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The absolutely right place to be June 27, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams, Inspiration, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Life is a complex thing. There are so many wandering paths and winding routes to be taken.

I am no believer in fate. The world is too deep, too chaotic. There are bridges spun from gossamer, tunnels and short-cuts that require you to wade through swamps and traverse cliff-edges that hang you over sharp rocks hundreds of metres below. Sometimes it all gets hard to navigate, and great swathes of time can be lost as you stumble through the briar patch. Lethargy, and fear, and sadness are all present and powerful forces, forces that exist alongside the happiness, dreams and aspirations. For fate to exist in a world so mad and unpredictable seems nothing short of ridiculous – we can choose our own paths, plural, and walk our own ways.

Still, I do tend to feel that each path, each route, has pit stops along the way. And sometimes things fall into place so neatly that it is impossible to question their rightness. Last night, watching the stars twinkle into existence in the wake of the setting sun I felt that feeling. A sense of utter calm, all the thoughts in my head startled into silence. A feeling of, by simple serendipity, ending up exactly where I was meant to be at that exact moment in time. A feeling that, right there and then, everything was utterly “right”. Everything was utterly OK.

And things will change, and I will no doubt drift in my dreams way from the exact path, and miss some of the markers on the way – but yesterday evening, in the warmth and the dark, I was absolutely in the right place.

It was wonderful.


I build castles in the air May 31, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams, Wordy Business.
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Years ago, I picked up a tome in a bookstore. A weighty beast, this book was crammed with scraps, and doodles, fragments of thoughts. It was a mishmash of one collector’s life, colour jostling with black and white, page after page of shapes and sounds and recollections. The hard back covers fell open in my hands, the flicking pages raising questions – what is the art of looking sideways, do androids dream of electric sheep?

The page it settled on, however, was just a poem. Black text on yellow paper. Simple, unassuming, perhaps not technically brilliant. A poem that now, nearly 10 years later, I can still recall, I hope with a good level of accuracy. With apologies to the author if I have remixed his words, that beautiful elegant simple poem went something akin to the following:

There was a fence with spaces

You could look through if you wanted to

An architect who saw this thing

Stood there one summer evening

Took out the spaces with great care

And built a castle in the air

The fence was utterly dumfounded

Each post stood there with nothing round it.

Some days I feel like that fence. Like someone’s come along and taken something vital without me even knowing what. I feel like I stand there in complete isolation, yet like at the same time I am some bit part of a magical castle hanging in the sky. You can’t see it, but it’s there.

Dreams of Lions and Strolls Along Wild Deserted Moors April 14, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams, Wordy Business.
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I have been dreaming vividly again recently. I wake in the morning exhilarated from the adventures of the night before, and from the wild roads I have wandered.

Beautiful Lion

Last night I dreamt of lions. I dreamt of wandering along a twisted bulging tarmac street that cleaved its way through the barren expanse of a distant and unfamiliar moorland. In the distance birds circled and storm clouds gathered, and there was a scent of rain lingering in the air. Then, sprawled across a patch of bristly moor grass, I saw the pride. Four grown lions, snoozing and scrabbling in the last vestiges of sun, tossing their thick manes and pouncing at little blackbirds and plump pheasants.

Still we walked though, climbing the mutated and ravaged tarmac up into the thinner higher air,  fast enough to be left puffing for breath. Unexpected, the lion reached us, its tawny hair rough and shedding. It batted playfully at our legs, darted forwards just to rush away again, like a cat playing with a mouse. We ran in turn, falling, grazing our knees on the hard floor, grasping tufts of harsh reeds and scrabbling at gravel to pull ourselves back up, to keep running, to stay one breathless step ahead.

I still don’t know whether we survived.

[Image source: here]

Strange Dreams of Babies and Sunbeams March 20, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams.

My dreams are always strange – I prefer it that way, it makes my nights entertaining, so that shut-eye feels less like a blank space in time, and more like a chance to explore fantasy worlds.

That said, some dreams are odder than normal. Recently my dreams of adventures and explorations, of zombies and creatures of the night, have been replaced by recurring dreams about something far stranger, far more surreal.

More specifically, I have been dreaming about becoming a mother. Sometimes the dreams involve the birth, other times they don’;t, and instead I am left holding a child with no knowledge of where it came from – but an absolute certainty that it is mine. In all of these dreams, I am an appalling mother. In the most recent I left the child at home whilst I took a vacation to see my parents, and whilst the dream ended with me missing said unnamed baby passionately, it didn’t change the fact that I left it, newborn alone and unloved.

These dreams? They are disturbing, not only because the idea of one day being an appalling mother is terrifying, but because I can’t explain why I am dreaming like this. What has started these strange stories worming their way into my subconscious?

Living an Adventure November 28, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams, Inspiration, Life, Chatter & Politics.

