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Posts Tagged ‘imagination’

Dreaming of You

In It's Only Words on 08/13/2012 at 17:33

Dream a little dream of you

I have always been prone to an especially sensitive imagination. One which when left to its own devices runs unabated, collecting every thought, fear and hope of mine and challenging me with a warped reflection of each.

It preys on  me when I am at my most susceptible, for example if  I am in a new place or have just encountered a trying experience. After I lost my grandfather, he visited me in dream-form twice in the weeks following his passing. The general sentiment of each dream indicated that he was happy and left me with a warm feeling each time. However, when my best and oldest friend of 18 years chose to end our relationship suddenly without a word of explanation, I watched her befall a tragic end in a plane crash that woke me with wracking sobs.

I know that my dreams are not necessarily based on fact, more that they pick up the fragments of my subconscious and amid the freedom of my sleeping state play out a version of how I’m feeling. Either revealing something my waking self is afraid of, behaving in a way I hope never to, or allowing someone in to pass on a message; my dreams often affect me even once the night is over.

Since becoming a mother my imagination has played host to a variety of dreams, mostly ones I wish to forget. They have come in sporadic waves as I get to grips with the many overwhelming emotions and fears that strike the moment the umbilical cord is severed. But the past week has left me inundated with nightmares, each featuring various scenarios involving a separation from my baby. Being forced to give her up for adoption, leaving her somewhere, someone snatching her and so on. I wake up filled with unease, rushing into her room to ensure she is still there and my overactive imagination hasn’t somehow gone all Freddy Kruger on me.

This separation anxiety is haunting me on a daily basis and whether it is a precursor to the fact that come 2013 I will be forced to leave her with a childminder on my return to work, or merely the internal ramblings of a first time mother; I don’t know.

It’s a terrifying love that engulfs you when you become a parent and the idea of not being able to control the world around you in order to protect your most precious possession only exacerbates that terror. Your own flawed humanity comes into play as you make mistakes like forgetting to strap her carseat into the car or burning the vegetables you are preparing for her lunch. Guilt stalks you constantly and perhaps that is what is driving my dreams, my own guilt at my maternal shortcomings?

Maybe my father leaving when I was young has a part to play? Maybe I’ve read too many articles and watched too many films about young children and babies being taken? Maybe I just don’t have enough love for myself to believe I am allowed something so good in my life? Whatever it is, it will most likely take more than a dreamcatcher to appease my imagination.

I just hope that from now on my dreams are sweet, instead of laced with a bitter after taste.

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The Doubting Game

In It's Only Words on 06/10/2011 at 09:59

Let the words flow...

Being a writer is never easy. You find yourself constantly wavering between pride, uncertainty and the demon that calls itself doubt as you navigate manuscript drafts, planning, plotting, outlines, synopses and character development. And why do we do it? Acknowledgement. The external recognition and validation that we aren’t just kidding ourselves into believing we can do this, because actually someone else has faith in us too.

Speaking to a friend (she works in HR) last night, it would seem that acknowledgement is a universal need. It’s like the proverbial tree falling in the woods, if no one acknowledges our achievements, our failures, our development – it might as well not have happened. And if we don’t know about them, we certainly can’t do anything to fix the things that have gone wrong, or build on the things we’ve done right.

The life of a writer, in particular, is for the most part a solitary one. We lock ourselves away – both physically and emotionally – into offices, studies, imaginary worlds, our parallel universe, as we try and make sense of a different world that is being created within our minds. Immersing ourselves in research, finding our voice, inhabiting our characters; we do this in order to produce our work to the best of its potential. And we need others to verify that it is indeed, good.

In attendance at Nicola Morgan’s talk on ‘writing to be published’ at Foyles bookstore last week, one person asked about the minefield that is feedback, explaining that he found it harder to take than a visit to the dentist. As writers we know that the only way to improve and reach our potential is to listen to the advice and opinion of others. You may write a secret diary for yourself alone, but ultimately if you are looking for your fiction/non-fiction to be published within the wider world, you must expect to cater to a broad range of tastes. You must also realise that what you’re serving up may whet the appetite of some yet not taste right to others. That is of course not to say that writers must listen to every piece of advice coming their way, no we must learn to tune into the feedback and develop an instinct for knowing when it should or shouldn’t be applied to our work.

Similarly to the acknowledgement that we yearn for throughout our lives – both personally and professionally – our development requires the same in order to prosper and listening (or not listening) to feedback is a key part of that. It is sometimes hard to listen to what others have to say and our reflex may be to ignore or wave it away, or cry and tell ourselves that they’re right and we’re the worst at what we do and all our hopes and dreams may as well be sequestered to the dump for all the good they’re doing us… but the sign of a good writer is one who picks themselves up, stands tall and reaffirms their self-belief that the reason they ever took pen to pad (or fingers to keypad) in the first place is because that is what they were meant to do.

I know that I am meant to be a writer. It is what I have been doing since childhood, from the silly story of school-age twins which I penned at the age of 7 at my grandparents’ Bournemouth flat, to the quirky poetry I constructed from history books to get me through GCSE revision. Writing is the one thing to which I have remained constant – amid the ambitions of vocal stardom and midwifery – and that is why I know that through all the temporary doubts and uncertainties, ultimately I believe in myself and the words I leave in my wake.

My name is Hadassah and I am a writer.

The Superhero Effect

In It's Only Words on 02/17/2011 at 11:34

Baby, I'm unbreakable

Hands up who is a fan of any of the following: The Vampire Diaries, Heroes, Supernatural, True Blood, Twilight, The Craft, Harry Potter…

The current trend with the supernatural, reflected in the TV shows and films we watch, the books we read, the topics we discuss, all comes down to the fact that we are fascinated with mystery and the unknown. But more than that, as mere mortals what intrigues us more than anything is the concept of immortality, strength and invincibility. In the face of disease, poverty and an unpredictable job market, the idea of rising above it all with superhero power is vastly appealing.

From vampires and wizards, to seemingly “normal” individuals with super powers we search for ways to enhance our humanity, our mortality. Is it because we are afraid of death, of our human frailty? Possessing our own powers or being shielded by the powers of another sustains those who are looking to have faith in something. Believing we are capable of protecting ourselves and those we love enables us to feel as though we are in control of our destiny. Spoken like a true control freak I hear you say… well yes, to some extent, but how many of us are not afraid of the unknown?

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a witch, my friend and I were obsessed with The Worst Witch books and we would act out the stories during playtime at school, imagining we could fly and cast spells. My parents split up and my Dad moved to the other side of the world. In short, life was hard. My fantasies of witch-craft and the imaginary world I built up around myself was my coping mechanism when the shit hit the fan.

I would pray and I would tell myself that it didn’t matter what happened to me, because my body was only a shell and my soul would survive no matter what. I went to see a councillor, and rather than talk, I wrote and I drew. I channelled my pain through my creativity. I am so grateful to my imagination and creativity for helping me to survive – that is my superpower.

When we experience traumas, upheavals and crises it forces a re-evaluation of life. I have experienced the big bad throughout my life in different forms and it has all taught me about the strength within myself – the ability to cope and to survive. I believe that we mere mortals do have “superpowers”, they just may not manifest via teleporting, flying, sorcery or extreme mortal combat talents. The “super power” we have is within ourselves, and learning how to use it for our own good is what makes it powerful.