Do You Dream?

Persephone Dreams

The other day, someone was complaining to me about books in which characters dream, and then “Those dreams turn out to be, well, dreams.  Not anything significant.  Just dreams.”

It turned out that the person I was talking with was one of those who “never dreams,” or, if they do, they don’t remember their dreams, which, as a case in point, is pretty much the same.

I, on the other hand, dream a lot.  I dream in full color, with sound, scent, taste, sensation all full on.  I often remember my dreams, or at least part of them. 

Take the other night…  When the alarm went off, I was in the middle of the following dream:

Jim and I were watching a new-to-us anime.  (From the art style, I’d guess it was from the 1980s.)  It featured two warring factions in a space opera type conflict.  This particular scene focused on an idealistic young pilot fighting for the greedy plutocratic oligarchy.

Following a particularly brilliant battle, in which he shot down a lot of the opposition, he is complimented over the “radio” by his commanders.  In the background, he hears lots of nasty comments calling the other side “losers” and the like.

He switches off his radio and says to the empty air: “I do not mock my enemies.”

Or rather, that’s what the subtitles say.  I’m listening to the dialogue, and I make out enough of the mixture of Japanese and English (not uncommon in some anime) to realize what he actually said.  I turn to Jim and say, “Did you catch that?  What he said was closer to, ‘Farewell, my honored nemesis.’”

At this point, the alarm went off.  And, yes, I really dreamed all of that.  No continuity was added.  I could feel Jim’s hand warm around mine.  I could hear both the background sounds of our house, and the different sound of the television.  I remember this one as well as I do because, when the alarm went off, I struggled to remember it so I could tell Jim.

I’ve often been asked what were my earliest experiences with writing fiction.  When I answer, I always need to qualify my reply.  While I don’t recall really trying to write fiction until high school or college, I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember.  Much of this goes back to trying to relate my dreams to my sister, Ann, who sometimes gently accused me of making it all up.

I wasn’t making it all up, but I was probably trying to provide continuity where there was none, which, if you think about it, isn’t bad training for becoming a writer.

Yes.  I’ve dreamed about my characters.  And, yes, I’ve written short stories based on dreams or taken in part from dreams: among them are “Between Tomatoes and Snapdragons,” “Behind the Curtain of Flowers,” and some elements from “On the Edge of Sleep.”  All of these are in my short story collection, Curiosities.

The Albuquerque Adepts had their first appearance in a dream as well, although it took Jim pointing out to me that the dream I’d just told him would make a great short story.  I wrote it and it appeared as “Hell’s Mark” in the 1997 anthology, Wizard Fantastic.  So, in a sense, I’ve been to that nightclub that has an entrance to hell… So, do you dream?  Do you remember your dreams? 


9 Responses to “Do You Dream?”

  1. Beverly Martin Says:

    Yes, I dream. I usually remember a scene or two or a feeling that the dream generated. I rarely remember a story as complete as those you describe. Keep dreaming because I enjoy your stories!

  2. James Mendur Says:

    I dream. I only remember them if I wake up in the middle of them. Most of my dreams aren’t worth remembering. I tried a dream diary once but I got bored by it.

  3. anevergreen Says:

    My novel you read started from a dream 😉

    The first short story I sold was also from a dream.

    I love my dreams!

  4. Dawn Barela Says:

    I dream quite often. Sometimes they are vivid and real, so I remember them. Other times they are vague images. And then there are times I wake up and know that I had dreamed and have no memory at all. Sadly the last is the most common.

  5. HelixRook Says:

    Most of the writing I’ve done directly ties to a dream I’ve had, or was triggered by the dream in some way. Feelings, sensations…I’ve lived full lives and woken up crying for that which I’ve lost. I’ve woken up feeling more love than I’ve ever felt in reality. The things experienced within the dreams fade so quickly, but I’ve made a point to try and get them written down. I can sometimes gauge when I dream as well (having multiple alarms in the morning to prepare myself for waking), and I’ve had full complete dreams in 30 minutes that felt like a lifetime of experience.

  6. janelindskold Says:

    I really enjoy these various experiences. Any others are welcome!

  7. Jane Says:

    RARELY do I even remember a snippet of a dream. I think writers must dream more vividly or remember dreams more than us non-writers do. Almost every day Scot can tell me in considerable detail about one or more of his dreams. It seems we were awaiting trial in Iceland last night and he was afraid of being late because he couldn’t find the bathroom. 🙂

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