Inner gremlin bites hand that feeds it

March 13, 2010 at 10:28 am | In just_so, writing | 5 Comments

A while before waking I half-woke from a dream that ended in a scary bit. (Hm, “bit,” interesting word choice that’s a meaningful slip …more in a bit.) I was supposed to meet with someone who represented an opportunity, I lived in an apartment, there was a lobby, I was higher up (hm again, “higher up,” interesting…), I needed a bath first, however, and deputized (if you will) the family to entertain the person I was going to meet until I was done with my ablutions. (Ablution is a fancy word for ritual cleansing with water, in case you didn’t know. The word seems apt.)

My deputies screwed up and let the person I was supposed to meet interrupt my …ablutions, which caused a minor crisis I had to straighten out. While I had my back turned to the bath (which I intended to tidy up), a very small person-like thing hopped in (think “toad,” like those ugly toads who are magical beings in fairy tales) and jumped over the tub’s rim right into what remained of the bath water.

“Oy, you can’t do that,” I wanted to shout like some caricature of a British bobby in a Monty Python sketch. But the toad-sized thing had done that, and furthermore it had hunched itself over nearly into a ball so that only the small of its back and shoulders were visible, and had begun drinking the water. My water! My bath water! Absurdly, this brought out my maternal instinct (such as it is): don’t want little creatures drinking gray water, right?

So I reached in to pick it up, and upon turning it over saw its extremely toothy, gnarled little face – just before it bit my hand, hard, taking out a huge chunk.

Naturally, this woke me up enough to alert me that it was a dumb dream, and I went back to sleep. No further mayhem  [bodily harm] ensued in the dream, but plenty of bedlam [craziness], which all had to do with trying to get somewhere and not succeeding.

Before I started writing this out just now, I looked at my Twitter stream and saw a response to a resigned-sounding tweet I posted last night around 1 a.m. (“I’m not too happy w/ myself. Failed to meet self-imposed deadline, probably missed possibly real deadline, too. Also let exercise slip. Zip.”) The response was from Eric Porcher (photographer and more), who suggested “you’re doing just fine,” which was a very fine thing to say (thank-you Eric!).

Funny thing is, it wasn’t until I wrote my response back – “Thx Eric – must be my damn inner gremlin getting the upper hand!” – that my uncomfortable dream from a few hours earlier really made sense.



Talk about inscribing into the (dream) body what’s going on in your head. Getting the upper hand by biting it is pretty damn harsh.

I clearly need to stop feeding this toad, but will I figure out how?


  1. Well, you did a great (and very entertaining) job of describing, analyzing, and solving the dream’s riddle. The funny thing is that the gremlin of your dreams looks remarkably like the actual picture I drew when I was asked to sketch my inner critic that is keeping from writing these days. Mine, to had extremely long and sharp teeth, all the better to bite and cut the mean words, like “huh, you call that writing”?

    Comment by maria — March 13, 2010 #

  2. Ah, that gremlin gets around, doesn’t it? Another thing that’s funny (?) is how long-standing its control is. My blog’s tag-line (which is now no longer visible, but used to be visible years ago before switching to WordPress and the current theme, and which I can still see in my admin pages) is “I am a mongrel – O ma! A gremlin…”
    It’s a clever (?) palindrome, inspired by the fact that I am a mongrel. Funny, though, that “o ma! a gremlin” should be what it reveals to me when I rearrange the letters. Hm, methinks I need a redesign (of the head!). 😉

    Comment by Yule — March 13, 2010 #

  3. So glad to help, with my profound comments, Yule! :-0

    So far today:

    My 18-yr-old son enquired as to whether I thought people are generally inclined toward good or bad deeds.

    My beloved revealed that astrology advises that we are a very good couple.

    At a photography seminar today, the man beside me described his love for photographing small (gremlin-like) creatures up-close in the Amazon at night.

    And now what you wrote.

    I’m hoping to assemble something from these, the way we assembled tacos at dinnertime. Looking like I might have to rely on a taco-seasoning-induced dream…


    Comment by Eric Porcher — March 13, 2010 #

  4. well, yule, we’re clearly connected today. you visit my blog where i have a story born out of jet-lagged half-sleep, i move over to your blog and read a story about one of your dreams, and now let’s go over to my blog again, with one of my posts about gremlins: tag!

    Comment by isabella mori — March 15, 2010 #

  5. Tag right back at you, Isabella – what an interesting post about “the pleasant person’s act”! I’m intrigued enough by the underlying ideas to place a library hold on Robert C. Carson’s Taming Your Gremlin book. (Will let you know how it works out for me!)

    Comment by Yule — March 15, 2010 #

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