Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hypnopompic and Hypnagogic Writing

I've long been aware that, for me, those dreamy half-waking, half-sleeping moments that bookend a good night's sleep are amazingly fertile ground for creativity.  These are the moments for waking dreams, when my subconscious pulls together any number of scenes and experiences from my waking life and turns them into something strange and wonderful and full of amazing, if incomprehensible, detail.

Thanks to Michael Quinion and World Wide Words, I now know the proper terms for these dream states: Hypnopompic is the morning dozy dreaming  -- those moments when you know you should get up but just aren't quite ready. Hypnagogic, on the other hand, is the not-quite asleep moment, when you're just "resting your eyes,"( Zen reading, as we call it around here) nodding over an open book with closed eyes.

Both of these states can be useful to a writer -- if said writer has a bedside notepad and pen -- and the strength of will to use them.  I often use the moments when I've turned off the light to lie there and think about the point at which I left my work in progress and try to imagine what the characters will do next. Sometimes -- if I don't fall asleep and if I can turn the light back on and write down my thoughts -- that hypnagogic trance has solved a knotty problem for me. 

I may remember the ideas in the morning -- but not reliably, alas. Undoubtedly some of my best ideas disappeared never to return, because I decided to trust my memory rather than turn the light on.

The morning hynopompic minutes are equally useful -- and easier to remember, as long as not too much comes between getting out of bed and getting back to the WIP.

Before I had these marvelous words, I  always called these moments "juicy" states of mind." Whatever they are, I really enjoy them.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Just a reminder -- this terrific novel that I talked about HERE hits the shelves today.
It's a terrific read that will linger in your mind.

Two more recent reads -- children's books, courtesy of my nostalgic book-pushing friends on Facebook. HALF-MAGIC involves the discovery of a magic talisman that grants half of any wish. Great fun!

 And I am reminded that most of the best books where children are swept up in an adventure take place when the parents or guardians are absent or otherwise, preoccupied -- another argument against the helicopter style of parenting.

Imagine if Aunt Em  and Uncle Henry had been blown to Oz with Dorothy. Or if the Pevensey children's mother had come to Narnia with them. There would have be warnings and naptimes and the adventures would have died before they started.

THE GAMMAGE CUP  is a children's book about adults in a fantasy world. It has some really interesting things to say about conformity and individuality -- almost as if it were speaking to adults as well as children. 

Yesterday was balmy -- we sat outside on the porch in the afternoon and I went around straightening up all the solar lights that Bob and his leash have knocked over. There's still a fair amount of snow i the shady places but there's a definite feeling that spring may be on it's way.

To which I say HURRAH!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Weather Event . . .

A good time to stay in and write . . . or (groan) get the tax stuff sorted.

In the immortal words of the Beatles:

Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Should five percent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.

Don't ask me what I want it for
If you don't want to pay some more
Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
Cause I'm the taxman, yeah the taxman
And you're working for no one but me.

Exit humming . . .