Monday, August 22, 2011

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree..

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I was walking down the street, and then I was inside a house. The house was on a lake, kind of-modern, with big curving windows that overlooked an expanse of grass that went down to the water. Very light and very expansive. I knew the place perfectly, I'd been there a million times.

Over to one side, well, wait, I'm not sure exactly where it was.. Oh, I know, you had to go up some stairs, and on each stair riser, there were painted flowers. Up the flowered stairs, a bedroom, my bedroom, very familiar. A closet door. And when I opened the closet door, there was another door. How did I forget that door? I opened the door, and inside was another closet. A big, expansive (yes, I know I said that before, but it was ) closet, with a shelves, no, drawers, like map drawers. Those narrow flat map drawers. The light was golden, and it smelled of...well, nice.

Whoa, I thought. Wonder what I put in those drawers? And I opened each one, and they were full of paisley shawls, and silk scarves, and ah...golden things.

Why didn't I remember I had this stuff?

Yes, fine, fine, of course it was a dream. And I've had it so many times! Why?

I've had it so many times, in fact, that when I'm in it now, I say, oh, it's the closet dream. I love this one. And I try to stay in it, but when I say that to myself, it's over.

I used to have a dream about being in a play but not knowing the songs or the dance. I had that all the time.Then one night, I thought to myself, don't worry, this is a dream. And I remember thinking, even if it wasn't a dream, I knew the songs and the dance, no problem. I haven't had the dream since.

Lately, I've had several big, apocalyptic, end-of-the-world dreams. And they were NOT scary.

I do not, sadly, dream of mystery plots. I do not, sadly, solve my problems in my dreams. And I know they're just snippets of our days, reformed by our brains into little movies. But I can't help but think they mean..something.

Do you have recurring dreams? What are they? And what do you think about that?

JAN BROGAN: I, too, fail to get miracle advice or plot solutions in my dreams. But I've come to believe that all those crazy, bad-ass dreams with time jumps and scenes ripped from whatever TV show I was watching the night before, may help clear all the CRAP out of my head, so I actually can come up with real solutions during my waking hours.

HALLIE EPHRON: I still, after all these years, have teaching anxiety dreams. Only now the 'kids' are adults and they're still as intractable. Talking to each other. Leaving the room and not coming back. Would love that lucid it's-all-a-dream moment because I'd just levitate me or them out of there.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I had recurring nightmares as a child--two of them. I still remember them vividly. And then, when I was older and not doing well in school, I had anxiety dreams--papers not written, tests not prepared for, etc. Now I just have dreams about missing deadlines . . .

I did, however, dream the WIP. It's the first time that has ever happened to me. I woke about four a.m. one morning and had the whole book in my head; setting, plot, characters, scenes, dialog. I got up and scribbled like mad for hours, getting as much down as I could. After that, I thought it would be easy to write the book, but it hasn't turned out that way. There's still all the nit-picky plotting and research and timelines . . . all the drudge work that goes into every book. Only time and a finished manuscript will tell whether the dream was a good thing.

HANK: Debs! That's amazing. Really? Something you hadn't thought of AT ALL during the day??

ROSEMARY HARRIS: Okay maybe my giant pontine cells...are asleep. If I do dream, I just don't remember. There was one lovely dream I used to have over and over again - and haven't for a few years. Maybe I can program myself to have it again - I'm alone in a one story building, almost like the images I've seen of cattle stations in Australia. Everything is some shade of brown or gold. There are lots of doors in the building, some of them screen doors that bounce and slap shut. I see the first lion after a few minutes, and then half a dozen more and we do this slow dance of my walking in and out of the doors - not wanting to run - and the lions following me, stalking but not ready to pounce. I'm more exhilarated than nervous and they always go away.

Other than that there's the one with Russell Crowe and the gladiator outfit.

DEBS: I want Rosemary's dream:-) Hank, I had some very general ideas about the book but hadn't even begun to try to put them together. The really weird thing about that was I had no recollection of dreaming. I just woke up, wondered what time it was, thought about going back to sleep, and suddenly realized the whole book was THERE. So bizarre. Something similar happened to my friend Kate Charles when she was recovering from open heart surgery. She was working on a series novel, and suddenly, inexplicably, had an entire but completely different book in her head. She put aside the series novel and wrote the standalone.

