The Dreamer: An Origin Story

Dreams and out of body experience factor heavily into my writing. I thought I’d take tonight’s blog to give a little insight as to why.  Interesting story…

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Have you heard the song “Silent Lucidity” by Queensrÿche?  A child of the 90s, I was obsessed with it as a freshman in high school.  Because by then I had already achieved dream control, something the creepy, synthesized voice during the bridge claimed was possible.  Not everyone believed it; not everyone had believed me that I claimed to be good at it.  Now a wildly popular progressive metal band was freaking singing about it.  Take that, chumps, told you so!  Ahem, ok I might have had a teensy-weensy chip on my shoulder by then from being teased one too many times for being the “weird girl in the trench coat.”

Lucid dreaming is an awareness that one is dreaming.  One step beyond that is dream control. Basically, if you can manage to recognize a dream while you are dreaming, you can control it.  I’ve heard of a simple way to teach yourself to lucid dream.  Simply ask yourself at regular intervals throughout the day, “Am I dreaming?”  The answer “no” will be easy to determine when you’re awake.  Inevitably…eventually…once asking yourself this question has become habit–I’ve heard it takes 3 weeks for form a habit, so maybe even in less than a month–you will ask it when you actually are sleeping, and the answer will be “yes.”  Once you achieve awareness, you just have to convince yourself the dream is totally within your control.  Sometimes the subconscious is stubborn about giving up the reigns but, with practice, taking over gets easier.

That is NOT how I learned to control my dreams.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing as lucid dreaming when I taught myself to do it.  I posed this question to my dad out of pure curiosity one day, “Why is it I can remember my dreams when I wake up, but I never can remember actually falling asleep.”   My dad told me no one could do that; it wasn’t possible.  So like any healthy pre-teen, I set out to prove him wrong, to catch myself in the act of falling asleep.

Instead of asking myself if I was awake randomly throughout the day, I began to do it as I was falling asleep, as my body and my mind relaxed, as my thoughts became precocious and disjointed, maybe even as I started to snort a little in between the breaths, a prelude to snoring.  I asked myself gently over and over again, “Am I asleep?” I had to do it gently–as one might acknowledge a candle flame during meditation–because concentration on the question pulled me closer to the waking world and farther from the dreaming.  So I asked myself over and over again and I asked myself gently…until one morning, when I decided to grab an extra hour of sleep in my dad’s recliner before school, my answer was finally “yes.”

Even so, I could feel my body–my sleeping body–in the chair, I could feel my heart beating…its rhythm increasing as I realized I had done it!  I had actually identified the moment I slipped into unconsciousness! The excitement of it woke me up.

It took a few more tries…a few more morning naps…before I caught the moment again, and that time–one foot in the hazy not-yet-formed darkness of dreaming, the other still in my dad’s recliner–I kept my breathing steady and deep as I slipped father into Stage 2 sleep. I also decided I needed to get away from my body as quickly as possible.  To distance myself from that beating echo that was my heartbeat, my link the the waking world. 

I remember clearly the feeling that first time stepping out of my body, weightless, into a dimly lit living room I formed around me exactly as I knew it in the waking world, of crossing it to a front door that formed in front of me where I knew it should be, of opening it up into the predictable pre-dawn darkness.  And of my first lucid dreaming feat…making the sun come up. 

I only lucid dream occasionally now, though I always get a little thrill when it happens, when that moment sleep comes and I am aware enough of it to choose what happens next.   

In Blood Toy, Diane has three distinct personas, one of which is the Dreamer.  The Dreamer, as you might have guessed, is inspired by my own lucid dreaming self and experiences, some of which I think I might even tell you about some day. 

It just so happens last weekend I had a lucid dream.  Several actually.  I was sleeping only an hour or two at a time and lightly because of an upper respiratory infection.  And in that series of dreams, I finished the next chapter of Diane’s story:  Blood Toy Book 2, Kindred Shadows.  And I even remembered the whole thing when I awoke! 

Look for teasers for Book 2 coming next month, and my next Kindle Countdown deal for Book 1 just in time for Halloween! Can’t wait?  Read now for free on Kindle Unlimited.

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