Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Alarm Clock Dream Commentary
"The Alarm Clock Affair" by Christina Snyder
Last night I woke up several times, and several of those several times, I woke up in the deep part of sleep, the part in which no one should wake up—it's akin to how they describe waterboarding...
I kept waking up thinking something was crawling on my bed, something heavy. A very fat cat, or a very slim dog. I felt something like paws on my back, I felt weight materialize on the other side of my bed, the part where no one lay. I tried reaching out, I tried moving to open the door, to let it out (I had the cognizance to think, oh, the neighbor's cat must have wandered over and gotten in, he's probably peed and buried it in my laundry, I gotta let him out) but I couldn't move, my body was pinned by deep sleep. I fought against it, first by trying to scream, to make some kind of noise. I fell in and out of this state, more and more frightened each time I woke up like this because I thought, this already happened, it didn't go away. Finally I did summon up enough will to cry out, and I woke myself with my own voice.
I'd already posted my Alarm Clock Dream story, and it kept popping up in my thoughts while I struggled in between levels of consciousness. I don't know why. I didn't have any "epiphanies" while in this very, very strange and uncomfortable state of mind, except for realizing with terror that the veil between realities is very, very thin. I had no doubt that I was feeling something creep on my back, then settle itself near me on my bed. None at all, it was as real as anything else I could feel. And it wasn't the "thing" that scared me, or, after the lights were on and I could idiotically realize the truth, the lack of a "thing." It was that I couldn't do anything about it, that I couldn't shoo it or move it; it was feeling powerless over something that ultimately didn't exist, at least not in the "real" world.
Aside from that flash of brilliance, I don't have much to say about this prompt: it was a very fun one to write, especially given the task of "mirroring" between dream and waking. I think most people have had experiences like this; in The 3 AM Epiphany, Brian Kiteley explains that upon hearing the alarm, before fully waking, your mind instantaneously creates an entire dream that ends with the alarm ringing—it isn't, as one would think, that you were dreaming something, were interrupted by the alarm clock, and then the noise was seamlessly integrated into your dream: the dream happened after but felt like before.
I dream a lot, and usually very vividly. I believe I am very good at interpreting dreams, as well, which comes in handy for reading and for writing and for remembering dreams. While I had a dream similiar to the one I wrote about, I had forgotten quite a bit of it. I think the story speaks for itself, or rather I hope it did, but as the story indicates, sometimes finding your voice is the hardest part of the struggle, and as I realized last night, sometimes finding your voice is the most important part in breaking free from being paralyzed by yourself.