Ever since I can remember, my subconscious has done horrible things to me, saddling me with dreams that generally range between unsettling and truly terrifying. The things I see and experience in my awake life can influence my dreams, which can then influence my awake life, etc. It's a crazy, crazy cycle.
Example: In my Simon & Schuster video interview, I alluded to having been afraid of the dark as an adult. It all started when I decided that since I happened to be in my early twenties at the time, and, therefore, a grownup, it was time for me to watch some horror/suspense movies. It didn't go well. I had nightmares. There were images in my head--some from the movie and some from my dreams--that wouldn't go away. For over a year, I would take a flashlight if I needed to go to the bathroom at night, otherwise, I was sure to run into dead people hanging from the ceiling. I'd run through my office in the early morning to turn on all the lights before those same dead people could get me. And, man, don't even get me started on high school letter jackets, okay?
In the past year, I've come to (slightly) better understand why I'm so affected by my dreams and scary movies and such. This vague understanding doesn't make it any easier, though, when I'm waking up screaming or my husband is shaking me awake to save me from whatever is causing me to whimper and thrash around.
I've started writing a number of different manuscripts over the years, and have observed that the ones I've actually finished (or in one case, will finish because it's contracted) were in some way inspired or aided by a traumatic dream of mine. I don't like to say, "It all came to me from a dream!" because that's just one piece of the puzzle.
I'll probably talk about this a little more next year, but one big reason why I decided to write my next book, Live Through This, is because of a recurring nightmare that has plagued me several times a year for over two decades. And in Freefall, there is a conversation between two characters about what it's like to dream about people after they die, and about how their minds mess with them and make them believe that the people close to them didn't die. Then they have to wake up and discover that the dream was the trick. I've had a few readers write to me, saying that I've nailed it, that that's exactly what it was like for them after losing someone. And, well, I believe them because that's what it was like for me, too.
Saturday and Sunday nights, my subconscious did something rare and unexpected; it gave me exactly the dreams I needed for some peace. The anxiety and sadness I've had for the past week lifted. And so I say, thanks, subconscious, for finally doing something decent for once!
*I intended this post to have a more jokey feel to it, but everything kept coming out serious. Sigh, sigh!