how to get up in the morning

Going back to university is great, but it will mean getting up at half past six twice a week, and as you know, I like my sleep.  So I’ve been wondering how I’m going to manage.

The experience of many years tells me that lying in bed thinking I have to get up NOW. i have to get up NOW can take a long time to trigger the limbs into action.  And an alarm clock on the other side of the room is no help at all if my still-dreaming self gets straight back into bed thinking it won’t do any harm because I’m definitely awake.

This morning I was lying in bed, thinking move your legs! you have to get up NOW. legs move! get up NOW so I could catch the bus round to K’s house.  And I realised with sudden clarity that to interrupt that pattern, you need to have a lucid dream in which you see something you weren’t expecting.*  The startling image would immediately jolt your body awake.

When I find out how to do that, I’ll let you know.

* like a bald man with scales on his scalp.

 

 

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Fire dreams and barbeque-ing students

Philip Larkin’s father – shortish, with greyish-white whiskers – was having a go at some army official or politician.  “You know they barbequed my son,” he was saying, and he meant it quite literally.  During the war, he accused, the troops didn’t have enough resources, they didn’t have enough food.  Some platoons turned to cannibalism and Larkin was roasted and eaten by his colleagues.

Larkin small

wtf, subconscious?

As I was waking from this dream, semi-conscious, I thought, “is that really how Larkin died? I’m not sure that’s right…”  My thoughts also turned to Angela’s Ashes, which I’d been reading before bed.  Although no cannibalism as far as I’ve read, it does describe abject poverty and desperation.

While Larkin wrote “they fuck you up, your mum and dad / They may not mean to but they do / They fill you with the faults they had / and add some extra, just for you,” Frank McCourt claims to have an infallible rejoinder: “People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version.”  At least both authors were of like mind with regards to a happy childood not being “worth your while.”

Once I was fully awake and making breakfast, I remembered the words, “they barbequed him.” Of course! Today I was going to a barbeque for postgraduate students in Coventry, which happens to be where Larkin was born.  There’s a pub named after him there.

Coventry, as we know, took quite a roasting itself during the second world war.  And in the bit of Angela’s Ashes that I’m reading now, the protagonists’ father is working on a defence plant there.  (Larkin had nothing to do with the war, by the way – his bad eyesight saved him the inconvenience of having to fight, so he swanned around at university instead.)

And so my subconscious mashes together literary and historical references.  I wonder if, gruesomely, I’d also come up with a link between a person’s ashes and a person being barbequed.

More personally, the dream reflected some of my anxieties about going back to university – am I going to get burned? My flesh torn from my frame like that of a spit-roasted pig?

*

Well, it turns out the student-barbeque was quite benign.  I haven’t met anyone else from my course yet, despite there possibly being eighty of us, but I had some nice chats with a few of the staff, and students from other courses.  I’ve enrolled online, and given them my bank details…shit got real.

Lectures start in four weeks time, so to quote Phil: “kick up the fire, and let the flames break loose.”

 

 

Everyone knows Dave (can dance).

My housemate Dave went to see one of his relatives (an aunt?) in an am-dram production in his home town in South West England.  So far it was gently enjoyable, if a little plodding.  One of the cast – possibly playing an olde worlde town mayor – called on an audience member to join the cast on stage.  Dave, being considered the amiable sort, was chosen and the rest of the audience chuckled a little at his pliant haplessness.  While his aunt and the mayor continued a bit of dialogue, Dave awaited instruction.

What happened next was this:

seabass tap dancing

That’s Dave doing a tap dance.

Having got him up there, the actors didn’t quite seem to know what to do with him. There was a slightly embarrassing silence as Dave’s aunt and the town mayor appeared to wonder whose line was next.  Then a rapid sequence of taps sounded from around Dave’s feet, as though he had castanets in one heel. Then the other heel. The audience began to whoop as Dave flew up and down the stage with a cascade of taps and trills.

(Inwardly, his aunt was fuming at being upstaged by her own nephew, but couldn’t show her anger in the face of the audience’s cheers.  She and the mayor were forced into the indignity of pretending that the tap-dancing stooge had been part of their act all along.  Poor aunty!)

Orgy of death. Again.

For my day-job, I rent workspace, and one place I worked has recently closed down.  Not particularly a problem, because I was hardly ever there anyway, and there are other places I can work from, but I did like the manager there.  He was a gentle, unassuming middle-class hippie who I imagine trying to balance yurt-living with academia.

