With: Kim Hornsby
Dreaming is a subject that I find as fascinating as the likelihood of ghosts. Also how Hugh Jackman got so sexy, but that’s another blog.
According to experts, we all dream when we sleep. There is a scientific explanation for dreaming but I like to think a dream is a visit to another reality. An alternate universe, if you will. Kill-joy scientists say it’s your hindbrain not shutting off while you sleep, feeding memories and ideas to your unconscious state, like a pesky toddler who won’t lie down at nap time. Discounting that theory, I delved into dreaming for my first Romantic Suspense Series to explore the what-if’s of this subject. I diligently researched dreams and parapsychology theories and read Freud’s accounts of what he believed dreams to be. “Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious,” he said.
My interest in dreaming has always been fierce because I dream all night long and when I wake I can tell you where I’ve been and what strangeness has invaded my brain. As an example, this morning I woke from a dream that my son and I were buying huge emerald-colored hummingbirds from a train window. I believe that the hummingbird subject came from a discussion my hubby and I had while watching them feed in our backyard last night. As for the train, I glanced at the cover of The Girl on the Train before skipping to my current read on the Kindle before sleep. Maybe I stored a momentary thought on trains. And, just now, I remembered a dream about a tiny dog that fit in the palm of my hand that I was trying to keep safe. It looked like my next door neighbors’ dog and now I’m remembering that they asked me to let her outside this morning while they are at work. See how that works with the brain?
I often dream that I’m in a haunted house with wind swirling around, keeping me from climbing the stairs. Another recurring dream I have is that I’m on vacation, trying to pack a suitcase for my journey home but I’ve accumulated too much junk and can’t fit it all in. Sometimes I’m buried in what I’ve collected on vacation. If you like to interpret dreams, you might say that at the age of 59, I’m worried that I’ve accumulated too much during my life (physically and emotionally.) I worry that I must thin out to return home, or to wind down at this point of my life.
In The Dream Jumper Series, the male protagonist has the unexplained ability to enter other people’s dreams. He must be touching the dreamer when he falls into a meditative state to enter their dream. Once in, he can participate in the dream or simply watch. Having lived with this ability all his life, Jamey Dunn has learned to not fight it. In fact, he uses his gift, first as a Seattle cop, and then in Afghanistan as part of a special forces unit with paranormal abilities. When the story opens, Jamey has lost his ability after a life-threatening jump with an al Qaeda member and is on Maui to chill out and try to re-charge. He runs into an old girlfriend from ten years earlier and when he finds out she’s having strange dreams about a missing husband presumed dead, he offers to help. With a clue that he might be able to enter her dreams, or at the least tap into his sixth sense to help her solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearance, he convinces her to let him watch her sleep.
Can someone actually share a dream? Scientists say no. Freud said it was possible but there is no solid scientific evidence to support his theory. But, when two people are given the same subject matter before sleep, they often share that. Especially if the dreamer is told to not dream about a particular thing. When dreamers were woken in REM to capture the dream’s memory, they were most often both dreaming about the forbidden subject.
Since writing The Dream Jumper Series, I’ve heard from people who share dreams so I’m not discounting the idea. I’ve also heard from expert lucid dreamers (knowing you’re in a dream), dreamers who can fall into a lucid dream state from wake (wake-induced-lucid dreaming) and often people tell me about recurring dreams. When I speak at book clubs, the most common subject of conversation is dreaming. Although there is no scientific data to support the theory of shared dreams, I don’t dismiss the idea that we may one day be able to tap into someone’s subconscious. And if that day ever arrives, dealing with it will be as morally ambiguous a topic as cloning.
In the movie Inception (which came out two years after I thought I invented dream jumping!) a team of expert dream jumpers plant ideas in the brains of masterminds to change their actions. I found this movie absolutely fascinating and have watched it many times to see how those screenwriters built the ability and handled the logistics of getting in a dream and getting out. I borrowed their talisman idea for my third book, The Dream Jumper’s Pursuit.
My jumper, Jamey, enters dreams through deep meditation and touch. When he wants to get out of a dream, he returns to the portal where he arrived and jumps out, then wakes. Readers of the series have told me that I’ve handled the ability in such a way to make it believable. I love hearing that. One of my goals in writing the series was to not lose readers over this subject. I’m not a believer in shape shifting, vampires or werewolves so being in a category with them has been interesting. I wonder if readers of true paranormal aren’t always completely satisfied with dream jumping because my paranormal is more supernatural, and in my estimation a possibility.
Even if you don’t usually remember your dreams when you wake most people have at least some dreams, even if it’s just one brief moment in the dream. I still remember a childhood dream of a witch chasing me around my childhood house.
If you wake in the middle of a dream, you can train yourself to quickly compose several words as a reminder of the dream. I compose a tweet and within the hour, I tweet my dream with the hashtag #strangedreams.
Frightening dreams are my subject matter in the Dream Jumper series; those nightmares where you wake in a cold sweat, crying, breathing hard, thanking your lucky stars that it was just a dream, telling yourself that being trapped, or dying, or running for your life was just your hindbrain amusing itself while your forebrain shut off for the night. The dream was not a premonition, not predicting the future, not telling you to avoid scuba diving because a sixteen-foot Tiger Shark will bump and bite you in a cave or a grisly ghost with a decomposing body will always appear…
How about you? What is the scariest dream you can remember?
Comment for a free ebook of the first book in the series, The Dream Jumper’s Promise. Just email me at Kimhornsby@yahoo.com Subject: JRSuspense
Kim Hornsby is the Seattle author of The Dream Jumper’s Promise, an award-winning Paranormal Mystery Thriller that is an Amazon Bestseller, having reached #1 in both Romantic Suspense and Paranormal Romance.
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