Today would be a great day to help Allison Pang celebrate the release of A Sliver of Shadow, the (I’m sure) thrilling and wonderful sequel to Brush of Darkness. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I loved Brush of Darkness, so it’s all queued up and ready to go, just as soon as I get a chunk of time.
But the purpose of Love a Writer is, well, exactly what it sounds like! Allison is a hard working writer. Like a lot of us, she also manages a family and a day job, and still finds time to write. She has a thing for bacon, and there may be a small and horny unicorn inhabiting her underwear drawer. No – wait – Phin the Unicorn lives with her heroine, Abby Sinclair.
Anyway, it would be really cool if you stopped by her blog or her twitter feed (@allison_pang) to say congrats, maybe take the time to RT a link or two to help her share the joy and spread the word.
Happy Wednesday. You are all awesome.
I’m talking to a client. Nothing unusual, nothing out of place. I have no reason to be afraid of this person. But I am. I can hear my own heart beating like an external drum. I become aware that we are all alone, he and I. This is when he circles my neck with his hands and begins to choke me. I try to scream but no sound comes out. My hands refuse to scratch or struggle, my feet won’t kick. Nobody is going to rescue me.
We’ve all experienced that moment in a dream: the one where you really need to act. You need to run, you need to scream, you need to fight, but your dream body refuses to respond. It’s terrifying.
Interestingly enough, this dream paralysis appears to be part of a protective feature put in place when we are in REM sleep. The large muscle groups are inactivated and taken off line, probably to prevent us from blundering around like bats in daylight, bashing ourselves against walls and furniture. Also – can you imagine the scenario where your dream self is able to fight back – where there is a satisfactory swinging of fists and feet – what might be the effect on the person who is lying innocently beside you?
What about sleepwalking? Sleepwalking and talking happens during deep sleep in Non-REM stages, not REM sleep, and is another story for another day.
I once woke up while my body was still paralyzed, which was more frightening than any nightmare I’ve ever had. On some level my conscious mind knew what was going on, and still I was terrified. Awake. Aware that I was lying in my bed. Unable to open my eyes or move my arms or legs or do anything other than breathe. This went on long enough for my active writer brain to come up with all sorts of scenarios of life long paralysis before I was able to get my body moving again.
What about you? I have an almost morbid curiosity about other people’s dreams – nightmares included.
It’s Wednesday again, and that means time to give a little extra love to a fellow writer.
This week’s special person totally blows me away. For one thing, she’s a mom to several little people. Not the sort of mom I am, either, with the take and bake pizzas and crockpot dinners and regular leftover nights. Nope, this is the sort of lady who will actually make meatballs from scratch.
As if this is not enough, she also has a job. And runs marathons. And does stand up comedy.
Somewhere in the middle of it all, she finds time to write. This week, even while dealing with an evil flu bug that swept through the ranks, she has been courageously tackling difficult revisions. I’m willing to bet she could use an extra hug or two.
So, if you haven’t already met Kristina Martin, you can say hi to her on twitter: @quickmissive. Or, you can stop by her blog (I warn you it might make you cry, but only in the really good way). If you already are friends or followers or stalkers or whatever, just give her a little extra flourish of the cheering pom poms or a fly by hug.
While you’re at it, give yourself a pat on the back and a word of encouragement.
My research into dreams and dreaming carried on this week, interspersed with investigations into the myths and legends around the Fountain of Youth, Holy Wells, and the Elixir of Life.
I’m contemplating a plot point for WAKEWORLD which would involve my heroine, and possibly everybody else, being barred from DREAMWORLD for a period of time. So my question of the week was “what would happen if we stopped dreaming?”
In my quest for knowledge on this subject I took a look at the basic science. (By which I mean anything easily accessible on the internet with the assistance of Google. No textbooks were opened in the pursuit of this knowledge, nor were any scientific papers and studies consulted. I did, however, avoid Wikipedia and Wikihow.)
I found out that dreams appear to be instrumental in balancing moods, learning new tasks, and storing memories. People deprived of REM sleep (even if they still get Non-REM sleep) have difficulty with learning new skills, although they retain any abilities they previously possessed. Their memories and mood are affected. One study indicates that insufficient REM sleep may have to do with migraine headaches. Rats deprived of REM sleep got sick and developed sores on their bodies. (I know – ick, right?)
Apparently we do dream during non-REM as well as REM sleep, but these dreams differ in quality and intensity and seem to serve a different purpose. EEGs show brain activity much like that of waking during the REM phase of sleep.
