Author, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Dream a little dream and Write it Down!

I have always had a vivid dream life and the ability to recall them in great detail long after I’ve awakened. This can be a good thing or bad, depending on whether the dream is a good on or a nightmare.

Even as a small child, I would regale my mother with the details of my dreams over the breakfast table in the morning. I still recall her wrapt attention as I told her about the silly and often bizarre stories my mind had spun in my sleep. She was amazed that I could not only remember so much of them, but that I was able to describe them so vividly. This was a sentiment often repeated throughout my life by the friends and family with whom I shared them.

I’ve often thought this compulsion to remember and share my dreams was the beginning of my storytelling career. I’ve written more of them down than I can now recall, but most of them have disappeared as things are wont to do over the course of a lifetime unless we are careful with them. Yet, there was more to it than just enjoying the ability to hold my listeners’ attention. There was always a strong need to understand what these strange imaginings meant.

As a teenager, I read dozens of books on dreams and their supposed meaning. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that those authors who claimed to have some secret knowledge of what the dreams meant really had no more of an idea what they meant than you or I.

Still, it has bothered me over the years. Why are my dreams so much clearer and easier to recall, though no less confusing, than anyone else’s? I suspect I’ll never know.

I had a girlfriend in high school with whom I often spent the night. She also had quite vivid dreams. They were so vivid they often woke her up at night. At the time she would say to herself, “I’ve got to tell Cheri that dream.” But then she would go back to sleep and the dream would drift away like smoke. At one point, I suggested that she keep a writing tablet and pencil next to her bed so that she could write down the things that she could remember as she woke up. And not long afterward she actually used the tablet, so I followed her home to get a chance to look at it. She handed the tablet to me with an inscrutable expression. I read the few words on the page and then erupted into fits of giggles. We both fell onto her bed, laughing until we couldn’t breathe and had tears in our eyes. What had she written?

“Write it down!”

So, okay. That plan doesn’t work for everyone.

Medical specialists are as in the dark about what dreams are as anyone. They have no conclusive explanations as to why we dream or why we dream what we do. Dr. Sigmund Freud seemed to think dreams were the mind’s way of looking at events and emotions in our daily life that would be offensive to others. Others say our mind uses dreams to process emotions and resolve problems. But no one can say why one person can easily recall their dreams while others cannot.

Yet there is also an innate mystery surrounding dreams.They have been used throughout history to predict the outcome of battles, and the deaths and/or reigns of monarchs. Their interpretations have often been the harbingers of great political changes and upheavals in the world. But are they true predictions of things to come? Or are they merely the thoughts and ruminations of the subconscious mind, which influence our actions in the light of day to bring about the predicted change?

Are we simply picking up the events of the day and turning them round and round as we examine them in our unconscious minds, before filing them away in an area for things not important enough to remember? Are we trying to understand the emotions we’ve been avoiding every day? Are we “remembering” things that haven’t happened yet. Who knows?

My dreams have often become the skeletons of stories I’ve written or plan to write. Often they run in my mind like a movie reel, almost complete in their storyline. Most of the time, though, they come in snippets, the backstory felt more than seen, but the sense of them is enough to set my mind into creative motion. Before long, I have the basic story written in a kind of synopsis. If only I could write every dream into a full blown story!

Authors, do your dreams influence your writing? I’d love to hear about your experience with transforming a dream into a story. Or, for that matter, any reader’s experience with dreams that have somehow changed their lives, whether in a small way or large.

One such dream of mine turned into the short story I have listed on, entitled, The Choice. The story involves a young woman, Kyndal McAlister, who fights for her life after a tragic traffic accident nearly kills her. As she hovers near death, praying for release from the horrific pain of her injuries, Kyndal discovers the affect her death could have on the people she loves, both the living and the dead.

This story is a short one, a tale of a sudden change in a young woman’s life after a near death experience. However, it has started a seed growing in my mind for future installments of her story.

The Choice will be on sale for free on Amazon for five days only starting Sunday, April 10th. Feel free to download the story and then let me know what you think. Please leave a review on Amazon for my story. Reviews really do help sales.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle reading app for whatever device you wish to use to read it, including Apple and android phones, tablets, as well as Windows computers and MACs. The app itself is free and a link to the various forms of the app appears on each Kindle ebook page.

Have a fantastic rest of the day, everyone!