Well, I had an interesting experience the other day.
I’ve been sort of lazy (well … more so, anyway) lately, and sometimes I take a nap during the day. I make sure to get all my responsible adult things done first, but now and again, I lay my head down to “think” and I end up drifting off to sleep. More often than this, however, I end up going into a hypnagogic state and sort of have dreams which intermingle with reality. It’s weird.
When I read my first book (and only book, if I’m honest) about self-editing, one of the tricks the author listed as a way for coming up with ideas for novels and stories was to enter hypnagogia. In that strange realm between sleep and waking, there’s a lot of creative energy and ideas. He says he does it on a regular basis. On the surface, it sounds like a great idea.
My reality, though, involves my beloved children who need my attention sometimes, and no isolated space to write. Not a problem, generally; when I hit my creative stride and start writing, nothing can derail my creative freight train. But forming ideas hasn’t been easy lately … lately meaning something like six months or so. I’ve not had a good idea for a story in quite a while, and sometimes I worry I’m not a “real writer” because I’m not drowning in ideas, characters and plot twists dying to get out.
So, back to napping. The other day – might’ve been Wednesday or Thursday – I laid down and just sort of stared at the walls and ceiling until I felt myself drifting off, and something profound happened.
I had a dream. And I don’t know whether I hit full REM sleep or not, but when I came around later, I remembered almost every detail, almost everything. I was so excited I jumped up and found my wife and told her everything. Today, I can still remember the scenes I had. They seemed two separate vignettes, but perhaps part of the same larger story. When I explained it to her, my beloved told me to hurry up and write it before I forget anything.
But I found I don’t have to. I can remember it clearly. If I just opened a word processor, I could get it all down and not miss anything.
Under normal circumstances, I don’t remember anything at all about my dreams. Other times, I remember tiny snippets of them, but lose most of the detail. This time, however, I remember almost all of it, including the sights, smells, tastes, temperature, sounds … everything.
I’m not sure what this will bring, but I’m sort of interested in trying it again, just to see if I can repeat the experience. If so, maybe I’ll find I’m not as out of ideas as I feel most other days.
How much do your dreams influence you? Are you someone who can use your dreams as creative material? Solve problems in your dreams? Use your subconscious mind as another tool in your daily life, your hobbies, your work, your creative endeavors? Are you someone who can recall your dreams well, or do you lose them to the ether on waking as I do?
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