Last night I dreamt he was repurposing the space to hold soirees where people came to play music, exhibit art, smoke the pipe and almost certainly have orgies.  I was just a little offended that he didn’t think my business would fit in with that.

But then dead bodies – naked ones, I think – started turning up in the city.  They were dumped just beyond the edges of my parents’ cul-de-sac (which as you may know, is in an entirely different part of the country from where I live), and I think my mum and I discovered them together.

Whatever point my subconscious mind was trying to make recently with this dream, it obviously feels I haven’t got it yet.  (Fair enough, I haven’t.  There was so much going on in the moonlight dream that I could be mulling it over for months.)

What recurring themes have you noticed in your dreams?  Do you have dreams that recur every so often, over many years (like the one where your exams are tomorrow, and your revision notes have turned into a shoe)?  Or, as I’m having currently, a cluster of similar-feeling dreams happening over a few weeks or months?  Let me know in the comments!

Oh, and please do subscribe to this site so that I can update you on the next unlikely killing spree.

home

I was a young girl with longish fair hair.  (Or was I watching a film about a young girl?  Bloody film dreams!)  I’d been adopted by a kindly couple and was arriving home with them permanently after months of visits and discussions, during which I’d kept thinking they would change their mind.  There was every opportunity for them to decide I was too much trouble – or if not I, then the adoption process.  My new father in the dream was my real-life dad, although much younger, which he would be seeing as I was more than twenty years younger myself.  I sobbed with relief, my new mother watching me gently, as I looked around at the smallish living room, the oak-furnished kitchen where I now lived and could not be sent away from.

I’d say the meanings of this dream are fairly self-explanatory: longing for love, wanting parental protection, wanting a second chance at childhood, wishing my childhood / parents had been different.  In particular, it’s only in relatively recent years that my real-life dad and I have come to understand each other better and be close; hence me wishing us both younger again, so that we could get to know each other with more years, and my adulthood, still ahead of us.

At least one thing that never ends well

So actually, I had a sort of lovey-dovey dream about K last night, which, if these theories are to be believed, may not bode well for the romance.

In a definite ill-omen towards a different sort of relationship, I also dreamt sending a shirty email to a potential client who wanted to haggle over price.

(In reality, I sent a polite email that nonetheless conveyed the same message).

by moonlight

I was watching a film at my parents’ place (a device my subconscious particularly loves to use).  In it, an almost-pubescent girl was guest at a huge old house owned by a man with something of the undead about him.  To my dreaming mind, the house looked like that of my best friend from junior school, with the same split level floors (the first floor had mezzanines, and didn’t make sense as just one storey), and rooms that instead of having jusst one door – in and out – had doors in at least two of their walls, so that you could lock one door behind you and carry on through the other exit to the next chamber.  But this house, of course, was much bigger than the one where I used to play.

moonlight house

Other guests were staying at the house, adults and children, mostly females, the girl didn’t know how many.  Almost nightly, a guest or two would disappear, presumed eaten, but the girl didn’t guess that her host was the culprit.  He was a kind man, her friend, if a little hard for some people to understand because he kept to himself and was ponderously intellectual.  The girl liked that.  She understood it.

By now, almost all the others were gone.  The girl was beginning, reluctantly at first and then with terror, to face what she had suspected all along but suppressed.  She had thought her gentle host wouldn’t attack her.  She had turned a blind eye to what happened to the others, as lond as she believed herself exempt.  But what else had she decieved herself about?

She crept down to the cellar seeking – but hoping not to find – evidence of what had happened to her fellows.  Their remains, some of their possessions, even – could they be? – some people still alive.  In the cellar was a sunken pool filled with a kind of stagnant green slime.  (At this point, my mum came into the room, looked at the TV screen and said, “I’m not watching this, it’s too grisly for me.”)

Terrified, the girl fled back upstairs.  In the dark house, she ran through room after room locking each door behind her, both looking for her delusive host and praying not to be found by him.

In one room, she could dimly make out a bed, and a man sitting on it.  From the faint moonlight coming in through the heavy curtains, she did not see his full nakedness but only the strong torso lit by a cold blue glow.  In the silence and darkness, she softly reached out her hand to touch this male skin.  For a moment, she was rapt at the sensation of solid muscle beneath her fingers.  The man did not move; had she percieved him in that moment as a man and not merely a sensual object, she would have sensed him holding his breath too.  Then she remembered that her murderous host would soon find her here if she didn’t run, and so she scrambled into the next room, struggling with trembling fingers to secure the chain on the door.