Brain Pickings Sparks Off A Whale of a Story

I have recurring nightmares about blue whales. In my dreams, they move slowly through the ocean where I’m swimming, huge and inexorable, and eventually I am swallowed up. There’s no escape.

I attribute this particular recurring dream to two things: The American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and Pinocchio, the 1940, animated Disney film.

I lived in America as a child, and vividly remember seeing the 94 foot-long blue whale model in the Natural History museum. The details have all disappeared through the years, but the awful, overwhelming terror caused by it hasn’t left.

I mean seriously LOOK at the damn thing:

The Blue Whale in the American Museum of Natural History
The Blue Whale in the American Museum of Natural History

Apparently you can even sleep underneath it, as in have a sleepover with your friends! A night at the museum! What fun! I can’t imagine anything more terrifyingly traumatic.

There’s also this thing.

The blue whale in Pinoccio that swallows him up
The blue whale in Pinocchio that swallows him up

Sourcing these images for this blog post is proving to be quite soothing. I would have thought it would be the opposite. But they’re just pictures. Pictures can’t hard you, right?*

Brain Pickings, Nightmares and Writing

You understand now why I have always been so interested in the science of sleep and the psychology of dreams. That’s why when I came across The Science of Dreams and Why We Have Nightmares in Brain Pickings, I clicked the link immediately and devoured its contents. I’m a big fan of Brain Pickings on any normal day, and this has even made it better.

There’s a section in the article where Maria Popova writes about Calvin Hall, a psychology professor at Case Western Reserve University, that I sparked off the idea for a story.

Hall introduced the world of dream interpretation to the world of data. He pored through his dream collection, bringing numbers and statistical rigour into a field that had been split into two extremes.

How marvellous! “Dream collection…”, “pored….”, “…two extremes…”, “…dreams…”, “…professor…”…

I shall write a story about this tonight, when I get home, and post it for you tomorrow.

If the fancy takes you, you should write one too! Or a poem! Then post it to your blog and link it here. I’d love to read your work.

Do you have nightmares? Do you even remember your dreams? What’s your opinion on blue whales?


*I think Brain Pickings has just cured me of my fear of whales. ps, I’m sorry for the cheesy title of this blog post, it was too good to pass up.

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