Not too long ago I wrote a post about the syndrome known as maladaptive daydreaming. Here is the post for anyone wondering what the term means or how it may or may not apply to me. https://chantelleatkins.com/?s=maladaptive+daydreamingThis week I read another post from my author friend Kate Rigby on the same subject (here is Kate’s blog post : https://authisticwords.blogspot.com/2023/01/maladaptive-daydreaming-in-adhd.html?fbclid=IwAR12MHls3umdJm2qokKK18fwwDhXID-iTxJGEUMACvoaLJWj21WGNArdND8 )and it got me thinking again about daydreaming, imagination, writing and real life and how these things weave together for writers in particular. I started thinking about the host of ‘memories’ I have in my head that may be true, distorted versions of truth or outright daydreams I made up. Some of the ‘memories’ I’m about to describe I have never told anyone about before. I’m not sure why but perhaps it was simply not knowing myself sometimes where truth and reality end and fiction and imagination take off! That aside, I think some of these might make good writing prompts, so here we go:
The lady in the road.
I’ve never told anyone about this but when I was a child I was sat in the back of our car and we were on a journey but I have no idea where we were going or how old I was. For that reason, I stipulate that I must have been younger than eight, because I have fairly decent memories of life after the age of eight. This is what I remember, or think I remember. We were in a traffic jam. It was not an area I recognise now. I think we were on a day out maybe. It was hot, so probably summer. I don’t recall who was driving, whether it was my mum, dad or even whether both of them were there. I don’t remember if any of my sibling were in the car. I looked out of the back window and saw a woman come running out of a path or an alley. In my head, she had long brown hair that was sort of wild and messy; she was wearing a nightdress or skimpy dress of some sort and she had bare feet. She was screaming. I thought my parents would notice or react but they didn’t. She ran towards the line of traffic and a man got out of his car and ran after her, back towards the path or alley. He left his car door open and his car in the traffic. The traffic then lurched forward and we drove away. I kept looking back wondering what was wrong with the woman and what happened next but for some reason I didn’t say anything to anyone in the car then, or after. I still think about it now but I have no way of knowing where or when this happened.
The boy on the ground.
This one is slightly clearer so perhaps I was a bit older. It was another summer, another day out and another car journey. I have a feeling we had been to the beach or were near a beach. I remember grassy edges to the sides of the road and a group of people milling around on a corner next to a fence. Perhaps they were waiting for a bus or to get picked up by someone in a car. What stood out to me though was the large angry, red-faced woman who had her foot on the head of a boy who was lying on the ground. I remember blinking to clear my vision. Was I seeing this right? What was going on? I remember wondering if he had been really naughty or had just fallen over. Again, it was such a strange and unsettling thing to see, I didn’t say anything to anyone else in the car, but I’ve thought about it again and again over the years, wondering if what I saw was as horrible as it looked.
The creatures in the undergrowth.
Okay, this is a recent one so the memory is clear but I am still not sure what I saw. Just before Christmas I was walking my dogs down the lane and over the little bridge that crosses the Moors river. As we came over the other side of the slope, the dogs all stopped and stared as there was a tremendous scuffling racket in the woods beyond the fence. At first I assumed it was pheasants running around as when they fight or panic they make a lot of noise in the undergrowth. The noise got closer and closer. The dogs were nervous and confused. Something was coming, but what? The trees on that side of the fence are dense and tall so we couldn’t see what was coming, but suddenly two or three creatures shot out under the fence, skidded in a panic and circled right back into the woods again. It all happened so fast that I did not get a clear look at them. They were definitely short, not the height of deer. They were reddish brown in colour. I didn’t see any tails, or certainly not the long bushy tail of a fox, for instance. They were so fast and so close together that I didn’t see heads or faces. My first thought was pigs of some sort but that doesn’t make much sense for the location. It’s quite near a busy main road so I don’t think wild pigs would be released here and there aren’t any farm pigs in this area. Perhaps they were dumped but I kept an eye on the local news, thinking if they were dumped pigs, someone else would see or hear them and report it. Nope. Nothing. They could have been a smaller breed of deer but I’ve never seen anything but red deer and roe deer in this area. I am still confused and the dogs were very spooked!
The scarecrow in the field
Not long after we moved here I was walking down the lane on a cold, frosty morning. There was low lying mist rolling across the fields and something caught my eye. I stood and stared and thought I could make out a scarecrow in the distance, close to some woods. It seemed weird because I’d never seen one there before, but it had that look to it. Arms out, rigid, stick-like body and what seemed to be grey rags fluttering on the breeze. I shrugged it off and kept walking. Only, the next time I looked back, it had gone…
The naked man on the common
This was a few years ago and I still question my vision that day! It was a hot day and I was watching my dogs run on the common, our favourite place. I saw a figure trundling slowly down a hill on the other side and it was not until I drew nearer that I realised it seemed to be a naked man. He was carrying a stick, he had a long beard and he scuttled away as soon as he realised he had been seen. Heading up the same hill moments later, he had completely vanished. I assume he was hiding in the heather somewhere but I’ll never know.
I’m sure I’ve got more but these are some of the somewhat clearer and stranger ones. After each sight, my imagination went into instant overdrive, making up a story and perhaps twisting what I had actually seen into something else. Do you have any foggy memories or sightings that confused you?