cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (drink me)
The other night I was having bad dreams, and the second time I woke, I knew I had to do something to keep from slipping back into those dreams. My usual superstition of turning over my pillow wasn't going to cut it. I was soooo drowsy, I knew I wasn't really really awake. So I lay there trying to list herbs/spices alphabetically.

But I'd just finished reading Sofia Samatar's A Stranger in Olondria, and in the midst of allspice and anise, bay leaf and basil, imaginary spices started popping into the queue. Sadly I can't remember most of them now--perhaps they are not imaginary, only the culinary secrets of my dream space!--but I know there was "eritrea." Yes, Eritrea is the name of a real country in Africa, but that's not what it meant when I thought of it. I knew it was a roasted kind of root, darker and "rockier" than chicory.

In A Stranger in Olondria, a child wakes a man who's having bad dreams, then instructs him on how to lose them. She explains you're supposed to do it outside, near a certain kind of plant, but she's not allowed to go outside at night. As she makes him stand and follow her movements, I remembered My Neighbor Totoro and the ritual the girls learn to help their plants grow. If nothing else, by the time you've hauled yourself out of bed and gone through the motions, you're actually awake. You've "rebooted" and if you do choose to go back to sleep, you've probably interrupted the dream sequence enough to feel safe. (Interrupted the "train of thought"? Or purposely missed the nightmare train?)

Lately, I have a hard time falling asleep. Sometimes I need a hard reboot. So I get up, use the bathroom even if I don't need to, check my phone, drink some water, and then return to bed to try again. I'm curious about what other folks do. If you can't sleep, what do you do for yourself? If you have a bad dream, how do you avoid falling back into it?
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (silver teapots)
When summer gives way to fall, and winter to spring, I dream a lot. I dream so much that when I wake up, I want to go right back to sleep because whatever I'm doing in my dreams seems so much more important than what I'm doing in the "real" world. This is so established a routine, I feel like I must've mentioned it before, but when I told this to JJ over dinner last night, he gave me a genuine What the Fuck look. Which is unusual, seeing as he almost never curses, in word or gesture. Whereas I have even given up on withholding motherfucker-laced rants in front of Tweetie.

But yes, I'm dreaming thick and often, and I really feel as if I'm doing some kind of work over there, and I have to get back to it. Then things happen that heighten my sense of (ir)reality. Last night, for instance, an alarm of some kind went off and woke both me and JJ. He wandered the house seeking the source of this alarm we'd never heard before, pero ni fu ni fa. He trudged back to bed and I asked if there had really been a siren or if it had been in my dreams. When he confirmed it had really happened, I wondered aloud if it had been coming from outside the house, since we have the windows open. That seems the most likely scenario now. But for the rest of the night, JJ had bad dreams (which is what happens when you are startled with a WARNING but have no idea what the warning could possibly mean: your brain helpfully offers up all the sordid possibilities) and his restlessness seeped over to my side of the bed.

In the real world, I finished reading The Drowning Girl, but that did nothing to improve my sense of a firm dividing line between dream and reality. What a wonderful surprise, though, to see so many familiar names in Kiernan's acknowledgments at the end! And now I am reading about post-revolutionary Mexico for a future novel. Which actually doesn't help anchor me in the real world, either, with the authors' recursive spirals of storytelling and history's meandering spirals of cause and effect. "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

Something that delights me though: one of the most militant of unions in 1930s Mexico was the BAKERS. Even though the bakers weren't geographically concentrated and weren't considered a vital industry to the state, they had the organization to be heard and appeased. Personally, given my love of baked goods, I would never want to piss off the bakers. Imagine--no brownies! no pan dulce! no strudels or sourdough or rye! My kingdom for a loaf. Let us eat cake!

