Love Bill and Sheila xx
My song today is ‘Talking in Your Sleep’. This is a song written by Roger Cook and Bobby Wood. It was recorded by American country music artist Crystal Gayle. It was released in January 1978 as the first single from the album ‘When I Dream’. The song became a hit on both the country and pop charts in 1978. It peaked at Number 1 on the ‘US Country Chart’, Number 18 on the ‘US Pop’ chart and Number 3 at the ‘US Adult Contemporary’ chart.
In 1977, Crystal Gayle achieved international crossover Pop success for the first time with her Number 1 hit ‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’. Following the song's success, Gayle was recording more Pop and Adult Contemporary-styled Country tunes. This song is one of the first examples of this. ‘Talking in Your Sleep’ was released in early 1978 and was a hit during mid-year. The song proved an instant follow-up for Gayle on the Pop charts, being she hadn't had another ‘Top 40 Pop Hit’ since ‘Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’ the previous year.
All my life since boyhood, I have been able to recall my nightly dreams which are always vivid. Sometimes my dreams are of fictional events and people that my mind has conjured up in my wildest of imaginations. Often they concern real people in my present and past life who are jumbled up in a kaleidoscopic jigsaw puzzle that cannot be filled in and worked out beyond the edges, and occasionally my dreams will picture me with a person whom I haven’t seen for decades, doing unmentionable things we never did, in places I’d never normally consider entering!
I don’t seem to be the type who has nightmares that wake me up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, though I was prone during my teenage years to experiencing the reverse. I can never figure out if it is the romantic within me, the writer or the devil in me that makes my Catholic mind imagine such forbidden fruit in such inviting places?
When I was a boy, I would often see a Cowboy and Indian film and find myself dreaming about it that night, often with nightmarish consequences. It might be 2:00 am when I would wake up the household in a blood-curdling piercing scream. Mum would naturally check me out and say, “What’s up, Billy? What’s up?” Once I’d realised that I’d been having a bad dream, I’d say, “Don’t worry, Mum. It’s nobody to worry about; just the Apaches!” Some darn Apache camp sentry had seen me sneak into their camp during the dead of night to rescue the beautiful captive tied to the stake, and as I tried to free the fair damsel, the Apache had loaded his bow and fired his arrow at me, hitting its bull’s eye target and penetrating through my throat!
When I entered my teenage years and put away with my toys and started to play around with the girls and young women instead, my dreams naturally changed almost as often as I needed to change my pajama bottoms and bedsheets.
Between my first marriage in 1968 and 1986, my dreams tended to be of my family members, particularly my mother whom I greatly missed from my life when she died aged 64 years in 1986. From 1990 onwards when I became a published author, I would literally spend all my spare time thinking about the plot of the stories I was in the process of writing all day long, whatever else I happened to be doing. My 64 published books between 1990 and 2016 always kept my imagination working overtime, whether I was awake or asleep.
I met my wife Sheila in 2010 and suddenly I found myself dreaming romantic and sexually explicit dreams all over again in my late sixties. This time, however, my dream did not stop when I woke up; I just kept dreaming about Sheila all day long, and I’ve never stopped dreaming of her ever since.
I have always (perhaps ‘always’ should more accurately read ‘nearly always’) been above board with all the women in my life. I long ago stopped having secrets and stopped concerning myself about uttering the name of another woman in my sleep. Were I to speak another’s name these nights in my sleep and my wife Sheila overheard, it would probably be some fictional character in a story that I was writing about.
However, I have frequently thought about the danger of ‘speaking in one’s sleep’. I recall one man I worked with when I was a Probation Officer in Batley. He was the father of four children under twelve and had been married for 13 years. Ever since the birth of his second child (four years into his marriage), he had been having an affair with another woman from Birkenshaw, near Bradford. His mistress was a divorcee and her marriage had ended one year before she met and started her affair with my client (nine years earlier).
Conversations with my client revealed that he did not feel able to be truthful with his wife and come clean about his 9-year affair and break all contact with his mistress. The marriage of his mistress was dead and buried before she first met my client and they had started an affair. The stated reason for the ending of her marriage was her inability to have children because of some medical condition she didn’t learn of until after her marriage. Ironically, that which had proved a problem in her own marriage (not being able to conceive children) became more of a sexual inducement and convenience to my client in his affair with her.
My client told me that he loved his wife and family and never once had he the slightest intention of separating from them, but added that after a difficult birth with their third and fourth children, regular sexual contact with his wife gradually petered out to zero. Their relationship became diminished to the extent that the only occasions they’d reportedly had sex were during holidays, Christmases and birthdays! At the time he was telling me this, I simply thought “Tell me about it, pal! Join the club!” I will never forget him telling me that the mere fact that he knew his mistress was unable to conceive a child made their affair as safe and as pleasurable as it could be. He said that if his wife ever found out about his lengthy affair that she’d take their children and instantly leave him.
But like all red-blooded men ‘who had a bit of spare on the side’, he was most reluctant to give up his ‘guilty pleasure’. He wanted to have his cake and eat it! Hence, continuing his affair with a woman who could not conceive a child provided him with the type of ‘damage limitation’ that minimised the risk of his wife never finding out about his infidelity.
One occasion when we were discussing what he feared the most, he indicated that his greatest fear was ‘talking in his sleep and calling out the name of his mistress’. It appeared that he could live carrying the secret of his clandestine relationship with his mistress, but not with the fear of its disclosure; especially whenever talking in his sleep.
Do you talk in your sleep? If you do, could you be likely to drop a name or two that might prove interesting and disconcerting to your ‘pillow pal’ who heard you speak the name, and embarrassing to you the following morning? Perhaps the secret you’ve been trying to keep secret from your partner since you first met, stopped being a secret long ago and you never knew?
Perhaps it stopped being a secret twenty years earlier when your bedpartner first heard you ‘talking in your sleep’, but was too much of a ‘lady’ or ‘gentleman’ ever to have raised the matter with you?
Love and peace Bill xxx