Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dream Weaver

By Mark W. Danielson

Dreams are Utopian in nature. Here, everyone plays on a level field. The blind see, the physically challenged run, dogs catch their mailman, and pigs fly. This is the surreal dimension that lies between our conscious and unconscious realms. It’s where the brain is free from our behavioral boundaries. A place of creativity. I cannot explain why people dream, or why so few of our dreams are remembered. All I know is they happen.

Psychologists love to analyze our dreams, giving their interpretation of reason to our every unreasonable thought. Others believe our dreams can predict future events. Still others believe that dreams provide a link between the living and the dead. Again, I am no authority, but from my experience, whenever I have the presence of mind to jot down a word or two about my dream, I will nearly always remember it in vivid detail. My simple note becomes a direct link to that thought, whatever it may be, and from it, I can write about it.

Gary Wright’s song “Dream Weaver” offers yet another perspective on dreams. The song begins, “I just closed my eyes again. Climbed aboard the dream weaver train. Driver take away my worries of today. And leave tomorrow behind . . .” This song’s take on dreams is escapism, and for some this may be the case, but I prefer looking at dreams as an opportunity to get in touch with my subconscious. Whenever I write, I allow these subconscious thoughts to flow through my keyboard, bringing my characters and events to life. It’s an amazing process, if you think about it. But thinking can stifle that connection, so I simply let loose and see what happens. The result is piles of connected words and thoughts that ultimately become a story.

The joy in writing is allowing my brain the freedom to roam. I never worry about first drafts because I don’t want to deprive my characters of anything. In my current murder mystery, I was three quarters of the way through my first draft before I discovered who the assailant was. Suspense translates better that way. After all, if I’m not surprised, the reader won’t be either.

Last week, I wrote about sleep deprivation and Beth Terrell wrote about dreams. To me, “In your dreams” is more of an opportunity than a phrase. I find I dream more when I’m away than when I’m at home. I am probably a light sleeper because my mind never shuts down, but when it does and offers me some interesting clips, I watch, listen, and allow myself to be inspired.
The above photo is of a Vision Seeker’s Dream Catcher from Peaceful Path’s Native American Crafts. In Native American legend, bad dreams become entangled within the web-like patterns of the loop and perish at the first light of dawn, whereas good dreams and thoughts pass through to the sleeper below. Perhaps I would sleep better if I packed one of these in my suitcase . . .


Beth Terrell said...

The dreamcatcher is a wonderful invention. Sometimes I think I have one in my brain. I began to suspect it when I had a dream about zombies. It started out like a horror movie, but about halfway through, some of the zombies began to show altruistic tendencies, and by the end, humans and zombies were living in harmony in a musical montage. It was like my brain said, "Oh, no. This is getting too scary. Let's do THIS instead."

I wrote about that one in the dream journal on my website.

Great post, Mark.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Beth, I think your dream journal is a great idea. Thankfully, our dreams can only last as long as our brains let us. The down side is we sometimes have enough will power to spur recurring dreams.