I found myself needing some sleeping pills recently. Just a short course of them to help me catch up a bit. One of the things about sleeping pills is that they stop you dreaming for some reason. So, I’ve been weaning myself off them. I’m still having broken nights but I get enough sleep to function during the day.

For me, getting to sleep is not the problem. It’s staying asleep. I might wake at 3 or 4am. Sometimes I won’t get back to sleep. Other times I doze or drift off after an hour or so. Now, off the pills, I dream very vivid dreams during that second period of sleep. Often unsettling and/or unpleasant ones.

Readers will be familiar with exam dreams. It’s the day of the exam and you find that you never managed to open any of the prescribed texts and you suffer significant anxiety as you enter the exam hall, turn over the paper and can’t answer any of the questions. Well, I have theatrical dreams. I arrive at opening night and I haven’t managed to open the script and learn my lines. My late mother is usually the director. Cue terror.

I had one last night. Because I’ve started recording my dreams in writing, I find now that I can recall quite a lot of their detail. Not sure that it helps, but it is interesting. In the dream I was clear on the title of the play but I didn’t manage to retain it. I had a significant part and much of it comprised dialogue between me and another character. I was confident at the start that I would be able to learn the lines and that the other actor would help me through bits I couldn’t remember. Suddenly it was the day of the performance. I was making my costume and, oddly, gluing the peak of my cap in place. Curtain up was 8pm and I looked at my watch. It was 7.45 and I wasn’t yet at the theatre. Next, I was in a corridor (there are a lot of corridors in my dreams) and I couldn’t find the right door to the dressing room. I had a growing sense of dread that, actually, not only had I not learned my lines but I hadn’t even opened the script. I knew my mother would go ballistic and that our performance would have to be cancelled and that I had let everybody down. I was panicking. I woke up, unsettled.

The previous night’s dream was set in an airport and I had forgotten to bring the boarding passes. The night before I was involved in an altercation in a doctor’s waiting room. Not really looking forward to tonight.

Anyway, yesterday, i took my spherical papier mache shape, turned it upside down and placed a cheap set of Flying Tiger fairy lights in it.

Then I painted it with some iridescent ink called Dragon Blood and here’s what it looked like.


Later I put the fairy lights on a mantlepiece. Nice effect, I think. €3 euro for the lights. Money well spent.

I had some ink left over so I painted a couple of teabags with it, and drew a mandala on one of them.

I’ve been working on a backlit cat. On slate. With a screwdriver. I quite like the idea of using whatever comes to hand to do art, although, sixteen or so months into this creativity thing, I have quite a collection of equipment. Anyway, it’s not my best work, but I quite like the idea.

Susie. Screwdriver on Slate. 2019

Here’s an envelope I did today with that masking gum I used before, and a watercolour wash.

Happy 60th Birthday to my step-brother Tim.

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