In a Mood

Feb. 24th, 2012 02:32 pm
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (FML)

This morning as I tromped home through the snow, I encountered one of my neighbors, who was carting her toddler in a pull-wagon. Usually the child does his best to ignore me, but today he must've had a bee in his bonnet (or Luigi cap, as it happens), because he frowned at me and made an impatient gesture. Amused (Luigi cap, after all), I put my fists on my hips and gave him a cartoony "darn you" look, to which he gave a full-on glare and turned around in his cart so he didn't see me anymore. I laughed. Until I realized that was probably how my friend Joe (before he was my friend) felt when I glared at him in second grade, like, "Ho ho, aren't you cute with your little moods? I could crush you like a flea." You, ma'am, are a jackass, I thought and hied myself home. 

At home, oh so groggy, I did some busywork, then figured maybe I needed more sleep. So I went back to bed and had infuriating dreams. In one, I came home to find an armed, elderly couple had broken in, one of whom had this delusion that highly contagious "embryos" were floating around in people's bloodstreams; "You mean 'embolisms'?" I tried. Nope. Embryos. In another, my overbearing family was trying to tell me I couldn't take my child trick-or-treating because it was already dark. In yet another, a convenience store clerk grifted me, then accused me of theft. Man, I woke up pissed off.

I thought watching some Supernatural might cheer me up. I don't have Season 6 memorized, and I remembered some goofy episodes, so I dialed up Netflix instant streaming. Error message. Repeatedly.

If I'm this cranky going into a four-day weekend, I don't know how my family will survive. :P

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Maggie with Coffee)

This morning I dreamed that I was working and going to school and had a baby and two husbands (who were little more than big boys themselves) and an overbearing mother-in-law who was constantly judging me and my cooking.

Needless to say, I was so relieved to wake up married to one stand-up guy, with one school-aged child, and no midterms or mother-in-law in sight. 

buttercup from power puff girls having an eye-twitching freakout

Rough Night

Oct. 1st, 2011 11:33 am
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (morning)

It started well enough. Last night's episode of Supernatural was surprisingly good in the last half hour. Got to bed early.

And then, the dreams. I don't understand how I can sleep so hard and dream so bad. I mean, I wake up feeling like I was buried under ten tons of rock, but I'm dreaming hard too, like digging up every bit of id-tastic angst and terror I can find.

I feel like I've lived three days in the span of one night. O__O

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (misunderstood)
Recently I mocked my dreaming self for proposing a story development that my waking self found utterly ridiculous. [ profile] asatomuraki  suggested this in-your-dreams storyline was my subconscious daring to touch the taboo, 'cuz dreaming Lisa is "just that hardcore." Which made me laugh but also made a lot of sense to me, especially because I'd also been feeling the stress from compartmentalizing my work self from my feeling self. (Gosh it's crowded in my head!)

Then,  I read this "Fresh Air" transcript of Terry Gross's interview with neuroscientist and author David Eagleman (link courtesy of [ profile] yourlibrarian ), about the stress we feel from keeping secrets...from ourselves. [emphasis mine]

Eagleman: ...there's a group at UT Austin that's been looking at this for a while. When they have people write down their secrets, even anonymously, or even just in a journal, their stress hormone levels go down. Their number of doctor visits goes down.

So there's a large literature on this, about how bad it is to hold a secret. But I just got interested in thinking: What is a secret, actually? And, you know, it's - because you have competing populations in the brain, if you have one part that wants to tell something and another part that does not want to because of maybe the social consequences of revealing something like this, that's a secret.

If both parts want to tell, then that's just a good story, and if neither part wants to tell, then that's something that's, you know, not terribly interesting...
Of course, the stress comes when one part (or more) wants to tell and another part (or more) doesn't. Which makes the suggestion (from both [ profile] asakiyume and [ profile] asatomuraki ) that maybe I'm in the process of grokking something important, seem all the more logical. 
If the secret turns out to be really big, like Secret of NIMH big, or "Who put the bomp in the bomp-bah bomp-bah bomp" big, I'll be sure to let y'all know.

