There was probably as much, if not more, talking than writing in this class, for what are writers if not dreamers?
We started out this class by going around the table and sharing some of our dreams. A lively discussion ensued over some of the particulars, and some of the common aspects to be found in dreams.
Maybe it was because we’re all writers, but I was a little surprise that there were a lot of common themes in our dreams. Our dreams also tended to be vivid and a little on the dark side. And of course we were given time to write down a dream to share. Here’s mine:
A pandemic virus was systematically wiping out mankind. Only those with a certain genetic marker would survive. I was in Toronto with my granddaughter where we were supposed to be able to get help – my daughter had stayed behind to look after her father and her husband.
There was rioting in the cities. Most of them were gone. I don’t know why Toronto, or at least the part of it we were in, was still accessible.
We were wandering the halls of a hospital – it was very crowded. I’m not sure how I knew, but I realized the nice people who appeared to be helping everyone, were actually separating those that appeared to have the genetic marker from those who didn’t.
There was an overly friendly woman – like one of those falsely, overly cheerful people who want you to join their cult. She wanted me to take my granddaughter to this compound. She assured me we’d be safe there, but I somehow knew they were gathering people for experimentation.
I pretended to be excited about the prospect, and persuaded her to let me go back for my daughter and other (non-existent) female members of my family. I guess they got credit or something for anyone they coerced into getting on one of the buses because she was more than happy to wait for me to bring the rest of my family.
It wasn’t easy to leave the city. Abandoned vehicles lined the streets and we had to avoid military like patrols who were searching for survivors to take to the compound. We weren’t the only ones who knew the compound was a bad place, we came across other healthy people who were also avoiding the patrols.
We made our way back home only to find the males of our family were dead – my husband and all of his family, and my daughter’s husband. We knew we weren’t safe where we were and decided to make our way to New Brunswick where my sister was. For some unknown reason, it was a safe haven.
After sharing the dreams we wrote down, we talked about methods for remembering dreams and ways dreams can aid in the writing process. Here are a few things we came up with:
Keep your story in mind as you fall asleep.
Use lucid dreaming techniques
“Sleeping on it” really can solve problems.
Set an alarm to wake yourself up during REM sleep.
Look for the elements in your dream that work – a theme or a feeling. You don’t have to use every part of your dream.
When you wake up, you have only a few seconds to remember your dream before it’s lost. If you leave the bedroom, “passing the threshold” as it were, you won’t remember. So stay on this side of the threshold.
Write down your dream while you’re still in bed.
Dream imagery can provide the weirdness that takes a story in a new direction.
Day dreaming can be used as a space for writing.
There is a lot of overlap between how to write and how to dream.
If you’d like to delve a little further into the subject of dreams and writing, here are a few links to check out:
How to Use Your Dreams to Inspire Your Fiction
Dream a Little Dream: Using Dreams in Literature
Deep Lucid Dreaming – wake up in your dreams for a happier, more creative life
Do You Dream In Paragraphs? Mine Your Dreams For Writing Ideas
Use Your Dreams to Be Endlessly Creative
Bartelomeo Cristofori dreamed ... and invented the piano.