HANK: Whoa. Lions. And instant books. Doesn't it show you how our brains are capable of things we simply don't understand?

RHYS BOWEN: I took a fabulous class on dream psychology when I was in college. One thing they taught was that dreaming about a house is a symbol for how we see ourselves. So, dear Hank, you are in good shape--great, expansive house with lots of storage. It's light so you have no dark, scary places in your psyche.

HANK: Oh, what a nice thought! Or, maybe it shows I have no idea where anything is. Ill take your version..

RHYS: I too have had the play/opera performing dream when I'm about to go on and can't remember my first line. And the school about to take a test and don't know the subject dream.
My most interesting recurring dream was as a child I'd dream I was standing on train tracks in the dark. I could hear a train coming but couldn't see it and didn't know which set of tracks--as there was no space between them. I jumped from one to another in panic.

When I took dream pyschology I analyzed this, and was told that in dreams we sometimes rhyme our fears. Then I realized--I was a baby in World War II. I was too young to know that planes were flying over and they were scary, but my subconscious retained that fear. So they were planes not trains coming unseen in the dark. Once I figured that out, I never dreamed it again.

HANK: Oh, Rhys. Fascinating.

LUCY BURDETTE: (ROBERTA ISLEIB should really answer this one!) Of course in my previous life I dealt with a lot of dreams. We were taught to help the dreamer explore all her associations to the dream and gradually the meaning would emerge.

The recurring dream I have most often is that a ton of company is coming and I'm scrambling madly to figure out where they can all sleep. Geez, I came from a bit family and all, but we certainly all had beds! I'd much much rather wake up with a whole book in my head. that's something to yearn for!

HANK: Yes, fact, it makes me want to take a nap! So, Lucy, what rhymes with family? And Reds, what are your recurring dreams? And what do you think they mean? (And can you help us with any of ours?)

And coming up: Great guests every day this week, gang! And a book giveaway every day to a lucky commenter! Today one lucky commenter gets Joe Finder's BURIED SECRETS! (Because that's what's in our dreams, right?)


  1. Hi - Your dreams are so interesting. I usually just go from one into a completely different one without a break. The ones I remember - rarely - are scary! Dee

  2. I always dream that I'm back at work in my old insurance job and no one notices that I'm retired. They still expect me to work...wait, that's my nightmare.

  3. Oh Barbara, this IS a nightmare! Luckily you can always ask one of us to wake you!

  4. I have rather vivid dreams that I tend to remember, which usually is okay but sometimes I wake in the morning tired, like I've been up watching TV all night.

    I also have a recurring dream that I'd love some help understanding.

    I'm driving on an expressway through a city something like Boston, but the roads are unfamiliar. I'm trying to get off the highway but there are no exits. Then a long, long bridge lies ahead and I don't want to cross it but somehow I'm on the on-ramp. BTW, the traffic is heavy and fast.

    Needless to say, I do not awake refreshed from that one.


  5. I also dream about gettting the big white spaces out of the blogs. Talk about a dream. (And my captcha word is "feckin" . I rest my case.)

    Brenda, stress dream. My vote. Are you "on the road" to somewhere in life you don't want to go?

  6. Barbara, that's hilarous! I hope you wake up laughing...

  7. I've never had recurring dreams or suffered nightmares.

    But I did once dream that Jean-Claude Van Damme was my boyfriend. Does that count?

  8. My recurring nightmare has to do with flying, usually to China. Now, I have lived in many places across the globe (although not China) and I fly frequently to visit family on the west coast. I'm a teensy bit nervous about flying but not much.

    The worst of these flying to China dreams are when I am flying the plane. And I know in the dream that I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO FLY A PLANE. It's terrifying. Some are more pedestrian, like being at the airport with the flight about to leave but the passport is at home an hour away, or the people I am supposed to visit in China don't know anything about me. But when I'm piloting the full 747 right near the ground? Wake me up, please!