To and Fro

Jun. 1st, 2011 09:19 am
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (sugar in my coffee)
This morning I was annoyed at my dreaming self. She spent so much time and energy last night on useless scenarios that were obviously attempts to solve some of my current story woes. I woke up cranky: "Yeah, that's helpful," I told her. "A marriage proposal, that'll solve everything, right? Stupid."

But the air smelled so good this morning. Not like cherry blossoms or lilacs or anything in particular. Just excellently clean. I breathed deeply, trying to suck it all in and fill myself with the healthy cleanness. And then I remembered the hordes of gnats and I got ahold of myself.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (I need coffee)

Which has become an eleven-day meme because I was broken (maybe even ded) yesterday.

Day 10: One Confession

Last night I dreamed that I was in school and I had Tweetie's teacher. I woke up drenched in sweat and ready to hurl. I have new sympathy for my daughter. I wouldn't last a day in her shoes.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (abby)


I can't check my email in my dreams.
It really pisses me off.

I've got a computer, but it's not mine,
doesn't have my IRL default settings,
and I can't figure out a workaround.

I can't access my RSS feeds, either.
Instead, I end up checking in at some forum
I've ignored for months.

It only exists dreamside, and
apparently I have more interesting things to do
when I'm dreaming--usually, anyway--
than fart around on the computer.

I got a smartphone not long ago.
It's really special; it does everything,
even dreamside.

Last night I used it to check Gmail, Twitter, LJ, and Tumblr.
But the screen is too tiny to get anything done
and I can only get one bar in my sleep.

Don't get me started on tech support.
That damn platypus.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Default)

She wore a dress of fire
She burned too hot to look at
I removed my face in obeisance
it was melting anyway


No Relief

Aug. 4th, 2010 01:55 pm
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (silver teapots)

crescent moon beak
pecks at my eyes, the night
a plague doctor

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (lightbulb)

all he had left:
dark and light
star, abyss
firefly and comet
echoes, quiet
soul and space
what was, what might be


Deja Vu

Jul. 21st, 2010 05:05 pm
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Default)


lavender strong with bees
moonlight limning the trees
mice nibbling petits fours...
I've seen these things before

stop-motion words in books
kids who age between looks
the clock flashing four twos...
All my "you're dreaming" clues


cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (drink me)

laughter drifts from my neighbor's gazebo
twists through my window screen
erupts in the crooked airshaft of
my polluted high-rise dreams

in pursuit of pools of silence
I race up the fire escape.
on the rooftop, the garden's gone mercury
a melted static, garrulous and gray


Fewer than 60 days left in my poem-a-day project!
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (drink me)

basketball ditched
in the darkling grass

At midnight, a pumpkin

cafenowhere: abby from TV show NCIS, eyes closed, listening to music (abby dreaming)

a wishful wind
blows dandelion seeds
across the galaxy

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (coffee addicted)

scent of hot coffee
I lurch from bed only to stare
at an empty pot


Damn phantom smells! The other morning I smelled coffee and jolted awake, thinking my coffee maker had brewed on schedule but my alarm clock hadn't gone off. I turned on my lamp and saw it was still an hour before the coffee maker even starts. There was no coffee smell; it was my imagination. I went back to sleep, grouchy.



Mar. 11th, 2010 12:51 pm
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (silver teapots)
The first stanza of a WIP:


Out of sorts
   she stumbles through her morning
      thoughts matted, intentions adrift
         her fingers like ghosts of themselves
            never quite touching
               the world's surface...

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (drink me)

Halcyon, dead, drifts
on the waves. The sea heaves,
sickly dreaming.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (so tired)
...But Mother Might Have Something to Say

After the movie--
chainsaws and chesty cheerleaders--
my brother swats me off to bed
jeering "Sweet Dreams!"
And they are
until I wake and realize
his blood, hot on my hands,
is simply night sweats
and his death moans
still in my ears
mean he's rubbing one out
in the next room.



cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Default)

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