Normally we all spend a couple of hours or so in REM sleep every night, occurring in cycles interspersed with Non-REM sleep. If REM sleep is consistently interrupted, these cycles will occur closer and closer together and last longer, in an apparent attempt to make up the difference. This signals their importance to the system, although again nobody seems to be entirely certain exactly why REM is so important.
I’m not sure how this will all fit into the novel at this point, but that is part of the fun.
Anybody here ever suffered REM deprivation? Personal experiences are so much more interesting than Science.
This week I’d like you to say hi to Sarah L. Blair. She’s a fun and interactive Twitter follow, and is currently in the process of querying her first novel. This blog post, in which she compares dating to the process of looking for an agent, is both hilarious and true. On Twitter you’ll find her at @SarahLBlair.
I invite you to go say hi on Twitter or visit her blog. Offer condolences and encouragement about the query process.
If you missed last week’s Love a Writer Wednesday and would like to know more about what I’m trying to accomplish with this weekly post, you can read about it here.
Have you ever dreamed something before it happened?
There are a lot of opinions out there on precognitive dreams. Some say this type of dream is impossible and therefore doesn’t happen, that those who claim to have had these dreams are lying or deluded or confused. Or, more kindly, have simply experienced a coincidence.
Some argue that the subconscious, always processing data we are not consciously aware of, is able to seem to predict certain events. Nothing woo-woo about this – it’s rather like a computer processing data and coming to a logical conclusion.
Jung believed in a collective unconscious beyond the private subconscious – that there are layers of mythology and memory common to all, and that the dream state taps into these.
And there are full on, hard core dream believers, who say that we can foresee certain elements of the future through dreams. This is the oldest of the beliefs, going back as far as recorded memory: Oracles. Prophets. Shamans.
I’ve had experiences just strange enough to make me a believer. Twice, I’ve met people in dreams days or hours before meeting them in the flesh. Often I’ll find myself in the middle of some simple, ordinary act during the day, and as my hand reaches out to grab a paper, as I open a particular computer file, as I pick up the phone, I recognize the fact that I dreamed this action the night before. Unfortunately, my dream recall is less than stellar and I don’t usually remember more than this one freeze frame moment.
The closest I’ve come to a full-on precognitive dream happened a couple of years back. I had dreamed that I was driving my car on a winter road, downhill and around a corner. The car went out of control on the ice, off the road and airborne in a heartbeat. I woke up before hitting bottom. The dream scared me. I drove cautiously the next day. And then I found myself driving downhill and around a corner on a winter road. In that moment I knew that this was the corner from my dream. It was a road I had driven many times before, so no surprises about it showing up in dream. Still, with the dream memory fresh in my mind I doubled my caution, slowed my speed, came around the corner and hit ice.
My slower speed saved me. And it was the dream that slowed me down.
I’m fascinated by dreams – both what causes them, and how they impact human behavior. This fascination had a lot to do with the writing of BETWEEN, and I’m continuing to delve into my own dream experiences and those of others as I’m getting ready to write the sequel.
So what do you think? Do you believe in dreams coming true? Have you ever had a precognitive dream of your own? I would love to hear your beliefs and experiences.
Halfway through the work week. Almost halfway through the writing week. What better day to pause for a minute and appreciate a fellow writer?
I want to try an experiment with something new. Every week, I invite you to join me in giving a little extra boost and support to someone who writes among us. There doesn’t need to be a special reason. Too often we wait for the big landmarks – the agent, or the publishing deal, or the book release.
There are so many milestones along the way – finishing a rough draft. Starting a revision. Finishing a revision. And another revision, and another revision, and another. Killing darlings, fighting revision tentacles. Battling self doubt and the power of the internal critic. Simply getting up in the morning to write, or staying up at night. Getting your butt in the chair and the words on the page.
This week, if you haven’t met him already, I’d like to introduce you to Ara. I met Ara at the James Scott Bell writing intensive I attended last year. He is dedicated to writing, a late night writer who does his word crafting after the day job is over and the family is asleep, a schedule that would slay me in a week. I understand he’s just beginning the exciting and nerve wracking business of querying his newly completed novel ACES.
I’m hoping we can all have some fun with this. Stop by one of the links and leave a comment. Say hi to him on Twitter: @araTHEwriter. Give the writer a little extra buzz, and maybe make a new friend while you’re at it.