Visit From an Old Novel, Long Past

An autumn torpor consumes all of my energy for writing as of late. I have ideas and chart them, but none take root or wet enthusiasm enough for fruition. I’ve been remiss in weekly postings on this blog, and my novel has become so alien to me, I can only think of ways to repurpose it, to cut up its dead husk into something final, or cast it into the sea, abandon it completely with no fan-fair, no black umbrellas and black ties, no burning pyre and magnificent repast. I’ve failed at my first attempt. I’ve been too indirect, let too much time pass, or let its sporadic moments too quickly dissipate. I think it may be time to morn it and move on. Associates, acquaintances, friends prod me to consider my mood as a change-of-season malaise. I respond, we don’t have seasons in SF, and their rebutal is that it makes it worse. Natural circadian rhythms do not have a reference point to adapt. I should be patient.

I consider myself a patient person, but the numbness of inactivity, and the loneliness moments that last too long and lead to guilt and anguish. It is a nonplus downward spiral to the precipice of despair. I’ve always been able to turn and disrupt the vortex, but this year is different. I keep loosing track of time, and my unconscious dreams manifest themselves more and more into reality. I can still tell the difference, but the edges are blearier.

Two nights ago, I was extremely tired. I got up early that day and went to a fair in Half-moon Bay, the Pumpkin Festival. It was free, the food was good, and although overcast, the temperature was perfect, around 65 degrees. We listened to music, saw lots of fall arts and crafts, and ate/drank lots of pumpkin inspired food and beverages. Braised with pumpkin seeds, the brussel sprouts were my favorite, and a local brew, Mavericks Pumpkin Harvest Ale.

I lay down on the covers that night, and fell into a semi-sleep. I think I am awake, but drowsy, extremely drowsy. I feel this energy enter the room. It is like static electricity, a frizzle, or increase in pressure. I feel it and my eyes open; I think my eyes open, but the bedroom is hazy. I turn my head to the door, and see nothing. I turn in the opposite direction and attempt to rise with no effect. I am frozen in bed, on my back, staring at the ceiling. It is my apartment ceiling with a fleeting glow from the CFL’s in the overhead fixture. I take a breath and try to move again, not possible.

The energy or pressure changes as it moves around the end of the bed to my side. I can feel it change positions. I can’t move my head, I can’t see it, but I know it is there. I think about the myth of “the old hag.” A nocturnal creature/spirit who sits on your chest at night and steels your spirit. She feeds on you.

PANIC. I can’t move and this energy or entity is standing next to me. Fear intensifies the energy’s presence. What do I do? How do I defeat it? I wiggle my hand and nudge my wife sleeping next to me. She doesn’t stir. I am awake; I can feel her leg as I furiously tap it with my fingers. HELP ME, I am screaming in my own head, and she doesn’t stir. WAKE UP, WAKE UP, I yell at the top of my thoughts, nothing. If this thing sits on my chest, I will not be able to escape. If it sits on my chest and syphons my soul, how will I survive? How I will I seek heaven or nirvana? I’ve read of victims going years, feeding “the old hag.” Years of insomnia and fear, never again achieving restful sleep. What do I do? WAKE UP, jump up, move, anything and this dream or energy or creature will flee.

Growl. GROWL, if I growl I can scare it away. I know I am awake, this is not a dream, if i growl, I can chase it way. It has to work. I focus my effort and a shallow rumble emanates from my throat. It takes all my strength to focus my thoughts on a “grrrr,” and its little louder. The entity is bending over my torso; I feel its energy ruffle the edge of the bed. “Growwwl,” I almost there. I feel it on my face, “GROWL, GRRRROWL, GROWWWL.”

I rise up straight out of bed with my eyes wide open. I look around, and my wife asks if I am OK.

“I heard you growling,” she says, sits up, and grabs my arm. “it was really loud. I’ve never you heard you make that noise before?”

Phew, it was a dream after all. It seemed so real, the details of the room, time passing, and I couldn’t control its direction. Was I awake or was I dreaming? Perhaps a little of both, I can’t go back to sleep. It’s 5 A.M. I’ve been wanting to start my day earlier, so today is as good as any day. I get up, move to the living room, and open my laptop to a blank page.

“It was an amazing sequence of the most confusing events…” _____

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