Well, I haven’t blogged for a while and none of my characters are co-operating and anyway, I had this peculiar dream.
No, don’t go.
There’s a question I want to ask, but I’ll have to explain the dream first, if you’ll bear with me.
It started at some kind of house party, and there had been a row. A friend had decided to go for a run to get away from the residual atmosphere, as the friend in question might very well do, and I had said, considerably less plausibly, that I had something to finish but would catch up with her. (I can’t think of anyone I know between the ages of five and fifty who I have any prospect of catching up with if they start running even a half minute before me, but this was a dream, after all.)
So I set off, initially down vaguely familiar streets, and I realised that she was out of sight, and that we hadn’t agreed a route, but I was confident that if I put a spurt on I’d catch up with her before she reached the point where the routes split.
But I didn’t, and I pressed on. I was running now in a treacherous, rocky, coastal area, and it was getting dark, and I was worried that she’d keep going till I caught up, or that she might already have fallen and hurt herself. Eventually I decided it was too dangerous to keep running and turned back anyway.
And as I came through the darkened town, dog tired, dispirited, concerned about whether I’d done the right thing, something heavy fell on my shoulders and I couldn’t shake it off . .
[So far, classic straightforward stress dream, yes?]
. . . .and I looked up, in broad sunlight, and found my favourite brother-in-law and his children on a café terrace waiting for my sister. My nephew, little scamp that he is, had dropped a large stuffed tortoise on me to attract my attention. (The tortoise, at least, makes a kind of sense, as we do have a beanbag doorstop in the form of a tortoise that would hit your shoulders just like that if only it were three times the size and slightly less densely packed.)
Then my sister came back and we all went to the house together, where everyone was happy, and the other runner had come back because it was obviously dangerous to run in the smoke that had been drifting around the cliffs.
[Well how unbelievably twee can you get?]
Before I go on I should say I almost never have nightmares, and as far as I can remember when I do they’re almost always of the subtly but unpleasantly disquieting variety, rather than downright scary. But I do quite often have dreams that, when I try to describe them, sound as if they ought to have been terrifying.
So, the question.
It seems to me that when the dream started to verge into serious nightmare territory, I woke up just enough to influence it.
Is that normal?