Dreaming and Stories
I've been writing a lot (for me, anyway) this week. And I hit a snag. I knew exactly what needed to happen, I just couldn't figure out the where or the how. Just before I went to sleep last night, I got a nibble. Unfortunately I was beyond tired - been getting by with 3 or 4 hours of sleep and lots of caffeine the past several days. So, I made a note in the text & went to bed. And I dreamed the scene in its entirety. Though it's morning now and the dream's a little foggy, I had to laugh at the last little exclamation point my dreaming mind sent. In the dream, I was looking at a newspaper. Normally I can't read in dreams - usually a sure sign/signal that says "hey! you're dreaming!" If I'm lucky I don't wake up and the dream shifts into lucidity. Regardless - yeah, yeah, I'm rambling here - the vital info was the headline on the dream newspaper!
In many ways, the dreaming mind is the last great frontier. We still know so little about it. Why do we dream? - is it just an info dump to clear the brain's hard drive of the daily junk, a way of assimilating the vast amount of information gathered, or something else? I dunno and the scientific community hasn't reached consensus, either. What is clear is that, across cultures and epochs, dreaming has been ascribed a level of respect and interest that has at times included the belief in divine origination. Even the oldest known recorded story (Gilgamesh) focuses on a dream & the interpretation of that dream. Whether or not the dream actually happened is irrelevant. The fact that it was included in this ur text shows the power and respect given to dreams.
Okay, so flash forward. Dreaming in the modern world? Big deal, right? Nope, we don't really think dreams are moments of divine intervention any more - or most folks don't. So what's going on here? Lots of writers, scientists, musicians & artists have gotten inspiration, problems solved, & occasionally whole ideas from their dreams. Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein by a dream. Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde also came from a series of dreams. Stephen King has also cited dreams as inspiration for some of his story ideas. And there are tons of other examples ranging from sewing machines to physics that I won't go into. So, I say again, I got some info from a dream. Big deal. Except...it really is. My location problem been solved, and I've been reminded of something I've kinda neglected the past few years. And that's really, really awesome. Time to finish the story!