Dreams Like Spider Webs

Spider web seen through an opening in leaves of surrounding trees

Dreams are like spider webs peeking out from the depths of summer woods (photo by me)


A Little Flutter for BLISS HOUSE– Read this part first, and today, okay?

Amazon bestsellers Kindle ranking for the novel Bliss House by Laura Benedict




For the past few days, BLISS HOUSE, the first book in my haunted house gothic series, has been free on Kindle. I’m over the moon that nearly 2000 new readers have downloaded it! Seriously, I’m ridiculously excited. CHARLOTTE’S STORY and THE ABANDONED HEART have hundreds of new readers as well–they are available for .99. I wanted to make it easy for anyone to own all three books in the series, and I think that $1.98 is pretty good. The free/.99 book deal is only good until 11:59 tonight, Monday, July 11th. Whew. Okay. Thank you!!!! I hope you’ll download BLISS HOUSE right away if you don’t have it–I don’t want you to miss out. (It made it all the way to #89 in the free Kindle store. How cool is that? Oh, and the books are also available through most of September to KU readers, too.)


I woke without an alarm this morning, beyond parched, my body lethargic and spent as though I had crawled out of a deep, deep hole. In my dreams, I’d been trapped in a city and couldn’t get home. The taxi I was in was having a difficult time getting out of stalled city traffic and onto the highway, so I decided to get out and walk. (This decision was so like the non-dream Laura. I’m often impatient and occasionally act without thinking too far ahead. Hello, ADHD.) The sidewalks were packed with people trying to leave the city, and I could see the top of the bridge I needed to cross to get home in the distance.

There were many people, and many streets to get through before I could get to the bridge. As I walked, I acquired things from various buildings and stores: bags, clothing, a beverage. The air was hot and polluted. I took a side street into a neighborhood I knew would be hard to navigate, but which would get me to the bridge more quickly. First, I had to pass through the lobby of a vast hotel that features in many of my dreams: it’s decorated in dark greens and gold fixtures; the elevators are large and extremely hard to work–there’s jumping and other ridiculous things involved–and don’t even get me started on getting to the correct floor! Fortunately I didn’t have to go anywhere in the hotel in this dream, but only pass through to another street. Before I got out the door, I struggled to answer phone calls from my husband and parents. When I tried to return the calls, the phone kept misdialing. As I left the building, I heard an announcement saying that the guests of “the princess and the sheik’s wedding” should proceed to the next activity. (Where did that come from?)

I found the neighborhood I needed. It was labyrinthine in the worst way. There were few entrances into the buildings on the street, and once you went in a door, you couldn’t get out again without making your way through all the shops. The shops were dark and Dickensian (though solidly built and not necessarily grubby). Like the Winchester House, there were stairways that went nowhere, large rooms that seemed to have no purpose–though many were heavily decorated. Colors were rich, but muted. So much burnished wood, everywhere.

I can’t remember all of the challenges, but the worst was a kind of slick wooden shaft/duct that I had to climb. I had to leave everything I was carrying at the bottom, and crawl my way to the opening at the top, which was about twenty feet above. A square of blue sky and clouds. It was a hot and painful climb, and when I reached the top, I found gritty, black rooftops. A few people milled about, and the roofs were uneven. I was devastated that climbing out of the shaft would mean I’d be at further risk trying to get down from them to continue my journey. I didn’t have to think long before I crept down backwards to find another way.

Pierrot with a White Pipe by Georges Seurat

I made my way to a rather junky shop filled mostly with tat and odd works of art. I didn’t need one more thing to add to what I was carrying, but I chose something anyway because the man behind the counter said I would only be shown the way out of the neighborhood if I bought something. He took a small painting off the wall for me. It was an abstract oil of orange and yellow with black lines. I didn’t think much of it, but then he turned it 90 degrees, and it became a completely different image. Rather like magic. Three images in all. The second was a complicated line drawing of pierrot clowns, the third, a group of well-dressed ladies lunching. I bargained for the painting, paying $250 rather than $300. The man wrapped it in pink felt and put it atop my teetering pile.

As I started out of the store, another man said, “You’ll never make it through the streets carrying all those things.” I smiled at him, knowing he was right, but also knowing I was going do it anyway. Outside, I hit the heat and started walking toward the bridge. As my burdens began to slip off of the pile, I woke up.

I love the magic and the symbols in this dream. And even though there were no spiders in this particular dream, the web (photo above) I spotted in the woods of our ravine this afternoon reminds me how our dreams let us peek inside ourselves. The meaning feels very obvious to me–that I need to let go of every unnecessary burden if I’m going to find my way home to myself. Are your dreams similarly symbolic, yet prosaic? I always wonder what it is like in others’ dreams.


Farewell, dearest Patry 💔

Our community of writers got a little smaller, and a lot sadder this past week. Patry Francis was both a poet and novelist, but most of all one of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever known. There was a light about Patry that I’ve seen in very few people in my life. To know her was to see joy in action. She spread love and light and joy wherever she went. That’s not to say that she was pollyanna at all–she had a wicked sense of humor, and didn’t suffer fools except to bless them and let them go their own way. She left many children and grandchildren, and a husband behind, and I can only imagine their grief.

On Patry’s Goodreads author page, I found that she liked this Marilyn Robinson quote:

 “Weary or bitter of bewildered as we may be, God is faithful. He lets us wander so we will know what it means to come home.”
–Marilynne Robinson

Patry’s obituary is here. If you want to know her through her writing, here is her Goodreads page. Farewell, dearest Patry. How wonderful that you are now home with God in the place of ultimate joy, smiling your beautiful smile.

I cannot find the group photos Patry was in from the last Thrillerfest she and I both attended. I found this beautiful photo on the Bay State Reader’s Advisory blog, and I hope that Laurie C doesn’t mind my using it. It’s classic Patry.

Writer Patry Francis seated and signing her novel Orphans of Race Point

Patry, signing her 2nd novel, Orphans of Race Point

6 thoughts on “Dreams Like Spider Webs”

  1. Except when my late father visited me in a dream (seriously, he did), my dreams tend to be like worry beads, snippets of life stressors that I roll about in my sleeping mind until they aren’t so scary anymore.

    Whoa 2000 new readers? Cool!

    Sorry to hear about Patry. May she rest in peace.

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      That’s a lovely, poetic description of how your dreams work, Priscilla. Our minds are miraculous.
      I hope you father’s dream visit was reassuring to you. I dreamed about my late mother last night, and was so happy to see her laughing and smiling. It was only the second time I’ve dreamed about her since she died in August.

  2. J.T. Ellison says:

    What an astounding dream! Lots of symbolism but also some story ideas….

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      Yes! It’s all good story fodder. Dreams are like the best brainstorming sessions. 😉

  3. Laurie C says:

    Thank you for sharing this sad news, and for sharing the photo. Patry was so gracious the few times we met in person, and so humble about her books and her talent for writing.

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      You describe her so well, Laurie. So gracious, so humble.

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