I Have a Dream
By: Prachi Shah
Dreams are those fragments of our life which, although regular, go unnoticed and are easily forgotten in wake of reality. However, there are a few dreams, and even nightmares, which stay with you and get that rare attention. And if you gave them enough thought, you’ll be surprised at the amazing stories that can blossom from them!
Many times, our subconscious picks up various fragments of information, connects them together, wraps it up in a nice package and presents it to us in our dreams. Says dream analyst Sangeeta Krishnan, ‘When we dream, our subconscious takes control. But because the language of the subconscious mind is very different, the images we see can range from slightly odd to bizarre.’
The question often arises whether dreams are trying to communicate something or if they are simply a private movie theatre of the mind playing everything that it registers. Sangeeta said, ‘Dreams can be considered as messages sent to you from the subconscious, to guide you in certain areas of your life. Dreams also allow us to process all the inputs we had during our conscious hours.’
It is often said that dreams can be a result of even a millisecond worth of information registered in our subconscious. ‘The subconscious is highly tuned in to things that even our conscious mind might not otherwise be aware of, which sometimes gets translated into dreams,’ explains Sangeeta.
Little do we realize, that sometimes our subconscious is nudging us to write the next bestseller.
The best illustration for this is the Twilight series, whose author Stephanie Meyer had a dream about a stunning vampire trying to explain to an ordinary human girl how them being together is not safe, since he loves her and also craves her blood.
She held on to that idea, and we all know where that has gotten her today. Not only Stephanie Meyer, but there are various examples of writers using their dreams in their work. Stephen King, the master of horror, has used dreams in a lot of his stories. The famous Frankenstein is another excellent example of a dream inspired story.
If not the entire story, authors tend to use them for certain parts of their work too. Award winning author and poet, Chitra Divakaruni, said, ‘I have turned some images from dreams into poems. Sometimes I take an image and put it into a short story.’
The first thing that my class was advised, by the teachers at the institute where I studied animation, was to maintain a dream diary. Divakaruni supports this, ‘I think it is definitely a good idea for writers to jot down ideas and images from dreams and see if they can use them.’
It’s helpful to write a dream as soon as you wake up since the memory of dreams slips away quickly as the day progresses. Another advantage of this habit is that it may help you further your story.
When we are working on a story, we are constantly thinking about it which results in a lot of dreams that can be very helpful for your tale. Divakaruni says, ‘When I was writing the Mistress of Spices, some of the elements of that novel came from dreams. Also, one of my characters in Queen of Dreams had recurring dreams, which was very similar to a recurring dream I had.’
However, dreams will not bring you the entire story on a platter. You have to use them and your creativity as well. Meyer would sleep with a notepad, and then would try to decipher her sleepy scrawls in the morning. ‘As a writer, it’s important to know when to depart from dreams and move into imagination,’ says Divakaruni.
Apart from stories, dreams have worked wonders in various areas. Paul McCartney, of the Beatles, wrote the famous song ‘Yesterday’ from a dream. It is said that Otto Loewi’s Nobel winning experiment related to the chemical transmission of nerve impulses took birth from a dream.
So next time you turn in, take a leaf from Meyer’s book, and sleep with a notepad and a pen. It just might be the key to your success!
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