Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dreams and Nightmares

One of the best and worst aspects of being creative is dreaming.

The nightmares are stupendously scary. Much worse than any movie I've ever seen or anything I've experienced in my waking life. And I don't mean the everyday anxiety kind of nightmares, either, though I have those in abundance, too. I mean the can't-wake-up, don't-know-you're-dreaming kind of nightmare that stays with you even after you've been awake (really awake!) for an hour or more. I don't usually remember the nightmares in their specifics, but I do know they almost always involve death and LOTS of blood.

For me, there are two good flipsides to the nightmares. One is the probably pretty common flying dream, but in my dream, I'm not really flying so much as leaping–over trees, over telephone lines–and in the leaping dream, it is always night and it has always just rained; strange, right?

The second thing is solving problems in my sleep. Okay, if you've never done this, then you're probably skeptical, but believe me, it happens. As a graphic artist, it's been my saving grace more times than I can count. Design problems that seem tied in impossible knots get untangled and smoothed over and I wake up with a solution to whatever the problem was.

I've read different things over the years abut keeping a notepad by your bed to keep track of some of the things that fade away shortly after waking. I tried it for a while, but generally came up with nonsense like: 'bend the chairs in metal' and 'why did the windows?' and (my favorite) 'giant rabbits.' Senseless stuff, really; no big revelations there, huh?

This past week, I started dreaming about the characters in the book I'm working on. This has never happened before. It was cool, but in a weird way, also scary, as if they aren't being written by me so much as they are being channeled. So here's my question: if I'm more or less channeling them...

Where are they coming from, exactly?


Season said...

What timing! Hi, Chris. I was just wondering how you were doing and had lost your email address. So I took the next logical step. Google. (I sometimes find the whole idea of being Googleable a bit creepy, but oh, well. It got me here!)

You have a new website starting up today? I'll have to check it out.

Hope all is well. I love that you're still writing up a storm!

All the Best,


christine.dougherty said...

Season! I can't stop; it's become a compulsion, I think. See what you did?

Season said...

That makes me so happy!

It's the one time in my life when I think "pleased as punch" actually fits (:

Eric Maisel (psychotherapist/creativity coach) calls it productive obsession. A good thing!

Arlee Bird said...

Dreams have been a fascination for me since childhood. During high school and my college days I used to keep a dream diary and got many writing ideas from those dreams. I still continue to write down dreams occasionally and use the ideas. Just yesterday I awoke from a rather odd dream and immediately wrote it down, compelled to use it as the basis for my blog post for this coming Friday.

I rarely have really disturbing nightmares. The ones I do have I usually almost "watch" as though they were scary movies. The ones that usually bother me to the extent that they keep me awake for awhile usually have something to do with being confined in a very small space and unable to breathe. I guess a death fear causes my sleeplessness after that. Fortunately these dreams do not happen often.

Where do our dreams come from? I often wonder, but I think primarily from what has been on our minds like things that have been bothering us or that have puzzled us. I think the dreams interpret everyday thoughts into a dream imagery, but the problem is converting those images back into something we can easily comprehend. Whatever the case, I enjoy my dreams and often blog about them.

Now a follower of this blog. Please come and visit mine and leave me a comment so I'll know you were there.

Tossing It Out