I think it's safe to assume that just about every writer out there, published or not, has at one time or another fueled one of their stories on something taken from a dream or nightmare. Be it an entire story idea, a setting or just a quick image, I'm sure we've all done it. The other night I had a dream that was filled with such nightmare imagery that I fail to see how I cannot use it in a story. The subjects of the dream? Tarantulas.
Now, let me be clear. Spiders rank number two on my list of things that cause instant heart failure and/or the spontaneous calling for "Mama!" If you must know, number one on that list are sharks and some day I will regale you with the story of my long vanished surfing days, when on one fateful day I had a close encounter with one of Satan's fishes. But that is a story for another day (or ask Mercedes Yardley, she's heard it). Anyway, back to spiders. I hate them. They freak me out big time. This stems from waking up in my crib as a baby and seeing a huge specimen just a few inches away. I cried and screamed and hollered up a storm that would have put a banshee to shame. So what if it was just a piece of stuffing from my teddy bear? I thought it was a spider and ever since then, spiders have been the enemy.
The really strange thing about my tarantula themed dream from the other night is just that: it was a dream and not a nightmare. Despite the abundance of eight legged hell spawn, and their proximity to me in the dream, I never felt any sense of fear or loathing. It was quite odd. I awoke with such an odd feeling of awareness, as if on some subconscious level my mind had come to a realization about the dream spiders that I had not yet processed. The images and ideas in that spider dream would normally have freaked me out big time (especially the part where I was concealing tarantulas in my mouth), but even in the dream things were calm. I plan on using those ideas and images in a story at some point, because I'm sure it will scare someone. I just need to be patient and wait for the right story to come along.