Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In Dreams

“Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself
It's only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and
Have you any dreams you'd like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness...”
~Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), “Dreams”

“Come on out of your dreams
And wake up from your reverie
Time is here, don’t go to sleep . . .
About a light year from reality”

~Beck, “Dreams”

Dreams can be an excellent source of inspiration when writing.  That’s how Stephenie Meyer received her idea for the Twilight series.  I remember waking from a dream at roughly two a.m. when I was around eighteen or nineteen and immediately going to my computer to begin typing away.  I guess I didn’t save it because I can’t remember what it was about, only that I had to get it down and see if I could go with it.  And even though I lost sleep and never used the idea, it was still time well spent.  I always say, time spent writing is never wasted time.  It keeps you practicing and sometimes we writers need to write a huge amount before we write something we actually want to use or show the world.  And, I always find the more I write, the better the work becomes.

But back to my original thought.  I’ve been thinking a lot about dreams, particularly two I had lately.  The first was rather frightening, one I have had before.  I found myself inexplicably moving through outer space.  Not in a rocket ship or anything of the sort, just moving through the darkness, nothingness—floating amongst massive planets close by and stars in the distance.  But it was frightening because there was nothing stable, nothing to hold onto, no gravity, no life force, and no one else around, just empty vastness all around—and it was immense.

Strange, I know.  Like with a lot of dreams, they seem to make sense until you try to explain them out loud or on paper.

The other dream I had, the same evening, is the first one I had about two people I loved greatly, who passed away within six months of each other: my grandmother and my cousin, Barbara (I will be talking more about Barbara in an upcoming post on characterization).  I was close to both of them and I still haven’t quite gotten over the shock of losing them both within such close proximity.  The experience of losing each was different, too: my grandmother’s was slightly expected, yet Barbara’s was completely unexpected, but they both played a role in my growth as a writer.  It was at my grandmother’s house that I learned my love of writing, and it is in that house that I set part of my new book.  Barbara was my reader.  She read my to-be published book before anyone else had, and told me that I needed to get it published right away.  At least she got to know that it was on its way before she passed on.  I just wish my grandmother had seen it, too.  It still feels a little strange knowing they won’t be able to see my future works.  I guess it hurts the most when I’ve written something I like and I think to myself, Oh, I need to email that to Barbara and then the fresh realization of oh, that’s right, I can’t, sets in yet again.  Not a good feeling.

But what was a good feeling was seeing them both for just a few moments in my dream the other night.  I know it may seem silly, but when I see loved ones who have passed on in my dreams, I like to think it is them visiting me, letting me know they’re okay.  I thought that when I dreamed of my great-grandmother and my grandfather, too.  I’m a believer in God and Heaven, so I know they’re there, and no longer in pain, and that’s about the only thing that gets me through not being able to see them, hug them, talk with them.  I think about things we used to do together, things as simple as going to the dollar store with my grandmother (an old tradition of ours) or even to her doctor’s appointments with her, or seeing that smile of Barbara’s that could light up any room, hearing her infectious laugh, talking with her about books, films, characters and storylines.

I know it may seem like I’ve gotten a little off my topic of writing and dreams.  But also, I think having the ones I had the other night illustrates the bad and the good about them: you live in them for a while, and then you wake up.  Just which is good and which is bad depends, of course, on your dream, and whether or not you let them disappear with the new day, or hold onto them depends on that as well.

As for me, even though I am filled with fresh sadness and longing to see my grandmother and cousin—my friends—again, my dream is still one I’m grateful for and glad I had.  I just hope they visit me again soon.

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