Dream Weaving

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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9 thoughts on “Dream Weaving

  1. My dreams disgust me. I never dream of things I want to dream about. I mean seriously, why can’t I dream about nekkid ladies?

    I never dream those either. 😦 Even when I was a teenager full of hormones and angst, I never had a wet dream. *Sigh* Oh well. I’ve made up for it in real life. 😉

  2. Most of my good ideas come from dreams, but usually good ol’ REM dreams rather than hypnogogic, which seems to be my problem-solving state. A dream sparked Ea’s Gift, though the scene I dreamed about didn’t make it into the book. Black Veil Angel also came from a dream, but it stewed for 5 years before I finally wrote it down. I have some other dreams stewing as we speak. I love dreams.

    Who doesn’t love dreams, right? I mean, c’mon — DREAMS. 😉

    And coolio about your maybe wanting to write someday soon…possibly? Don’t try to force it, babe. Let it take its own sweet time.

    I know. In some ways it feels like we’re talking about constipation or something. “Let it come on it’s own … take it easy ….” I wondered if I should write just the vignettes? They were sort of cool, Fal thought. And I thought. But they’d be short ones, without a story context. Hm. Anyway, thanks sweetie. It’s nice to have someone like you in my corner. 🙂

  3. I do some of my best work right before I fall asleep, but it’s more technical than creative stuff…fixing problems, finding answers. It also applies more to my crafty stuff than my writing.

    I do dream creative stories, but when I wake up I tell myself it’s dumb or it’s already been done. I had a sci-fi one the other night and it’s still stumbling around in my brain, but I keep shoving it aside because before long it turns into “Aeon Flux” meets “The Long Kiss Goodnight”. We know how well *those* turned out.

    Well, if it’s being so persistent, maybe you could at least write a synopsis for it. That might help you identify some of the story problems and figure a way around them. And I have to confess — I never saw either of those movies. Heh.

  4. I have found that attempting to weave dreams into my daily life can be helpful on many fronts. Sometimes it is in outline for a story, other times it is whisps of ideas that make it into my poetry, I have also dreamt a color pallette for a painting, some patterns for knitting – so the creative aspects of my self are definetly fed by dreams. Emotionally I have worked through upcoming confrontations or challenges, while other times I get a quick reflection on what has been good in my life and what I might consider changing. The trick for me is to remember to actively reap the benefits. My most effective way to do this is to remind myself as I fall asleep that this is a piece of myself I want to recall. Oh, paper and pen by the bed helps too!

    My wife is a big advocate of the pen-and-paper-at-bedside philosophy too. Problem is, my eyesight is so bad I can’t see well enough to write anything down on immediately waking. Thanks for coming by and sharing, Jaymie! Glad you stopped in!

  5. I preread this so…so I knew I had to block about an hour to READ IT first..without a nap or a snack. Its funny cause when I was going through all my medical stuff my dreams were serene and relaxing (I THINK) Now I get back to normal and i dream of dragons and 20 ft cats. I believe dreams can tell you about your current state of mind and place in your life…don’t know….enjoyable post though…Zman sends….hope all is well and things are going well for you.

    Thanks, Zman. Things are going along as they have been, good or bad; we hope things are all well for you too. 🙂

  6. I love that state just before falling asleep. I composed a symphony one time… if only I could have remembered it!

    That’s my Achilles’ Heel, too!

    I go through phases where I recall more of my dreams. They have been very influential in my life. But sometimes they’re just really weird. Like on Saturday night: I dreamed I knew a small, white, fluffy dog called Edie. Some people were being mean to her. They hung her up on a hook on the wall by her collar, and changed the outgoing message on her cell phone to something stupid. I felt sad. Then I woke up and thought: dogs don’t have cell phones. How do I come up with these ideas??!

    That’s pretty awesome. A dog with a cell phone? Now THAT’D be an interesting calling plan. 🙂

  7. I remember dreams, but I don’t use them. Maybe I do in a round about sort of way. Certain images that happen often in my dream also appear in my writing…

    Good luck with your writing.

    Thank you so much. I’m going to need it.

  8. What a great topic! I wish I could stay in that hypnagogic place for a while, but when I finally do decide to go to bed (I never nap) I fall asleep almost instantly from sheer exhaustion.

    I can relate to that in many ways. I mean, when laziness doesn’t stupefy me.

    I usually fare much better when I am waking up–this is when that crossover state often leads to creativity for me. If I’m lucky I get to the journal to write down my ideas. If I happen to remember a dream, it’s usually more of the emotion that I remember rather than the events, if that makes sense. The problem is that it is hard to capture emotions in words quickly, so even though I may try to capture the feeling in my journal, I can’t always recapture the same emotion. I’m rambling now so I’ll stop. 🙂

    I do know what you mean, and I have to agree — coming out of sleep is sometimes a much more gradual process than getting there. Maybe if I stop reading at night before sleep I’ll find more of it, but generally, when I hit the rack, sleep isn’t long coming. I should try and pay more attention to those impressions coming out of the maw of Morpheus rather than trying to catch them going in. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  9. I have had a few stories come right from dreams… PARTHENOGENESIS is a good example of this;


    I’ll check that out, Al, thanks.

    But a lot of my stories are the result of me stewing over ideas for months and years. Sometimes a scene or even the ending for a tale will pop into my head and then I will have to get to work and try to fashion a story around it. At other times I just get a “What if’ kind of idea.

    I don’t get “What If” ideas very often. Hm. Still leaves me wondering whether something’s wrong with me. I just don’t seem to be like other writers.

    A lot of my dreams are sometimes of too personal a nature for me to make anything useful from them- they are full of symbols and half memories that sometimes even I am hard pressed to make sense of.

    I’m afraid my dreams don’t make very good fodder either. Most times when I remember them, they’re pretty mundane.

    Then of course there is the dream where I’m mud wrestling with Mo’nique and Camryn Manheim but that dream is just for me…

    Yeah … yeah, let’s leave that alone.

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