Tag Archives: nightmares

A blog about dreaming a dream about writing this blog on dreaming dreams

A selfie taken by myself while asleep

… zzz … zzz … zzz … zzz … zzz … zzz … zzz … zzz …. zzz … zzz ..

A couple of nights ago, I went to a ‘workshop’ on dreams.

We sat round in a circle and exchanged dreams.

This was a problem because the reason I am interested in dreams is that I never remember mine.

Maybe once every eight months or so I wake up and remember one. But it is rare. Which I told the other people at the workshop. It cannot have been good news.

I think I am interested in the surreality of dreams because I never took psychedelic drugs. As I have mentioned before in this blog, the only drugs which ever appealed to me were LSD and heroin. Neither was available to me when I might have taken them.

By the time LSD was available to me, I had met and read about too many acid casualties to take it – I thought it might tip me over some psychological edge. And, for me, heroin is a bit like suicide: you would have to be in the right mood to start it and moods pass.

Max Ernst’s L’Ange du Foyer ou le Triomphe du Surréalisme

Max Ernst’s L’Ange du Foyer ou le Triomphe du Surréalisme

The only two dreams I have ever remembered properly were nightmares rather than dreams.

Around puberty, I had a recurring dream with a rhythmic, repetitive, increasingly-loud droning sound and there was a box which I knew I should not open but which I felt compelled by the rising, droning sound to open. I never opened it but, each time I dreamed the dream, I got more and more frightened by the rising droning sound until I woke up.

It was some sort of puberty fear dream triggered, I guessed, by the droning sound of a plane flying overhead during the night. Except I don’t think there were any planes flying overhead at night.

In the other dream I remember – and which woke me up with fear – I was me but also someone else and I was running across a flat, open grassy area lit by street lights outside a house at night-time, being chased by a man with a knife who caught me and then killed me. The killing was very physically detailed and vivid.

The LA Times reports on Manson

The LA Times reports the Manson trial

Around a week later, I read very belatedly about the Charles Manson killings in Los Angeles and that was eerie, because I calculated I had had the dream around the same night the killings took place.

Except, of course, that I don’t think any of the victims were killed outside… and the UK is seven or eight hours ahead of Los Angeles, so a night-time killing in LA would happen when it was daylight morning in the UK.

So linking the two was a fantasy layered on top of a nightmare.

Inevitably, having said I don’t remember my dreams, I woke up this morning and remembered a dream. But only part of one.

And now I have forgotten it except that it had something to do with me having a dream (within my dream) of writing a blog about dreams when I woke up in the morning.

That is true.

I think.

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Actress Amanda Fleming: Hollywood reality and dreams of Gothic nightmares

No prizes for guessing where Amanda and I met

No prizes for guessing where Amanda and I met last week…

The last time I blogged about my actress/film-producing namesake Amanda Fleming was in October last year when she had just produced and directed short film What a Drag.

What a Drag has now been accepted into 15 international film festivals this year, including Cannes.

Amanda was at Cannes last year too – as an actress and facilitator representing a 26-minute short she acted in: Titans of Newark.

After Cannes this year, she is probably returning to Los Angeles.

“I want to set up a Theatre In Education company over there,” she told me.

“What other projects are in the pipeline?”

Amanda directed and produced What a Drag!

Amanda Fleming directed What a Drag!

“When I go back to the States, I’m going to put on The Countess, the one-hour show about Countess Báthory. I was thinking about doing it as a movie, but then I thought: D’y’know, I might put that aside and stage it at the Los Angeles Fringe. Because I want to do something a little more gritty. I was going to do a 10 or 15 minute comedy horror film to begin with – The Fingernail That Never Grew – a sort-of Carry On spoofy Hammer.”

“You seem partial to a bit of Gothic horror,” I said. “You must have interesting dreams.”

“I’ve always had very vivid dreams since I was a very young child and, when I was 18, I started writing them down. Now I’ve got about 280 written down. Some are just a typical dream mishmash of what’s happened in your day and your brain is sorting it out. But there are others that, when you read through them, it sounds like a really, really good storyline. Some are supernatural; some are emotional.”

“Next week,” I told her, “I’m going to some Dream event, but I almost never remember my dreams. I wish I did. Can you string your dreams together to make a single narrative?”

“Yes,” said Amanda. “Or it could be a feature-length film of short Gothic horror stories.

The double cross dresser and the drag queen

What a Drag! – at Cannes and 14 other international festivals

“Not all the buyers at Cannes are looking for feature-length movies. Some are looking for short films to put on their TV channels between the main shows.

“Last year, Titans of Newark got picked up in Germany and I think China.”

“Would you prefer,” I asked her, “to make an anthology of your dreams rather than a single narrative?”

“If it was a single narrative,” laughed Amanda, “people might think: Is this person off her head? Some the stuff: you’d think I was on drugs.”

“Non-naturalism is perfect for a film, though,” I suggested. “If you’re in the area of bizarre, surreal horror anyway, then the more visually ridiculous the better.”

“I had a recurring dream,” said Amanda, “of a black panther in a tree. It was always round a corner. I had to try and go round – it was like a forest – a little cottage on the side. And I had to go round there and every single time – even though the panther would disappear – I would know it was there and then I could see its eyes and then the full body would appear and it wouldn’t let me pass until, one day, he did.

Not bad for a young girl from Rochdale

Not bad progress for a girl from Rochdale

“And another dream was about a white house on a hill. That was one of the most terrifying dreams I’ve ever had. It was a recurring one and the fear I used to feel from dreaming that dream was unbearable at times. It would wake me up.”

“You couldn’t,” I asked, “get to the white house on the hill?”

“I got closer each time I had the dream,” explained Amanda. “Each time I used to see, when I got closer and looked up at the house, the silhouette of a woman in the house, looking out of the window.”

“Sounds a bit Psycho-ish,” I said.

“You know those old Victorian houses,” asked Amanda, “where they used to have a huge greenhouse? – like a big hothouse and the lady of the house would go in there and water her plants – it was beautiful, domed, but long – and the main bedroom, which was hers, there was a door which went onto a balcony overlooking this huge hothouse. But I didn’t get to that point until just before the dreams stopped.

“Eventually, when I finally managed to pluck up the courage to open the door, I walked out onto the balcony and it was almost like an invisible force was trying to push me over it.

“The next time I dreamt that same dream, I went back onto the balcony again and I felt a strangulation round my neck. Then, the next time, there was the strangulation AND I felt like I was being pushed over the balcony. But, as I was seeing this happen in my dream, I also saw there was a rope hanging above the balcony and I realised whoever I was dreaming about had been murdered and hung there.

“That dream was terrifying because it was recurring. I was so scared of going back to the house every single time. I still remember how it looked. There was a narrow road with a brook running beside and I remember a small pub and a grove with trees and then you could see the white house on the hill.

“And I’ve been writing poetry since I was 12. I’ve got all those – over 500 poems. I’d like to put them all together with dates at the top and collect them in a book. If it makes money, that’s OK; if not, that’s not an issue.

“There’s an old saying: You try and you fail and you try and you fail, but the only true failure is when you stop trying.”

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