Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
The real world is always disappointing when you have been living within the pages of a book. But I think there may be a solution.
I have recently decided I’d like to live in a world where a clock rings out before bed, you climb in between the sheets, and that’s when real time starts, the time that matters. All waking hours are immaterial, unimportant, filled with stuff just to be forgotten. Sleep begins, and we acknowledge that’s when everything that is significant goes on.
So from now on it’s the life I want to lead: asleep. My body will not be a restriction; it doesn’t need to come. I’m well, but sickness wouldn’t be a barrier either. I can easily run a marathon, swim the channel. I don’t need money: I can get on any plane, live in any house, or hotel…or castle. I am allowed to eat huge quantities of cheese. I can wear what I want. I can befriend anyone I please — they all want to know me.
Tonight it’s sunny. The sky is blue and full of puffy white clouds. I meet my friends. One of them flags down a green bus that looks like the type of vehicle you might find in a children’s picture book, and we get onboard. There are no other passengers. We set off for a picnic beside the river. We arrive in no time. Some of us jump into the water. There’s a pile of indulgent fluffy towels beside us on the bank. We didn’t have to carry them; they just happened to be there. Even after swimming, my hair looks great. I must have had it done recently, but I didn’t have to spend time sitting in that chair in the salon. Everyone looks good in fact. We all have a sun tan and our teeth are gleaming. Our conversation is very funny.
Suddenly I’m in a cafe. Someone I knew years ago and have totally forgotten about is buying me a cup of tea. Another friend is on television, reading the news. The waiter shows me a pair of shoes in a very bright blue.
It’s quite unusual on this other side of life, and to be frank, much more interesting.
Once in a while there is a daymare of a night, just as we’ve all had a nightmare of a day. Strange people came into the garden yesternight and I had to try to push them back out through the gate. I was only planting shrubs, nothing controversial, but every time I pressed a little green item into the ground, one of the intruders came and dug it up. All of them were smiling, but they didn’t say a thing. I tried working faster, harder, turning my back on them. More and more of them arrived. They started digging up the vegetable patch and throwing onions and beans across the lawn. I left them to it in the end and retreated inside. It was nice to get up this morning, I have to say.
There’s the odd bad night, but most are soothing, refreshing, and intriguing. I find I‘m setting the clock earlier and earlier. I’ve tried a few times to guide what happens in my sleep, they call it lucid dreaming, but I’ve never managed it, not yet; that really would be the icing on the cake. Quite honestly, if I do ever find out how to do it, I don’t think I’ll ever get up again!
Thank you for this intriguing guest post . . . . I can’t decide if it is a dream or a total nightmare!
Read on to discover more about Beth and her debut novel, The Five Things – including an excerpt to whet your appetite….
For nine-year-old Wendy, the summer of 1969 will never be forgotten.
Local kids have always told stories about the eerie wood on the outskirts of the village, and Wendy knows for sure that some of them are true. Now the school holidays have started and she’s going to the wood again with Anna and Sam, but they soon become convinced that someone is trying to frighten them off.
When a terrible event rocks the coastal community, the young friends can’t help thinking there must be a connection between the incident, the tales they’ve heard, and the strange happenings they’ve begun to witness. As glimpses of a darker world threaten their carefree existence, they feel compelled tosearch out the underlying truth.
It’s 1969 in rural England. Wendy, the protagonist of the tale, has been affected by seeing dead birds in a wood where she and the other local children play. She doesn’t want her brother to know she’s seen them as she and her friends aren’t really supposed go there. The mystery that surrounds the wood is to be key to the events of the summer.
“I’d written a poem about the birds after I’d seen them in the wood. I was keeping it in the tin under my bed where I kept special things. It was entitled Poor Birds and began Poor, poor birds, I feel so sorry for you and hope you are now free. It was quite long.
I asked Philip if he’d help me dig up the jam jar from behind the garage. I didn’t want to tell him about what I’d seen, but I thought it would be good to put the poem in the jar. It would be like some kind of burial, in remembrance of the beautiful creatures.
“It’s supposed to be discovered by people in hundreds of years’ time,” he said.
“They won’t mind,” I said. “They won’t even know.”
“Why do you want to dig it up?”
“I want to see what’s in it, then we can bury it again.”
“You know what’s in it.”
“I want to have another look.”
“We’d buried the jar a few months earlier. We’d put things in it that we thought represented our life and times: a coin with the date on, a toy that came free with the cornflakes, a newspaper article, various things. We’d watched the presenters do something similar on a TV show.”