  9. Since it's summer, I'm reminded of one of my favorite recurring dreams: I'm wandering on a lonely beach picking up seashells, and there are so many to choose from! But about half of those dreams ended with a tidal wave, whatever that means.

    Like Deborah, I did once wake up with a complete plot in my head, and wrote the book--which will be the central story for the first Irish mystery. It hasn't happened since.

  10. Great question, Hank! In fact, I used to have that dream a lot more than I do now, something I realized when I was writing my first comment.

    Now that I think about it, the dream began when I was in law school. Seems to have subsided since I picked up the pen again.

    Hmmmm. Thanks, doc. What's the charge?

  11. Dreams are so interesting. I used to be aware of my dreams, but since menopause not so much anymore. I kind of miss them.

    However, I don't miss the kind I had when my youngest daughter was 2, and her sisters were 5 and 19. As you can guess by those numbers, I had a lot on my plate, and my husband was traveling six months of the year. I kept having this terrifying dream of my youngest daughter, who was completely unafraid of water, drowning in the baby pool. Every night--I was scared to go to sleep.

    A friend who was studying for a Masters in psychology at the time was auditing a dream interpretation class, and she could also do what is basically hypnosis, although I was aware of what was going on the whole time. What came out of our session was that my inner child was drowning, not my daughter. Well, was that much of a surprise? Not really.

    Once I figured out that I needed a little me time out of the madhouse that was my life then the dreams stopped.

  12. Now that you mention it I haven't been dreaming as much as I used to. Loss of dreams (the night/sleeping kind not the life expectations kind)....another wonderful consequence of menopause. Is there anything left when it's finally over?

  13. Yes, Ramona, that COUNTS!

    I LOVE dreams. Especially when I know I'm dreaming and I can make things happen. Like, okay, now I"m going to fly (not as in Edith's plane; like Peter Pan). So cool.

    I dream more when I'm anxious... or maybe it's just that I remember those dreams because I wake up right after them.

  14. Ramona, that's so funny! I never have "I know a movie star" dreams. That I remember at least.

    Isn't it funny,sometimes, when you try to tell the dream, it just--poof! disappears?

  15. Karen, you were afraid to go to sleep? That is so sad. And what an interesting interpretation..and result. Analysis and awareness seem to make such a difference, huh?

    Edith, your piloting dream seems like the same as the theater-performance dream, only in your milieu, right? Again, stress? (We're a funny group,huh?)

  16. Yvonne, my dreams changes to be much less scary. MUCH LESS. I never thought about it being connected to menopause. Hmm.

  17. I dream of a house. Open concept, post & beam, with a central wooden staircase that reaches high into the rafters. Lots of cupboards, recessed lighting, big square sink. Loaded with antiques.

    The windows offer a 360 degree view, from the long driveway on one side to a windswept path leading to a lake or the sea on the other.

    I want this house, yet I have never been there in real life. I dream of this house at least once or twice a year for the last twenty years.

    Funny enough, my dad says he lived in such a house in his early childhood in New Brunswick.

  18. Sandra, you bring tears to my eyes. I SO know what you mean about wanting it. And knowing it. Hmm.

  19. I've had a similar house dream twice. I'm always house shopping, and it's a much nicer house than my real-life house, and I'm so happy I've found it. And then I wake up. Sigh.

    Last year I had a dream that gave me the plot to a short story. I woke up and immediately jotted down enough notes so that the next day, I was able to write the story. Some revisions later, I'm happy with it and hope it will soon find a home.

    But the one one recurring dream I've had at least once a year for years is the stress dream. I'm always walking into a Spanish class final, and I haven't been to class all semester, and I know I'm doomed because you can't fake a final in a foreign language that you haven't learned. Fun!


  20. Prophetic dreams come around dawn ... the Witches Hour. If you read ACIM (A Course in Miracles) everything we consider "the real world" is really a dream and we will wake up one day. Universal Law tells us this is all an Illusion. I try to remember that when I hear what's going on in the world.

  21. Oh, I woke up from an amazing dream once--an the clock said 4:11. I remember thinking--oh, that's the number for information. So that means there was information in that dream, I should try to figure it out.

    And wow, there was. So funny, huh?

