I Collect Nightmares

I dream a lot, but I rarely have nightmares. I think that if I ever found myself haunted by terrible dreams, I would self-prescribe a generous dose of Granny Weatherwax’s headology. So… when Björn, over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, asked, “How about the nightly visits?” I responded with a poem inspired by Granny’s headology, in Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade.

.
I collect nightmares.

Petunia was my first, named
after a great-aunt, who forced me
into pink lace, taffeta and chiffon,
topped by a brain-shrinking tiara.

She wilts under black ink,
runs screaming
at the sight of comfy jeans.

.
The Prick, my second nightmare,
wears eyes, teeth and stink
that fit Aunt Petunia’s son.
She says The Prick doesn’t exist;
but armed me with couch-talk
and pills of fog, to quiet
what might lurk in my dark.

Talk and fog make poor weapons
against crooked teeth and eyes aflame.
To collect The Prick, I had to craft
a heavy Nightmare-Be-Naught Stick.

.
On days of turmoil, The Prick
has tried to creep into my sleep;
but my Stick breaks his teeth
and puts out his eyes
before he can spread his stink.

I collect nightmares… and Sticks.

.
Headology: “Granny Weatherwax had never heard of psychiatry and would have had no truck with it even if she had. There are some arts too black even for a witch. She practiced headology—practiced, in fact, until she was very good at it. And though there may be some superficial similarities between a psychiatrist and a headologist, there is a huge practical difference. A psychiatrist, dealing with a man who fears he is being followed by a large and terrible monster, will endeavor to convince him that monsters don’t exist. Granny Weatherwax would simply give him a chair to stand on and a very heavy stick.” ~ Maskerade

linked to Rereading My Pratchett

I Said No Bogeymen, by Zorm“I Said No Bogeymen”, by Zorm
(This illustration was inspired by Hogfather, a different Pratchett book. But the character’s reaction to the boogeyman makes me think that she, too, has heard of Granny’s headology.)

54 thoughts on “I Collect Nightmares

  1. I love the idea of giving the nightmares names! Having been plagued by bad dreams my whole life, I could do with one of Granny Weatherwax’s sticks.

  2. This is all wonderful: The headology, the poem, the stick. I love this sort of thing.

    I don’t dream myself (or don’t remember them) so I don’t have nightmares. I guess that is good. It would be rough to ONLY have nightmares.

    Maybe that’s why i like reading about dreams, nightmares, and dream psychology so much.

    • I usually have the most ridiculous dreams. I always remember them and they make me laugh. When I was very young, it was a different story. But know, dreams and I have reached an understanding.

      I, too, enjoy reading dream psychology (and mythology, too). Intriguing subject…

  3. Oh… yes, I think nightmares are very real… just as the Lennon quote… and sticks are great against both Pricks and flimsy lace… Love your take here… splendid, and I would need some headology..

    • Anything that evokes such vivid responses from us have to be real. I think many people confused “reality” with “concrete”. Love and hate and fear are rather untouchable, but we don’t see anyone saying they aren’t real. The same is true about the things that pull our toes while we snooze, methinks.

    • That was my story while growing up, night terrors and sleepwalking. I get the bit about people not understanding. It’s hard to explain that although you sleep all night (since you were having the nightmares), you still got no rest. And the nightmares stay around throughout the day, too. The tiredness, the jumpiness, the irritation, the fear… terrible.

  4. I am a big fan of Granny Weatherwax and Headology. I very much enjoyed your fanciful take on real life and bigger than life nightmares! A stick better than stink! Thanks, Magaly–hope you are feeling better. k.

    • Granny’s headology is all about sense and fairness. What’s not to love, right? I’m glad you enjoyed the poem.

      I am still still dealing with the cold, but it seems I’m getting better. Just coughing a lot. I hope the whole thing will be gone soon. Fingers crossed. ♥

  5. Our house has sticks of all sizes, beating big or little pricks with sticks is a grand idea 🙂 BTW I feel you & Terry Pratchett may be cosmic siblings… the force is strong between you two 😉

  6. I just love this Magaly–every word, descriptive, humorous, practical, is marshaled for the task with great aplomb, not to mention, panache. The poem is wrought so craftily that its wisdom seems absolutely obvious as in ‘Why didn’t I think of this???’–and of course, one of the first precepts of witchiness is that knowing something’s name gives us power over it–and a Stick doesn’t hurt either. Really excellent writing.

  7. I must give Pratchett a looksee .Sticks and stones will break bones and diminish demons. When I have nightmares I’m shaken awake by my husband because i’m a very active dreamer.

  8. Having a nightmare is a privilege. Not everyone can choose to have it. Giving names makes it a friendly ‘being’ not given to be as scary as opposed to not knowing them! Sticks can be good for ‘prodding’ them to maintain feelings of physical contact.

    Hank

  9. I love this. I love how empowering it feels to name the monster and have a good laugh at its expense. Just bloody damn brilliant.

  10. My mind hasn’t been settling at night, since I have started this journey in January. The things I have been dreaming of! But, since my mind has not been settling, I don’t know what a good sleep is anymore! LOL! Maybe I should stop asking for messages while I sleep 🙂
    I love your poem and I love taking a stick to beat the monster up! That is one thing I have always been able to do. If I was really frightened in a dream, I would stop and say no, I am the one in control and beat up on what ever has been scaring me. Yes, I can be a kick ass girl in dream land 🙂 I should let her wake up in the real world 😉

    • I had two dreams, last night. A strange one that had me talking (okay, yelling) in my sleep loud enough to wake my Piano Man. And a sweet dream where my grandmother and I walked together to the village well to get water. The latter was a bit of a fantasy–my grandma never had to go to the well, not when she had an army of grandchildren and great-grandchildren to do it for her. But it was such a wonderful dream. We stopped everywhere (to pick guavas and other fruits), and we sang all the way. I hope your dream was just as good.

      Oh, and yay for taking control of your dreams! Taking charge of reality is on the way, I just know it. 🙂

  11. Hahaha…have I told you I have a very big stick? A man once said “I hope you don’t hit your dog with that!” To which I quietly replied “Of course not…it’s for people like you.” He didn’t laugh CWS XXX

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