Do you ever have strange dreams? The kind that seem so real when you’re asleep but when you wake up, they make no sense? I’ve had a few; being chased by wild animals, finding myself in a different body…. they can be quite scary sometimes.
The strangest dream I’ve had involved clowns. I’ve never liked clowns. When I was a child I used to think they were evil… something about the way they could all fit into one car really freaked me out. In my dream I was standing in a field surrounded by clowns. There were dozens of them all moving in sync; they’d take several steps, stop and harvest the corn, then move on. They’d do it again and again, not knowing I was there. It was all so eerie, so quiet…
When I woke up I remember lying there, trying to work out what I’d seen. But it made no sense! Were the clowns supposed to be some metaphor for illegal immigrants? For cloning and genetically modified foods? I still don’t know now but in the end something about the dream stayed with me and a couple of months later I turned it into a story. I took the clowns and the fields and created verandis, a drug which gave people a high of fear; in small doses it was a cheap thrill, but in high doses it proved effective for torture. The Drug of Fear was one of the first stories I had published and it’s funny to think that without that dream, I’d never have written it.
I had an experience earlier this week which made me think of the clown dream again. I was getting the bus home and listening to some music. Usually I like to watch what’s going on around me, but this time I was staring out the window. There was a seagull flying overhead and one of its wings was bent; I watched it for about a minute, wondering if it was broken, how it might have happened. When I finally looked away I caught the gaze of a girl a few seats in front of me.
She was watching me, smiling slightly, and she didn’t look away like most people do when they’re caught staring. She just smiled again and the funny thing was, I knew what she meant. She wasn’t smiling at me, but she knew what I was doing; it was like we were the only two people on the bus who had noticed the seagull. It was a moment we shared and without words, it seemed special. We got off at the same stop and neither of us said anything, but it was a nice feeling, like for a moment we’d been linked in a dream…
But then in a way it was a dream, a daydream. While I was watching the seagull I wasn’t aware of anything else… I was somewhere else, far away. The strange thing is that usually I don’t dream when I sleep, or if I do I don’t remember them. But I daydream quite often during the day, and since I’ve been having trouble sleeping I’ve actually been dreaming more than I was before. Whether that’s a good thing or not I don’t know – maybe it means I’m too active and carrying my thoughts into my sleep.
Anyway, I just thought it was interesting. Dreams fascinate me; we know so little about them, but they’re just one example of how amazing the human body and mind can be… even if sometimes your dreams are of fields of clowns. 😉