This past weekend, I had a chance to catch up with a close friend of mine, and he brought up the recent fiction series I just wrapped up on this blog. He told me how much he enjoyed it and was wondering what in the world it was actually about. In case the few of you who followed the series to its end were also wondering, I shall post an explanation.
When I was a child, I experienced extraordinarily vivid nightmares. I tend to think that all children dream with far more intensity than adults, so maybe I was just a normal kid; I don’t know. But the series “Unlike Our Waking Lives” roughly paints the picture of a recurring nightmare I had when I was little. In this dream, my parents would leave me and my siblings alone while they went to the movies, and we somehow discerned as they left that a horrifying monster was on its way into the house to get us. We each would retreat to a room in our house that was under perpetual renovation where there was junk galore to hide behind, but my brothers and sister were much quicker and more skilled at hiding than I was, so every time I would be left in the open as the monster entered the house. As I remember, I typically awoke just as the monster would find me. This nightmare hounded me as a child; I can remember nights I’d try to stay awake all night so I could avoid the dream.
“Unlike Our Waking Lives” is my crazy idea of what it would look like if, as an adult, I were to re-enter that dream and encounter my childhood self. (This is where my shout out to Madame Weebles comes in; she guessed early on in the story what it was that was going on. Yay Weebs!) I figured that, were I to encounter this dream again, I may have a suspicion that I’m dreaming, but dreams always feel real, so I wouldn’t be sure. Also, if I were to encounter my childhood self, I have a feeling I’d find myself a little off-putting, which is why the adult me in the story is instinctively reluctant to touch his childhood self.
A couple references I want to site from the story as well. The lines of the annoying song that I quoted from the skipping music player are from an old story called “Nathaniel the Grublet”.
I used to listen to the audio record of this story when I was a child. If you ever want to scare the poop out of a kid, I suggest you read them Nathaniel the Grublet. It is supposed to teach life lessons about honesty, but on a scale of 1-10 in the terrifically horrifying category, I give that story at least a 9.9. There are scary trees in the dark and a deep throated apparition that sings a sickly tune. Chilling.
Also, the song I quote at the very end – “Devil’s on the outside, God is on the inside” – this is something I have faint memory of my mother singing to me when I was little. Sometimes our memories are tricky things, so I’m not sure if I imagined that part, but maybe if she didn’t actually sing it, she was thinking it. 😉
So there you have it, in case anybody was wondering. I’ve told myself several times recently that I would avoid putting out any more of the self-indulgent tedium that is characteristic of this sort of tale, but I couldn’t seem to stop it. Once the idea came to me, I couldn’t shut it down, and believe me, I tried more than once in the process to ditch it, but the stupid thing had me by the ears and wouldn’t let go, especially during the parts I found painful to write. Now it’s done, and I feel better. Thanks again to everybody who’s joined me on the journey.
Categories: dreams and visions, fiction stories, life events, spiritual themes
I guessed right?? Huzzah! This was a really interesting premise, legion, going into a childhood dream as an adult version of you. I don’t know what child me would think of adult me either, really. And dreams are so strange to begin with. Also, I don’t think of it as self-indulgent at all; it’s a great idea, and I enjoyed reading it very much. And if it makes you feel better to have finished writing it, so much the better!
There should be a blogger award for readers who are able to discern cryptic fiction. Hmmmm, what should we call it? Ah, Nevermind. There’s enough awards floating around out there.
Thanks for being awesome, Weebs! How are things in the flood zone?
Things have dried out now, fortunately—I just feel sad for the people in the greater NY/NJ area who had their homes destroyed, and for people in the who are still waiting to get their power restored. Blechh. Thank you for asking!
Very cool! Do you ever dream this now? Did it end when you started writing it down?
Thankfully, I’ve not had a dream like this is many years. Come to think of it, I rarely remember my dreams anymore. I sleep so lousy that I may never get to that dream stage of sleep anymore. But sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming awake. If I did have a nightmare now, I assume it would be about being trapped in something small.
Ah yes, the old 45 playing those demonic trees chasing that poor little grublet. I had some pretty vivid dreams myself. Was there a gospel message in there somewhere? I just remember a little boy who was going to be eaten by a forest of treebeards.
The only message in that story is that some sicko thought it would be hilarious to frighten innocent children. You couldn’t do much worse if you read your kid Stephen King’s “It” at bedtime.
Oh my word! We had Nathaniel the Grublet on tape with the follow along book too. Perhaps that helped fuel some of my own recurring night terrors as well…
Hope I didn’t rekindle any of that childhood uneasiness, Shannon. 🙂
Hm-m-m, sure don’t remember you ever telling me about this nightmare my son! So sorry you had to suffer through this, but it sure seems to have given you an interesting story! Well written Luke!
I don’t think I ever told anybody about this dream. Strange that I would describe it to hundreds now. I guess it gave me an excuse to write something interesting. Thanks for giving me a song to sing, dear Mom. 🙂
I was at Madame Weebles and saw her reference to you, so I clicked over here. It appears I haven’t been notified by email of your posts like I’m supposed to be, so I missed all this. I’m going to unfollow and then follow again. Congrats to the Madame!
Thanks for the second follow! How many bloggers can say Carrie Ruben has followed them twice??
You have piqued my interest I will have to find time to read it.
That’s quite fascinating, Lucas. I’m not surprised Weebs guessed it. She seems to be very intuitive. It’s amazing how childhood memories can stay with us into adulthood. I think it’s a very positive thing you did to write this story. Good for you. It’s a chilling story.
I think it was a positive thing. If only it hadn’t taken so many weeks to process! Thanks
I of course went to “dream interpretation” and found this:
To see bigfoot in your dream symbolizes the unknown and the subconscious. Alternatively, it suggests that you are misrepresenting yourself in some way or that you are misleading others.”
To dream that someone is hiding indicates that you are looking for a sense of security and protection.
Of course as a kid, EVERYTHING is the unknown and EVERY kid wants a sense of security!:)
Yikes! No wonder Bigfoot always scared the crap out of me!
NEVER suppress the natural creative flow, buddy!
I tend not to suppress. I do go back later and repress, though. 🙂
I saved up your posts so that I could read them through together. A perfectly horrific recurring dream to have as a kid! So glad you included this explanation – it’s a really great premise, and I’d say your take on the adult encounter with the child is pretty accurate. The sense I got, also, was the terror an adult feels of being in a position of responsibility – ‘grownups always know what to do’ sort of thing. When, actually, we probably still feel like the little kid fumbling in the dark. Nothing self indulgent about it 🙂
Yes!! You hit it on the head with the adult responsibility. I think I experience this regularly with my own kids. They look to me like I ought to know what to do. If only they knew, right?
It’s probably one of the reasons why I don’t have kids! Preserve their innocence as long as you can… 🙂
Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had. Sometimes the dreams that come true are that idea of amusement: snakes and ladders with greased rungs. Sometimes our dreams are not brighter but darker, just around the corner, like a thief, a hooker; when shadows wish for light.
Sometimes you will find yourself fighting with everything you’ve got not to face: the thing you most dread, what is now, what will be, what has always come before, the creature you truly are. And then the real nightmares will begin.
Excellent post indeed!
I do believe you identify with the emotions behind this piece. Thanks for sharing in this little heartburn of a tale.