I seem to have been behind today, not sure why as I have done plenty of chores. I think the thing was that I woke at seven as usual, but fell back into such a deep, deep sleep and had a vivid, very vivid dream which lasted a long time. No doubt in fact it was only a few minutes, but there seemed to be an endlessness to it, and when i woke, startled, I was still in it for several moments.
There are plenty of theories about dreams and why they occur, and it seems that in every culture and going back to early times dreams and in the past have thought to be significant or important in some way. I can’t say my dream was significant or important, an ordinary family scene, and as often a confusion because something was lost, a worry that something was forgotten, and then I was forgotten as the car drove away without me… nothing very significant or exciting, but so vivid!
I’m not sure where I it was, but I read somewhere in an article about writing that dreams in stories should be avoided, that no-one is interested in other people’s dreams, especially fictional somebodies in stories. Ever since then, whenever it was, I have been very careful using characters’ night adventures. However everyone dreams, even if they forget them, so characters must dream too – and sometimes dreams, even half-remembered ones have a significance.
In my novel Flipside, one of the main characters suffers from PSTD having served in the Balkans and other conflict zones. His dreams are not properly revealed, only the effects they have on him – and on others as his night terrors are loud and vivid and terrifying. In another novel, Loving Judah, a very different one about the break-down of a marriage after the death of a step-son, Aislin the wife whose husband is drifting away from her, seems to be coping – with her bereavement and her failing marriage. However her vivid dreams cause her to walk in her sleep, and she wakes, confused, disoriented and frightened. Again, the dreams are not completely described, only the effects they have on her and others.
The only other time I’ve mentioned dreams, and described them in a little more detail is ‘Lucky Portbraddon‘. Ismène is dreaming about her ex-husband Jaco and her boyfriend, James:
In her dream James and Jaco were playing chess and becoming increasingly annoyed with each other; what they didn’t seem to realise was that the pieces were actually alive and were moving from square to square of their own accord.
“Let music soothe the savage bees,” Ismène said and began to play the mandolin. The chess pieces had become bees and they flew to the window. Ismène went to let them out but she was back at Slake Hall and the landscape was white and black and the sky was full of snow.
Later the bees reoccur:
Ismène was dreaming of bees again and even as she dreamt she thought she should find out if they had any meaning. They were golden and precious and maybe made of metal, maybe their wings were studied with sparkling gems… but it was a dream and the buzzing was her phone, vibrating on the table beside her bed.
Although she was awake she said, “it’s snowing” as she pressed receive, but of course that too was in her dream.
if you want to find out what happens to the ex SAS office with PTSD – and whether the violence in his past is also in his present, or the couple broken by the death of a son, or Ismène who becomes unexpectedly involved in the complicated lives of the Portraddons, then Here’s a link to my books –