One of my main worries in life is that I will float through it, without ever actually getting around to do any of the things I want to do. I grew up with amazing parents, telling me tales of getting appendicitis under bushes in the Ukraine, or missing getting a train destined to be bombed in Iraq. Tails of hippy hysteria, tomato picking, 3 course meals at the end of lines of vines in France. They are so full of stories, have done so much, that I know I would be so incredibly disappointed in myself were I to never get around to creating my own life stories to tell my own kids one day down the line.

It is so easy, you see, to settle. To get used to the comfort of a familiar job. To push your adventures further and further away, until you never get around to living them at all. To sit in the warm and read books rather than get things wrong, make mistakes, and live dangerously.

Thinking about this recently has resulted in a number of aims. I want to go to London, work in fashion, and have a bit of an adventure. I know I can always come back to Leamington, the place that has somehow become home. I am planning to go travelling next year – and currently am thinking of going to the US, Australia, and New Zealand, as I have friends in all. I want to learn new skills – and so in the new year I will be taking up pole dancing with Helen, and considering learning Swedish just for the hell of it. I am going to train myself in Photoshop and web design, and consider doing some graphic design, as I have always wanted to.

My new years resolution, no matter how early, is to have at least one bona-fide adventure by the end of the year. Simples!

Last night I woke up screaming October 21, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams.
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Last night I woke up screaming. I pulled myself from deep down, swimming through murky water that clawed at me like toffee to finally plunge into the real world, with a scream tearing its way from my mouth as soon as I surfaced. Immediately after screaming, I lay back down, but I couldn’t get out of my head the feeling of utter terror. When my eyes tried to close, fluttering down against my will, I forced them open, staring around the room like a rabbit caught in the proverbial headlights.

What is strange is that I don’t know what was scary. I have apocalyptic dreams all of the time, and they entertain me from the moment my eyes close to the second my alarm wakes me in the morning. This dream, however, consisted of me flying around a huge, dark, and deserted department store, fighting as always against gravity and the ever encroaching darkness. At one point there was a slow wall of mud crawling through a town, and a mad rush to escape. All in all, it was pretty far from terrifying.

Yet still, there I was, wild eyed and pumped full of adrenaline, at three in the morning. Realising, of course, that for the first time since I have been single, I needed someone to hold me. I needed someone to stroke me, and tell me that it would all be alright, and shh me until I faded into sleep with their arms wrapped around me and their breath hot against my skin.

And there I was, alone.

And so I kissed a member of The Offspring… August 13, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams.

Firstly, a disclaimer… this was a dream! Before anyone has a minor heart attack!

I had an amazing nights sleep last night. I was all curled up in my super soft duvet, and I spent the entire night having a strangely enjoyable dream. I woke up multiple times and each time chose to dive back in, it was that enjoyable! So, here is a little synopsis:

It started off with me driving down the Leamington high street. Out of the window of the car I saw the beautiful Doe Deere, who I would like to add I have never actually met or spoken to. I jumped out to say hi and introduce myself, but she seemed really rude (please note this was just in my dream, she seems absolutely wonderful in real life!), like a celebrity being harassed by the paparazzi. Then it dawned on me that she was distracted, and waiting for someone to come out of the shop behind her. A few guys wandered out, dressed in black with cool clothes and equally cool looks, and feeling rude I excused myself and ran off to my nearby house.

What The Offspring actually look like!

What The Offspring actually look like!

However, one of the guys followed me, and although I didn’t know him he apologised profusely, and begged me to come with them all to a massive concert that was going on in town (Who knew Leamington was such a hotbed of musical activity?!). Reluctantly I agreed, and it was only when I started wandering down with them, chatting away, that I realised I was walking along with the members of The Offspring, and a few other random and seemingly talented musicians!

We arrived at the venue, a huge dark industrial space where many many people were playing instruments and essentially rocking out. We all got involved, dancing, singing, and sitting around large tables on a  mismatched collection of vintage chairs (funny the things the brain remembers, eh?!). After a while I distinctly remember ending up kissing one of the members of the The Offspring, even though I have to admit to not actually knowing what any of them look like. He was beautiful though, and being that I am currently missing having to someone to kiss it was very enjoyable indeed!

What a great and surreal dream!

Awkward Dreams February 2, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams, Life, Chatter & Politics, Media, TV & Film.
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I have been sleeping a little strangely recently, having odd dreams about things that happen during the day or that get mentioned, which probably explains why I dreamt I was on Take Me Out, that terrible yet strangely enjoyable Saturday night dating show. This in itself would be fine were it not for a whole series of odd happenings… rushing across stage when we were live because I needed the toilet, and having a very inappropriate moment with a man from work who was the one being found a date.

