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.