My sleep pattern is, at best, erratic. Shallow, light, one hint of a snore and I’m wide awake but, most nights, it is actually getting to sleep that is the biggest problem.
As soon as my head hits the pillow, my thoughts keep me awake. I think about the things that have been on my To-Do List for weeks, and cuss myself about the things I left off my shopping list. I also brainstorm ideas for my next story.
I defy any would-be author to say that their works-in-progress don’t keep them awake. I sleep with a manuscript underneath my pillow, so I can edit during bouts of insomnia. If I think of a plan to propel my story forward, my trusty laptop is propped up at the side of my bed then, suddenly, the dawn chorus starts and I realise its nearly time to get up. During the first couple of years into my first novel, I was up all night writing it anyway.
Last night was different. I slept well, soundly and when I sleep well I dream. I spun, twirled, ducked and dived, my way to fantasia, my very own subconscious creation myth. A burlesque interpretation of my life, farcical mirror images of me, triggered by the repressed images I subconsciously store at the back of my mind.
So, why do we dream? Scientists will give you many reasons, these are some of mine.
I have been known to save the world on my black as night charger. The suppressed fantasy of the luxury of owning my own horse again, perhaps?
Frequent visitations back to my childhood, retaking exams, mealtimes with my parents. The desire to experience as an adult, what my life was really like when I was a child?
As a child, I had a recurring nightmare about three witches standing around a well, chanting, and a very small me convinced they were about to throw me in. Perhaps I should have waited to read Macbeth until I was older?
More recently my recurring dream/nightmare is about dragging my worldly goods around on a hand-drawn cart. I keep putting my dog and three cats on the back of the cart. They keep jumping off, I keep putting them back on until they eventually run away and I can’t find them. I am distraught. My wallet is something else I regularly lose in my dreams and I end up roaming the streets with nothing more than the clothes I am wearing. Brexit angst?
Or, even worse, I am naked.
Bizarre dream recall? My brain is probably more active when I’m asleep. Maybe Freud would have had a hunch as to what goes on inside my head?