Then I saw the door of the house was open. It shouldn’t be. It hadn’t been a few minutes earlier. Now, I realised I was the current owner. I must go and investigate. But fear held me back. Maybe burglars had forced their way in and ransacked the place? Or, maybe, he was back…

Yes, you’ve guessed it, just as my hand reached for the door, I woke up. Ah, well, I didn’t say you’d dream the whole story. That’s a distinct rarity, and you probably wouldn’t remember it all, even if you attempted to write it down within seconds of waking up. But never underestimate the power of your unconscious mind to dream up an original and riveting plot – and maybe even some intriguing characters too, if you’re lucky.

And don’t forget to put that notebook and pen by your bed., You never know when they’ll come in handy!



Catherine Cavendish can be found here:
www.catherinecavendish.com
http://www.facebook.com/CatherineCavendish
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4961171.Catherine_Cavendish
http://twitter.com/#!/cat_cavendish
https://plus.google.com/u/0/109439758903132910470/posts


17 comments:

Big Mike said...

Least half my stories are born or linked to my dreams. They're not color but they are vivid.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Ute Carbone said...

So glad to have you here today, Cat! I dream in color, too.

Catherine Cavendish said...

Thanks for dropping by, Big Mike. It's interesting how some people dream in black and white and others in colour. I wonder why that is?
Thank you for having me Ute. This is a great website!

Catherine Cavendish said...

I should also add that, since I wrote this post, I've signed a contract with Samhain Horror to publish 'Saving Grace Devine'. It will come out in the summer. So, not only are dreams inspiring, they can also come true!

Shehanne Moore said...

Thrilled for you Cat, lol even if I might have nightmares reading it! Fabulous news and so deserved. Great post. Dream on girl, I say.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Though not my favorite genre, this is a story I will read. let us know when it debuts.

Listening to an interview, I learned that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Dr. J and Mr. H. after a series of dreams.

Catherine Cavendish said...

Thanks, Shehanne. I will! Thanks Julie. Should be sometime in July or August I believe.

January Bain said...

My dreams are so terrifying at times they color my day scared! Yes, it's Technicolor all the way.
Best, January
ps. dreamed I was trapped by a huge grizzly bear this week and had to fight him off. Thank goodness they say that dreams are just dreams and don't happen in real life.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Turn that Grizzly into a rug, January -- a throw rug!

Elin Gregory said...

Colour! Glorious vivid technicolour, with Surroundsound, 3D, HD and all the bells and whistles. I've often dreamed scenes that have made it into stories - how the skirts of a soaking wet trenchcoat wrap around ones legs when running for the border, smacking an enemy under the jaw with a spear butt while balancing on the parapet of a bridge, ducking and covering having just thrown a Mills Bomb - but generally I just get the inspiration from the fact that when I dream I know I'm male. :) Dead handy that.

Catherine Cavendish said...

Thanks, January and Elin. Great to know so many of you are having such vivid nocturnal adventures!

Marie Carhart said...

Both of your dream inspirations sound awesome and I can't wait to read both of them - I want to know what happens next! So I know I'll be reading about the little girl this summer at the pool (hmmm...reading a novel about drowning at the pool???). Hope to find out what or who was in the house soon, too!

Erin Moore said...

Great post, Cat! I need a bedside notebook...

Keith Pyeatt, author of paranormal thrillers said...

Interesting, Cat. I've always been an active dreamer. Waaaay back in grade school, it was common for me to entertain the family at breakfast with my wild dreams from the previous night. Mine are full color too, with sound and very precise smells and subtle textures I feel by touch.

Catherine Cavendish said...

Thanks, Marie. It's OK, you'll be safe by the pool. It's lakes you need to worry about! Erin - tut, tut. Now go out and buy one immediately! Sweet dreams... Keith - the sense of smell is the only sense you're NOT supposed to experience in dreams, so that's amazing!

SharonStruth said...

Great post, Cat! I have dreams I'm editing (rather well, I might add) and I wake up and hurry into my office to jot down the subconscious words, which flowed more perfectly than my conscious words! The book sounds wonderful.

Catherine Cavendish said...

Thanks Sharon. It's great when dreams come to our aid, isn't it?