  22. Oh, Barb, I'm with you.I've had that dream a MILLION times. SO frustrating and upsetting.

    Raise your hands, gang--who's had the test dream?? Sigh.

  23. As early as elementary school and all the way through university, I would dream of my boy crush of the moment -- always from afar. The next day he would come into my sphere, when he never had before, always have something to say. Dates usually followed. Something as simple as a guy delivering the fertilizer my father had ordered for his garden and my having to sign the bill. Almost a whole year of dates followed that one. But since my marriage 38 years ago, the only recurring dreams I have are what I call my "room dreams." Whether I'm in an unfamiliar house or one I've dreamt about before, I am drawn from room to room. After about two years of this I came to believe it was a signal we were moving. And sure enough we did -- a lot! But we've been in this house 25 years and I've never had one. Now I'm working this into a book I'm working on.

  24. Wow - lots of interesting dreams. My two recurring dreams aren't so exciting.

    I have the recurring house dream - in the dream I enter an ugly, awful run-down shack that I own, but as I'm walking through the house I keep finding new doors, new rooms, etc. The house keeps going on and on, and it ends up that it's a huge, sort of beautiful, very interesting house.

    My other recurring dream is the exam anxiety dream - different versions. As a professor, I dream about missing class or missing an exam (I arrive late or totally forget about it) - or arrive without the syllabus or exam (to hand out). I used to have the various exam anxiety dreams as a student (couldn't find the exam, hadn't attended any of the classes, etc) - I had expected them to discontinue once I started teaching, but they just modified to the new circumstances.(It's funny, I was just writing about this before I turned to JRW)

    Sometimes I'll dream about someone who is hot - I wish it to become a recurring dream, but sadly it doesn't!

  25. Annoxford, that;s fascinating. I wonder which came first, the dream or the date?

    And Nancy, your house dream is quite wonderful! It's--reassuring, isn't it?

  26. Great dreams everyone! I had the house dream many times—one of my favorites because I always find an amazing secret room. I LOVE secret rooms.

    Lately I've been having a recurring nightmare: all I visualize is a paragraph I wrote (not really,) in my book (not at all,) and I know the sentences are dull, horrible, boring, meaningless, yet no matter how hard I try, I don't know how to fix them or make them better. Ever. Swear. I'm afraid to go to sleep.

  27. I used to have a recurring dream that involved spitting out my teeth. Eventually I realized that it only happened when I was having severe sinus, which made me perceive my teeth as loose - and the odd thing is, then it went away!

    I'd like to have a useful writing dream. I love to write about dreams and dreaming, they come up frequently in my stories.

  28. FLuffy! I've had EXACTLY that tooth dream!! Oh, gosh, I'd forgotten all about it. So disturbing.

    I found out it's a --shocking--stress dream.

    SO interesting!

  29. I once woke from anesthetic and a dream where the entire world was made of words, and they were unraveling and with them the universe. I was frantically writing the world back into existence. I woke from this with the strongest feeling that it was the reality and waking life the dream.

  30. Interesting. My nightmares are dreaming that I'm pregnant with twins and married to a man whose whole family spends all their time watching the shopping channels, and having the whole town chip in to send me to medical school when I don't want to go. In my good dreams, I'm a freedom fighter in France, blowing up things. I really don't want to think about any of these too much...I fear they smack of multiple personality disorder and criminal tendencies.

  31. Linda? Pamela? You lead ve-ry intersting lives!..xoxo

  32. I dreamed the entire first scene of the book that is now at a small publisher awaiting their verdict. And I not only have recurring dreams, but one of them was shared by my father, my sister, and me. It was about the same house, which none of us had ever actually seen, and it was a bit scary, so I guess we all have/had dark places in our psyches. We were all trying to reach the top floor, and after I finally did, none of us had the dream again. Now my sister and I (my father passed away about 5 years ago) have shared another dream. Remains to be seen if it'll repeat.

  33. And (randomly drawn) the winner of BURIED SECRETS is: NANCY! Please contact me via my website and we'll get it to you instantly!

    Second prize..a surprise! Goes to Thelittlefluffycat! Again, let me know where to send it! And --congratulations!

    Tuesday--win another book! Check it out..