This is the third time this week my subconscious has come up with a story more clever than my, well, conscious.
How exactly? Let me explain.
We all dream up crazy scenarios when we sleep: You and a friend–your mom? your dentist maybe?–are at your grandpa’s house. You know, it’s his house, but not his his–not his real-life house, but you get it. And you have to find a watch, this antique watch, that melts the cheese. You remember the watch, right? It has to exist–you wore it at the Christmas party last year. In the jungle–
–Wait a sec…
And that’s when the blurry cloud of sleep passes and you re-fluff your pillow as you realize it’s just a dream. There’s no cheese-melting watch. That’s absurd.
Like I said, we’re all pretty familiar with those dreams. Now, it’s not a story per say–chances are you aren’t jumping up to your laptop in the middle of the night to submit “The Cheese Watch” to the New Yorker.
But you might if the dream had acts, dialogue, rising action, and symbolism…
Lately I have been dreaming about films and books that don’t exist. That is to say, my unconscious is inventing them and my lucid dream-self is reading/watching them as though I just found them on a shelf. In my dream, I am watching a movie or reading a fantasy novel and seeing it play out in my head. Characters, storylines, witty banter–the whole nine yards.
As a writer, I’m used to dreaming in terms of linear plot and characters. Most of my day is thinking of things in terms of a story–heroes, villains, twists, what’s the most dramatic way to present this–so it’s no surprise when my dreams follow the same path. I’d be worried if they didn’t.
The most ridiculous part is that, as the audience of these pieces, I’m hearing my own thoughts while watching these ‘films.’ And I’m saying things like “That’s really clever…I should write something like this” or “That’s good, but here’s what I’d do differently.”
In fact in the last dream, I actually ‘paused’ the ‘film’ and started to brainstorm my own story–which ultimately played out in front of my eyes as well!
I hope I’m not crazy. Mostly because the ideas my unconscious thinks up are really good! And inspiring! Characters that I create awake don’t have as much depth as these dream characters–they’re practically 1-dimensional compared to these sketches!
At the very least, it’s nice to know the potential is up there. I just need to unlock it. Perhaps when I’m back on my feet a little more and not so stressed about bills and moving and jobs and life in general, I will find the key.
I’ve been in kind of a dry spell lately as far as fresh ideas for stories go. Not too surprised; I’m used to a kind of recharge period after I finish a big project. And I would classify Coming of Mage as a big project.
(If you want me to stop plugging it, BUY IT ALREADY!)
Not to mention, those stresses I mentioned above. (If that list is too vague, see my previous 1000 posts.) Like I try to explain to non-writers, it is difficult to write well when your mindset is compromised. This is true for the starving artists–not sure about the well-fed ones. I have this theory that once you are contracted to write something, there’s at least more of a drive. You can drum up motivation at that point!
Anyway, in my hiatus from writing, I’ve been making notes and outlines, character sketches, reading, reading, reading, and, apparently, dreaming up new stories.
Maybe since I haven’t been utilizing my ‘fiction lobe,’ my creative side is clocking in while I sleep. That’s a reasonable assumption, right?
Anyway, that “Cheese Watch” story is starting to sound pretty good. I better skedaddle.