If I don’t dream I cannot write. All that is me, from page to skin, that is the best, the worst, the ludicrous and irrational, the patient and accepting, the being that has the ability to form her own creative truth, lives inside dreams. I have known this from an early age and I simply accepted that was where all stories, the entire self, were stored: we just have to be vulnerable in sleep to find it all. We have to be open to what could happen.
But as I got older I realised not everyone thinks this way and often when I would talk about my dreams, some so real and alive I knew they must exist in a future day, I’d watch the other person’s reaction, watch them process thoughts from ‘You’re crazy’ to ‘Blah blah blah blah.’ So you learn to keep these things to yourself, secretly search for others like you (and no I am not declaring myself as psychic. Go away)
See What I Have Done came to me in a dream. My novel-in-progress, Blue Mountain, came to me in a dream. I have caught glimpses of future books (though still unformed – they require more life experience and further sleep) and more recently I have dreamt other creative projects that wake me up at night, haunt me all day until I write something – anything – down. As I get further into a project I will dream scenes, characters, possibilities, textures of narrative, themes. It all feels so clear in those moments but when I wake it often feels like I’m chasing it all, can only catch the tail end of the perfect thing I had created in sleep.
Of course another explanation as to why I struggle on the page is that I have no idea what I’m doing (which is most times) and my skill set is not yet developed enough for the ambition of the book that wants to be written. But this thing – creative self doubt or genuinely striving to better your work and skill – is for another post.
But I have also learnt to distinguish between mundane, processing thought dreams from the guttural, intuitive dreams. The differences are enormous, especially if they’re recurring dreams.
I have many thoughts on dreaming and creativity, on sleeping (and what happens when you can’t sleep and how that effects creativity), on the wonders and benefits of physically walking and running through a novel, on collecting and accepting patterns but I need to give these ideas actual considered time (I know, it’s going to be amazing the day I churn those posts out) and moreover, there are other, better practiced people to steer you towards when it comes to ideas on creativity and dreaming and, and, and…
So here you go, here are a few people. I may or may not agree with them in totality but interesting nonetheless. I’ll have more for you later: