Flea Diddy


The other night I had a dream in which my husband, Jason, brought home a dog and we named him Flea Diddy. I told him about the dream when I woke up and we both laughed. I thought it was so randomly funny that I told a few friends in conversation and I even posted it on Facebook and a friend replied, “You dream in humor, nice.”

It was rather nice. Not all of them are. I have my fair share of nightmares but usually I’m quite fond of my dreams. They are such a wonderful part of life. Don’t you agree? In a completely relaxed state, we get to visualize ourselves being and doing and achieving all sorts of magnificent things.

Sometimes, my dreams are funny.  This time, yes. I laughed a long time over Flea Diddy. Awake, I even came up with a name for his kitty sidekick: Fluff Daddy.

But, like I said, I have a variety of different types of dreams…

Happy. Sad. Occasionally scary (especially if I eat pepperoni). Hyper.Playful. Exciting. Romantic. Sexy. Sexier. Pornographic. Weird. Supernatural. Fun. Futuristic. Adventurous. Childish. Black and white and/or color, depending on the genre. Just me or featuring friends, family, strangers—sometimes with feet and sometimes without. Vivid. Interesting. Musical. Informative. Inexplicable. Random. Not so random. Memories. De ja vue. Even predictive.

I believe dreams are a connection to our subconscious. At times, my subconscious can be pretty intense. It would have to be with so much fact and fiction being simultaneously digested in there. Awake, I can tell the difference between reality and one of my novels but I’m not sure my dreams can separate the two. So whether it’s real or make believe, if it’s floating round in my brain somewhere, chances are I have or I’m going to eventually dream about it.

I’ve even learned to use my dreams to help my writing. When I get writer’s block, I’ll often opt to take a nap to break through it. Usually this works. I have had numerous literary revelations while zonked out and slobbering on my pillow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up in the middle of the night ready to write with enough detailed inspiration that I was able to do so for hours. I have instantaneously gone from a sound sleep in the dead of night to wide awake and was still typing away while watching the sun rise.

One bad part is that I talk in my sleep so even if I don’t remember a particular dream when I wake up, chances are my husband will. He can tell you stories! He has a few favorites—one about a “cantaloupe juggling machine,” for example. I have some pretty interesting, and at times crazy, dreams. Don’t we all? This has been going on for as long as I can remember. My college roommate has a few choice selections of her own that she would be happy to share. I’m sure my mom probably does, too.

Since I usually remember my dreams even without assistance, I try to get the most out of them as possible. I definitely refer to ideas from dreams in my writing and even in everyday conversation. I love talking about dreams, mine and yours, and especially the really juicy ones!  I’ve made it a point to write mine down whenever possible or jot notes here and there so that I don’t forget the really good ones.

Over time, my dreams have become clearer and crisper and, to me, more interesting and useful. I’ve even subscribed to a few dream sequels and a dream series or two. To get myself to continue a really good dream, I just focus on whatever it is I want to dream about while in bed and when I start to drift away, I visualize and try to control the topic. It’s like sleepy time meditation or setting my dream DVR.

While I can’t always control my dreams or my inspiration for my dreams, I can control what I do with them. I believe dreams are a special gift we all have been given to use however we wish. We can use them to dive deeper into our own minds and learn more about ourselves or we can use them for entertainment purposes only. Personally, I like to do a little of both.

I’m not sure if Flea Diddy, the dog of my dreams, will work his way into one of my stories. But it was certainly nice dreaming about him and analyzing what he and the rest of my dreams mean to me.

“L” is for Lyla


Every time we pass a big yellow school bus on the street, my 2-yr-old daughter, Lyla, gets thrilled and says, “Mommy, look a schoo bus!” Sometimes she even waves to it and says “hi, schoo bus!” or “bye, schoo bus!” She leaves off the “L” at the end and, to me, that makes it even cuter.

Lyla is my inspiration for going back to school to get my MFA in Creative Writing.

I want her to believe me when I tell her again and again that she can do whatever she sets her mind to and she can become anything she wants to be. That’s what my mom used to tell me. In fact, she still tells me that and I still have no reason to doubt her. So I will teach Lyla the same. I want her to be confident and proud of herself and of her talents, skills and achievements. I want her to understand that no challenge is too big when commitment and hard work are involved. I will tell her that when all else fails, it’s OK to try harder or to try something else. But never stop trying! And most importantly, never stop believing in yourself. We are only limited by our desire to dream and our willingness to believe in ourselves.

She is looking forward to someday being big enough to ride together with the other kids on the schoo bus to the big kids’ schoo where I’m sure she’ll probably learn all about that missing “L.” I’ve been warned that I might cry when that day comes. Maybe so but for now, I plan to simply cherish my time with her as I try my best to teach her whatever I can and help her learn and grow and believe in herself.

To do that effectively, I must continue to learn and grow and believe in myself, too.

So I’m back in schoo.

And even though I don’t get to ride the wondrous yellow bus, I couldn’t be more excited about the journey. So far I’m absolutely loving every second of it.

From time to time, I plan to post some of my projects here on the blog. That way we can share the experience and you can let me know your thoughts on how I’m doing! You can even grade me if you like. Now doesn’t that sound fun?


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Valerie Zane

Today, we celebrate two groups of people: Those who prank and those who get pranked!

Admittedly, I have fallen into both categories. Here’s my advice…

  • If you don’t want to get pranked, this may be a good time to cash in a vacation or sick day. There’s no shame in hiding. I’ve done it.
  • Even if you love a good prank, keep your guard up. You may have planned the best prank ever, but it might not matter if they get you first.
  • Try not to hurt anyone. Before you go yanking a chair out from under someone or wiping out the back of a knee, please be sure they aren’t suffering from a previous injury or disability. You don’t want to cause permanent physical damage, and you will look like the biggest A-hole on the planet when you find yourself being sued or serving prison time for a poorly…

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