Sunday, February 18, 2007


Love of Reading Week just concluded, and I spoke at several schools and a public library. (I know I should figure out how to post my appearances here.) Like every writer, I get asked "Where do you get your ideas?" Often I give the usual answers, because they're all true. But I don't say how often my ideas come in dreams. Do other writers find inspiration in dreams? I suppose most of my nightly imaginings are the usual grab-bag of mundane details mixed with confusing symbolism and people I know. But every now and then, I get a full-blown gift from the subconscious -- an idea that ought to work perfectly well as a book, epic poetry, or something.

This happened to me just the other night, with a full-blown movie dream full of fantastic special effects and a dandy plot. Unfortunately I always realize I'm dreaming -- and begin to exert conscious control -- before my subconscious has a chance to end the dream on its own. When you know it's a dream, it's hard to keep dreaming, right? Sometimes these gift stories don't fall into a genre or format I can conveniently use, but I dutifully write them down anyway. Then I feel guilty if I don't put the dream to use. Of course, I might need that idea ten years from now, or it might morph into something completely different and more practical. I'll be interested to see if that's the case with this last one.

I can't be the only crazy writer who listens to dreams, so I'll end with my favorite quote about those vivid messages from the subconscious mind. Unfortunately, I can't remember who said it, but here it is:

"Dreams are real while they last. Can we day more of life?"


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