Regardless of the fact that in real life I don’t fancy this man at all, I haven’t been able to look directly at him all day. I probably look like I have something in my eyes, or that my brain isn’t particularly in gear – I am constantly staring off into the distance and blushing. Most embarrassing and awkward, yet without any cause in real life (thank god!).

These dreams are the very worse of the worst, yet I know I am not alone – I have heard of plenty of people having to deal with the same? Has it ever happened to you?

Dream Diaries | Crocodiles & Werewolves January 22, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams.
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A bit of a break from the norm last night, with an incredibly vivid dream featuring myself, Ben and my sister Jess on holiday somewhere hot and lovely. It was very peculiar, disturbing and somewhat entertaining! Anyways, without further ado…

Ben, Jess and myself are holidaying on a far off shore. The sun is hot, beating down on our heads, and the tarmac beneath our feet radiates the heat back up at us from below. We walk down what must be a boardwalk to a large hole, broken around the edges, that leads through the towns border wall to the beach and the mountainous coastline. We are barefoot, and I look down at the hot soft sand as we set off to find a cosy place to have our picnic.

Then, there on the ground, I see something strange. A tiny copper crocodile head, popping out from the sand. Then, before I can blink, the little croc turns and, with a flick of its tail swims off across the beach. As it goes, its copper scales are dragged off by the sand, and I am watching this strange display until I hear a shout from Ben, up ahead. There beneath his feet, something moves, and then suddenly he is rising off the ground and is thrown, as a 10 foot crocodile heaves itself violently out of the sand. It dives towards him, teeth smashing together, but he roles and dives out of its way, getting smacked on the head by the tail as he goes.

The wild croc, angered from being walked on , turns in desperation and dives at the next nearest victim, my sister. Jess screams, falls backwards, scrambles to move away, and I watch in growing horror. As it rushes at her I know that to save her life I will have to do something, and with no breath left in my lungs I grab for the nearest object with which to defend her. It happens, of course, to be a big snake, and I hold tightly onto both ends. Unfazed I proceeded to beat the crocodile away from her, and thankfully she is left unharmed.

Later that day Ben and I crawl to a cave where the crocodile responsible for today’s chaos is known to live. Living with him, we hear, is a young girl, his wife. I slide through the hole and end up in the cave, trying to find this girl through winding dark corridors and down strange thin channels. Behind me I here the crocodile moving, and I rush upwards, finding the little exit and pressing myself through it, dragging against the sharp rock as I do. Behind the croc, who is now charging, I see the girl. She is a slender thing, blond and delicate, but with fury on her face she pours water over the crocodile, breaking off his attack. She did that for me.

Next I am in the town, but everything is flooded. Stranded high above the buildings, we have to dive from the windows into the water to reach the shops and store rooms, and there is always the worry that the crocodile will swim through and find you paddling innocently across, tender and soft and such easy prey. There is also another worry, the werewolves, and it is with hesitation that I leave that night to find some food.

My journey takes me near a strange house with strange sounds coming out of it. I have realised I am in werewolf territory just as the first one bounds through the doors. He is tall, ugly, covered in thick pungent hair and with a short, smashed in snout. I turn tail and run, try to fly away, clamber up a a tree to escape. He can only just reach me, but one lone claw drags across my skin, with a thin trail of red welling up behind it.

When I get back to Ben it is apparent that I am a werewolf. I am determined to be different, not to be an animal, so I chain myself up, but somewhere along the line Ben gets cut too. I have choppy memories of weeks spent in a chamber, clawing at each other, trapped in corners weeping and bleeding. Then others come to find us, and we end up with a werewolf army. As we leave to take over the town, I am stuck by a great feeling of sorrow, because this is my doing, and even through my werewolf eyes I know that it is bad. It is too late, however, and my clan burst from the rooftops, devouring everything in their path!

Wow, what a convoltued dream eh?!

Dream Diaries | Water Water Everywhere… January 14, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams.
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I went out last night, to meet up with the lovely Roisin, a gal who Cie and I met through Twitter and blogging. Muchos wine was imbibed, and I tottered home through the slush and fog aided a lot by the chicken burger I munched on the way! The resulting dehydration probably resulted in the strange set of dreams that followed, all with a very specific theme. Here are the little bits I can remember!

Sitting on a wall, in some wonderfully beautiful and probably romantic situation, and then falling straight off, directly into a puddle. Face in the puddle, ear touching the tarmac, I actually started lapping at the water.

Drinking and drinking and drinking. I remember the taste of cool sparkling water, available by the jugful. We were at a house party, in a long rambling place that had a multitude of hallways and rambling staircases and strange hidden rooms. Trapped at this party, supplies were getting low, with no-one rationing what we had. Practically immediately we found that the huge bath filled with bottles was empty, the sparkling water had run out and the situation was getting dire.

Needless to say, when I woke up I was incredibly thirsty, and downed a pint exceptionally fast. Isn’t it interesting what our dreams will tell us?!