March 23, 2012

Dreamy Inspiration

Awake DriveSleep is restful and restorative, and dreams a source of inspiration. Or so it’s supposed to be. The past few nights my dreams have been so full of inspiration that I awoke feeling as if I’d worked all night, but refreshed and energetic in spite of having done so.

The first night I wrote an important email about nineteen times, so often that I began realizing I was really asleep and became concerned that my unperfected drafts may have inadvertently crossed the boundary into waking reality and premature delivery. At that point, I concentrated extra hard on remembering the precise wording as the only viable way of harvesting the results of my nocturnal efforts.

I admit that as soon as I got up, I checked the Sent folder on my computer to be sure nothing had permeated the membrane between parallel universes, and though I felt a little silly, I also felt relieved. Right away I dashed off a draft of that email. It slid easily through my fingers in near perfect form on the first try.

Then next night was equally busy. I began editing a story I had written several weeks ago. After a short period of fiddling with words, I turned my attention to basic structure and discovered that the story had significantly stronger impact if I rearranged the order of several scenes. Once again, I was aware that I was dreaming and made extra effort to store it in a folder on my “awake” drive.

In actual fact, I had not written the story I “edited” in the second dream, but it is one I’ve given considerable thought to – a process I refer to as “pre-writing.” I didn’t have time to write the entire story the next morning, but I did jot down notes about the structural insights I had and will take them into account when I do commit the story to paper in the near future.

I often have such dreams, and I’m not sure what to make of them. Some may see them as indications of obsession or stress, but they were not anxious dreams. I was fully absorbed in the writing process, finding it rewarding and satisfying.

Who knows? Perhaps when I’m writing in real time, for example this blog post, I’m actually living a dream. Now if I can just dream the perfect structure for that memoir I’m working on … maybe … just maybe … I can write that dream into print.

In the final analysis, this brings into question the whole matter of reality and truth. Which is real? Which is True? The dream story or the waking one? Memoirists and philosophers have wondered this since mankind first stood on two feet.

Write now: think about overlaps you’ve noticed between your dreams and waking situations. Have you solved problems in your dreams? Write about this. Write about situations you’d like to dream answers to or problems you’d like to solve. Some say it’s possible to program dreams this way. Give it a try, then write the story.

 

4 comments :

Sherrey said...

Sharon, I have yet to experience this overlap of dream state and reality, but have had dreams at the exact time that something was happening. Perhaps those should become stories written down too. I'd never thought about that. You see, those dreams stick with me because the results weren't always the best. Sometimes traumatic and painful. Thanks for pricking my brain this morning!

Sharon Lippincott said...

Dreams are splendid enhancements for lifestories and memoirs. Definitely write down the ones that stand out. I'm curious though, how you know that you dreamed of something at the exact time it was happening... Did you look at the clock in your dream? LOL!

Jennifer Hazard said...

I can't tell you how often I wake in the morning with amazing thoughts, thoughts that beg to be written, flowing through my mind. I also jot down notes, in hopes of not losing that gift from dreamland. I sometimes wonder if I do my best "writing" while asleep. It would make sense I suppose, as all the daily distractions are not present!
Jenny

Sharon Lippincott said...

Jenny, those notes make rich reading after a few years, sooner if you need a writing prompt. Good for you, writing them down in at least kernel form.

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