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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dream Interpretation

I've always been a dreamer. As a kid, I remember waking up in the middle of the night two or three times per week with nightmares. Some of them I still remember, after three decades.

As I've gotten older, I still have dreams - chases, allegories, blenders of gibberish, story ideas, nightmares.

Sometimes I am lucky and can relate them to writing or life. After over 200 brainstorm title ideas between me and my editor, the winning entry (TELL ME A SECRET!) came to me in a dream (truly at the eleventh hour...I must have a talk with my subconscious).

Not long ago, I had three dreams in a row, and they all seemed to mean something. I am still puzzling over them and wondering what exactly that meaning might be. My favorite was this:

I was in a huge warehouse-type green room, full of people getting ready for a play performance that evening. Everyone was getting into makeup, costume, rehearsing lines, building sets, laughing and talking and generally having a raucous time. I knew I had a part in the play, but I didn't have a script. I began to look for it.

Every once in a while, the director would stop me and bellow, "Are you ready?" And I'd say, "Uh...not yet." Then I'd redouble my efforts to find the script.

Finally, I found the program for the evening, the order of events. I knew what was supposed to happen, I just didn't know exactly what my role would be yet. Then I woke.

The dream that followed almost immediately was just as memorable, though not at all pleasant.

I was in my parents' house. I've had this dream before, and the last time we could see bombs exploding and people dropping out of the sky. This time, we were packing in a state of emergency. I woke up with a vivid sense of warning.

Writers and artists, do you have dreams? What do you make of them? How much of a role does your subconscious have in your conscious acts of creation? In your life?

(Art: Constantine's Dream,Piero Della Francesca)


  1. Whenever I have too much on my plate, I have those running-away-from-something dreams that make me wake up incredibly tired!


  2. There are a few times where my dreams come true (and I think that's the coolest thing!) -- especially dreams of spiritual significance.

    Other than that, I have lots of dreams where people and places in my life and what I want to happen all coalesce into crazy situations. I had a dream this week that I inherited a big van to take my band on tour, and we were loading our gear onto the stage and I suddenly had a guitar I could play in public (almost as fanciful as coming into an old tour van, let me tell you!) and playing a local club here in Seattle. That was pretty sweet.

    Sometimes songs will come into my dreams, and I'll wake up with some awesome music -- or I'll hear something wonderful that feels like it was just a special treat for me, like when I hear Johnny Cash cover Side A of my favorite Jars of Clay album, and then he told me it was a secret that only I knew.

  3. i do dream, vividly. sometimes my dreams make perfect allegorical sense, and sometime i'm disturbed and baffled by them.

    whatever the dream, i'm thankful my mind can dig up buried feelings and put them into powerful images my waking mind would filter. then at least i have a chance of seeing what they are, even if i can't always understand them.

  4. I always have dreams; some good and sometimes a nightmare. It also depends on the TV show or movie I watched before bed time.

  5. I have TONS of dreams, every single night. I can remember nightmares from the time when I was very very young, too. I have more bad than good dreams, but most are neither; most are simply strange and random.