#SATurday: Turning Dreams into Stories

#SATurday: Turning Dreams into Stories

I hate alarm clocks. I don’t hate many things, but an alarm clock is one of them. Most of the time, I wake up without one – I have my entire life – and I truly believe it’s because my brain is wired to dislike the act of waking up to sudden (and normally blaring) music. It doesn’t matter if it’s my favorite song. I will end up hating the song if it wakes me up every morning. I wish I could like it – I do. The practical use of an alarm isn’t even debatable. Even though I wake up most mornings, I still have those instances where alarm clocks have come through for me and saved me from accidentally sleeping through my day. (Although…accidentally sleeping through my day sounds pretty nice right now…as long as I didn’t have any responsibilities…which I do…so that accident would be pretty awful, but the sleeping part sounds nice.)


Who doesn’t love sleep? It’s a magical thing. I used to hate that, though, too. If you’ve read any of my interviews, then you probably already know that I had night terrors as a child. And, occasionally, I still do. I also have vivid dreams and nightmares, but I’m finding more often than not that many writers do. Perhaps it’s our overactive imaginations. Perhaps the dreams caused our overactive imaginations. What comes first, the imagination or the dreams?

For me, I believe my dreams came first. Despite the fact that my parents rarely allowed me to watch TV (and had very strict rules about what I was allowed to watch), I had violent dreams. Terrifying dreams. Dreams that hologrammed themselves into the real world, even after I woke up. The first one I recall involved a cheetah. It chased me through a neighborhood (not a jungle), and right before it caught me, I woke up. But instead of my dream ending, I would still see it – lying in wait, sitting at the edge of my bed, half-hanging off the end. I remember its beady eyes blinking, reflecting light in my dark room.

Much to my dismay (and probably my parents’ as well), it kept repeating, and I was losing all hope until art class one day. I can’t say what grade I was in. I can’t recall the teacher’s name. I can’t even – positively – say it was art class. I only remember the art supplies surrounding us, so that’s why I assume my location, but the teacher was telling us about nightmares. And, again, I can’t remember why, but I do remember focusing, listening to her every word.

Her nephew had a reoccurring dream. Every night, a lion chased him through the jungle. I was envious his dreams took him to exotic places – unlike mine – but his lion did something my cheetah didn’t. It ate him.

Now – it didn’t eat him the first time. Our teacher explained that the nephew kept having the dreams until he consciously decided he would stop running in his dreams, turn around, and face the lion. He did. And the lion ate him…And the lion never came again.

I went home, thinking I had finally found the solution to my own nightmare. I was truly excited, ready to be eaten, and I went to bed that night with new hope. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out. I stopped, the cheetah killed me (I assume), and I woke up only for the next morning to have it happened again. My dream repeated itself for a few weeks. (Or maybe it was only few days – time is longer the younger you are). But it repeated, nevertheless, and I never defeated it like my art teacher’s nephew did. Instead, my cheetah slowly faded away, replaced by a T-Rex, then replaced by a murderer.

I don’t believe my dreams have ever stopped. It’s every other night that I dream of something violent, and on rare occasions, I can turn one of my dreams into a story. I can meet a character or see a situation or visit a new world – although I have yet to visit a jungle – and I can take readers there by sharing words on paper.

Those dreams aren’t so scary anymore. In fact, overtime, I think I learned to embrace them and learn from them and explore them and create with them – like my dreams were the real art class all along. And who wants an alarm clock to go off in the middle of class?


P.S. If you missed it, here is my live interview with Jonas Lee. We spoke about knives, coffee, Clue, and writing tips.

And just to REALLY switch your Saturday up, I have finally returned to my YouTube Channel – Coffee and Cats – so feel free to ask any question on the video and I’ll be answering them during my next video.


#SATurday: Hurricanes and Mermaids

#SATurday: Hurricanes and Mermaids

I’ve been spending a lot of time walking home in the dark and thinking about how many people would say, “That’s unsafe.” Of course, it is unsafe. I am aware of this. Perhaps I do it because it is unsafe. The silence draws me to it. At least that’s what I tell myself. I mainly do it because I have no other choice. But talking about silence is the much more poetic way to speak.

The sound of your own footsteps is similar to squeezing yourself into the underwater world of a bathtub – a place where we can hear our own heartbeats (and probably the sloshing of water fighting the unnatural and contorted way you have to lay in order to fit underwater as an adult.)

Look! I'm a mermaid...with legs. Wait a second...
Look! I’m a mermaid…with legs. Wait a second…

As a kid, I didn’t have this problem. I used the bathtub as a pool. Goggles and all. I suppose that’s why a brilliant idea occurred to six-year-old me: the shower could be a pool, too. A raining pool. To do this, I clogged the drain with towels, and once a puddle formed, I had the perfect area to play in. The game was called “hurricanes and mermaids”, and my Barbie’s were the participants. We lasted thirty minutes before my mom ran in, screaming about how the kitchen ceiling was dripping with water. It occurred to me that – to our kitchen – I was the hurricane. What my mother was in this metaphor is still beyond me. Real hurricanes don’t have a curly-headed woman to stop the storm by turning the shower’s knob off. Something tells me this is exactly why I will never be a mermaid in a hurricane. I suppose that would also be called common sense.

I won’t lie. I have been told for a long portion of my life that I don’t have a lot of common sense. Mainly because I overthink everything – which sometimes results in appearing as if I hadn’t thought at all. Take my current situation as an example. I’m walking alone on a dark street in the middle of the night all by myself. If you happened to drive by and see me, you would probably think I was an idiot. After all, this is how a couple Law and Order: SVU episodes start. Right? I would like to take this moment to explain how much I would like to rant about the assumptions people have about those who are walking around by themselves, but instead I will continue forward with something I dread a little bit more than that: statistics.

If you get into the statistics of it all, only 26.1% of violent victimization happens by total strangers*, and – in fact – you’re relatively safe walking down the street by yourself. Even though articles like What It’s Like to Be a Woman at Night gain popularity, you are probably safer walking at night than you are driving in rush hour traffic. Especially where I happen to be. I am by no means encouraging people to waltz along the midnight path like I do. I have no choice but to. But this doesn’t mean I’m right or you’re right or any of it is right. I do, however, think it’s rather sad how society has snatched the serenity of the silent, midnight walk away from us. And I like to take it back, even if I shouldn’t. That being said, every time I return home unharmed, I have to confess I believe in society a little bit more. I also remember the hurricane. It is difficult not to when the rain falls.

Walking around in twenty-degree weather has become a norm for me lately – being carless and all – but walking in freezing sleet rain for a long period of time was new. Then again, being forced to walk around to find work has toughened me up a bit. I almost welcomed it. Almost. I definitely didn’t increase my walking speed. That would only make the holes in the toes of my boots get bigger. No exaggeration. But the moment was still an enjoyable one. It reminded me of the mermaids and the hurricanes and how I would’ve rejoiced in my young age at the opportunity to play in such awful weather. For that reason alone, I almost jumped into a puddle. Almost. I had to remember my boots again. But I managed to take my hands out of my pockets and enjoy the feel of the rain slipping through my fingers.

This might be where I lost my common sense, and a part of me has accepted my neutral reaction at losing such a thing, but a bigger part of me prefers to listen to the rain anyway. It is much more accommodating when you let it fall on your shoulders than pretend it isn’t hitting your ceiling at night. It becomes less ominous, more subtle – a way of breathing in a new day when you’re struggling to find a reason to stay positive since the next storm is coming.

One of these days, I’ll also remember to carry an umbrella.

~SAT on #SATurday

*Taken from latest Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)


I look forward to hearing from you!
I look forward to hearing from you!