My first dream – at least the one I can remember with any clarity – involved hands coming through the headboard of my bed to grab me.
I also seem to remember whispering “there are men at the bottom of the bed waiting for me”.
I was five years old and I had the flu. I freaked my dad out so badly he refused to sleep in the same bed and sent my mum in instead.
She lasted the whole night as I shivered and burned and dreamed with my eyes open.
Fast-forward 33 years and I’m still having vivid dreams – a smorgasbord of funny, strange, otherwordly and occasionally downright terrifying scenes.
It’s like being trapped in a movie theatre with a madman on the projector – splicing together a film out of my memories, imaginings, feelings, instinct and something else…
Sometimes it’s an entire film – lasting what feels like hours as the world reacts to me and me to it. Other times, it’s a series of fragments and perhaps even just a lingering feeling.
There’s something disconcerting about abandoning the wheel and allowing whoever’s running the ship when you’re below deck to take full control – disconcerting, frightening and also exhilarating.
Where else do you get to visit places that once were and those that have never been, talk again with loved ones long gone from your life and raise a toast with heroes you never met?
Sure, it’s not all plain sailing. Having a strong imagination and vivid dreams will inevitably lead you down darker paths than you think you can stand. Nightmarish visions that would give Stephen King, David Lynch and Neil Gaiman a run for their money.
But sometimes I wake up and feel an intense longing for a strange, familiar world that seemed so close just a second before and is now fading before my eyes.
Excited I turn to Amanda and tell her where I’ve just been – reliving the wonder of a world I’ve never before walked in and never will again.
But within moments the images evaporate like morning dew and I’m left blabbering about meeting Liam Gallagher and enjoying Centerparcs in space.
Eventually that strange sense of wonder fades too, but I wondered – what would it be like if I could capture a bit of that lightning in a (cyberspace) bottle?
Would anyone else like it or relate to it? Or would they just think I was a creepy little twat with too much time on my hands?
Only one way to find out, right?
“Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices,
That if I then had waked after long sleep
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.”