(The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters) Francisco Goya published 1799
There is a study has been floating around – and it came back up during the height of the Covid-19 that I found interesting.
It was being reported ( can’t say to whom ) that people who were sleeping a lot- or too much were having vivid nightmares.
Over the years I got into the ‘too much sleep’ cycle and you can count me among those who reporteed ( in my case I told my Counselor and Doctor ) that my nightmares were so vivid and intense that I could smell things, that if I touched things I could feel objects- textures, weight even heat and cold.
Because these sensations were so real that when I woke up I was really disorientated because I wasn’t sure if I was really awake or still asleep.
This was the first nightmare I had- and it was so strange that I wrote it down.
Grant Wood February, 1940
When I woke up ( in my dream ) someone was shaking my shoulder.
” Come on, we have to get to work. ”
I looked up and I saw my own face and then I blinked and when I opened my eyes I was looking up into a man’s face.
He was dressed in gray and his hair was full of dirt- the hardpack dusty dirt that you find in unfinished basements. He smelled a little like gasoline and mold. He had freckles and his ear was pierced but he wasn’t wearing an earring.
I thought I was in bed, but I wasn’t. I was sitting in a chair in my room and all of the furnishings were gone. There weren’t any curtains on the windows and when I looked outside I didn’t see my yard. I saw buildings- they were brick and motar buildings. Some of the bricks were concrete and marble blocks that had been locked together and I could hear the rocks grinding and crunching against each other. The sky was full of birds and when they flapped their wings I heard creaking and not the sound of feathers working against the air.
There were trees with scorch marks on their trunks. I couldn’t see people but I knew they were there. I could hear them.
I knew they were talking to themselves and not to each other.
” Come one. ” the man in my room said. ” We have to get to work. ”
” I don’t know where I’m supposed to go. I don’t know what my job is.”
” You work the midnight shift. You know that. ”
I went to the window. ” Oh. Yeah. Right ” I leaned over the window cill and then I fell.
As I tumbled to the brick lined street below, I could feel the air rush into my lungs, it pushed against my face and I held my breath. Then I felt myself push the air out of my lungs and when I did I soared up past the buidlings and the birds creaking and snapping around me the people I couldn’t see but that I could hear and I went to work the Midnight Shift.
I had that dream everynight for almost three straight weeks and then one night the person who woke me up looked different and he told me he’d be taking over my shift.
The man in my dream looked a little like my Grandfather, but he had one blue eye and one orange eye like my dog who had died a few years before.
I was a little sad I wouldn’t be working my shift and I realized that as leaned back into my chair I was starving- I could feel my stomach gurgling and when I woke up I went and made myself a ‘second dinner.’
Here’s the thing- I can still see those buidlings, I can described them to you but that’s not the part of my dream that has stuck with me to this day.