When I have a lot of things on my mind, that are bustling through my brain, caused from over thinking some things, under the others, exaggerating worries and creating concerns out of the tiniest seed of thought, my dream rate increases. Every-night I can expect vivid imagery and seemingly hallucinated story lines. This isn’t inception, its just my brain going into a frenzy, I don’t dislike dreaming but only when the story-line soothes me, it is appealing but obviously if it gets too weird, too scary, too intangible then I start to seriously consider the positive effects that a dream catcher might have. I don’t understand what they are ‘supposed’ to do, I remember a friend who had one when I was younger, she said it was meant to keep out the bad dreams and only let in the good ones…Do they really work? Because I’ll take two.
It has all started since I began reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (I’m on a reading mission to read classic books and tick them of my ‘must read’ list) At school we studied Frankenstein, it was a toss up between the two for our Gothic horror class in literature and teacher chose Frankenstein bypassing Dracula. Thank goodness, I wouldn’t have been able to handle it when I was that young. I don’t get scared watching horror films because the gore is just off putting, barely realistic and when its time for the rolling credits to roll, the film has very much ended and so has my thinking surrounding it. But when reading, you are alone with the words and characters, perhaps in a quiet room, with just the pages in-front to distract you.
Reading Dracula is such a powerful experience, I’ve had one or two dreams that concern vampires since, not the Twilight kind either, the scary Stoker kind. Having an effect over me, like a bitten victim of the Count’s canines, I awoke in the middle of the night confused disorientated and trying to recall my spooky dream. My cat has obviously been dreaming to, maybe its Halloween approaching, as twice she has woke me up by falling off the bed. At least I have her for company.
Yet, despite waking in a hot sweat and questioning ‘what the hell was that noise?’, I still keep reading for more. Dracula is comprised of diary entries, telegrams and newspaper clippings from those who have experienced the vampire, Count Dracula, as I turn the pages I feel alone, flicking through personal accounts, my position as the reader is isolated and vulnerable. Reading these different private forms adds tension yet, even though it is fiction, from the style it adds factuality. I yearn to know what the next entry is going to supply me with, how I’m going to respond, will this fear that Stoker installed remain until the final page?
One of my favourite things about reading is, when I carry on thinking about the plot and content once my bookmark is set in the page, when the narrative doesn’t end with a full stop and the tension translates.Which is exactly what a great novel does, it’s just, I didn’t expected to feel such a response from Dracula. I start to visualise my position as an onlooker in the story; I build and architect the scenes in my head, zoning out from the present, zoning into the realm of fiction. Exceeding my expectations and lingering all day long somewhere in the back of my head through the day and to my dreams at night. The supernatural element, unknowing and alien, causes me to devise realistic solutions, relating it to my everyday or to a world that I can familiarise with. I think this is affecting me more than other books because it is unworldly, incomprehensible to our reality.
I haven’t finished Dracula yet, and I hope I get to sleep tonight but this is my definite Halloween read. It comes with a warning, and if you are or prone to nightmares of ghouls, goblins and all things with oversized canines, make sure you have a dream catcher because I don’t think you will dream well.
What book has made you think above what you expected? Do you dream about a book you’re reading? Is Dracula really scary? Am I just a coward? Are vampires real? Do dream catchers really work?