I had a fabulous dream the other morning, right after I turned the alarm clock off (it was on the weekend) and before I actually woke up enough to get out of bed.
I dreamed about time travel, in two or three different scenarios. There was a small machine rather steam-punk in design, which looked kind of like an old-fashioned camera. It accidentally sent a young man back three hundred years to a pirate ship. Somehow, he was either recalled or managed to trigger a return switch he’d carried with him — the details are fuzzy — but when he came back, he was pleased to see evidence of his journey had ended up in a nearby museum: his name carved into a piece of the ship, a sketch by the ship’s doctor, various souvenirs which gave credence to his claims. His friends were amused, but the creator of the time machine, overhearing his stories, became obsessed with finding out how to work the thing again. My protagonist refused to assist, however, being well aware of the potential ramifications of attempting to change history, even as a witness — that had been one of his primary concerns, as well as getting home. The scientist/inventor only wanted to go see the painting of the Mona Lisa, he pleaded, but my hero saw through the ruse and smashed the steam-punk time-travelling device to pieces.
I try to write down my dreams as often as I can, on the excellent advice of my dear friend Tara Fox Hall, but I don’t always have the chance. I dislike the potential of waking up my husband in the middle of the night. My children take up much of my attention first thing in the morning, and then I’m on the go throughout the day (in spite of my frequent appearances on FB & Twitter). But I think it’s important to try to record my imagination’s wanderings as much as I can. It’s intriguing to see where my unconscious goes…what characters from different movies, tv shows, real life, and books will appear, whether I’m seeing the world as myself or in a different body, and even the settings are significant. I often dream of myself in a place I’ve once lived, but sometimes I am in a setting only viewed in a book or on screen. If I dream of tornadoes, it’s typically because of stress.
I haven’t had many stress dreams lately. Been managing this winter considerably better than the previous year. We’re almost through February, the weather is becoming milder, and I’ve had many positive things to keep me going: good friends, anticipating the release of Wind and Shadow in April (waiting with bated breath to hear from my cover artist and my editor!), and helping my students to complete their class anthology. I’ve gotten through my children’s birthday parties, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s… I’ve also amassed a significant number of dreams as story starters. And I’ve been going to the gym, trying to improve my fitness levels.
As always, though, finding an effective balance remains a challenge. I’m not sure I’ll ever find a satisfying way to do all the things I need and want to do in a week or a day. But I continue fighting the good fight. It’s all I can do, right?