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Remembering Dreams

19 May 2010

In this month’s issue of The Sun, an article by Sparrow talks about the act of dreaming. Sparrow uses dreaming to help him stick to a diet by dreaming about eating so that he feels fuller without actually gaining weight. While initially it sounds like a useless, albeit creative, idea, Sparrow’s writing is funny and engaging, so much so that I began to wonder if maybe we really can affect our waking lives through our dreams. He points out that we pay nearly $20 for a movie ticket, to sit in a dark room for 2.5 hours and be entertained, yet we spend 8 or so hours a night doing the exact same thing and consider it worthless! I cherish my sleep, but I often wish I didn’t need so much of it so I could be doing “better” things with my time. But really, what better way to relax and enjoy myself than to watch an original movie starring myself?

One area where my dreams can come in handy is with writing. Dreams are wonderful ways to get ideas for stories or poems. A few years ago, I dreamed about penguins. It was a very lucid dream, with a complicated plot and several lead penguin characters, and I woke thinking that I must write it down immediately because it would be my best story ever! I must have fallen back asleep before I wrote it down, because the next morning, I remembered having a great dream about penguins that I wanted to turn into a story, but those were the only details I could remember. I felt positive that I had lost one of my best story ideas I’d ever had. It was probably a ridiculous story that would never have made sense if I wrote it exactly as it occurred in the dream, but if I had written it down it probably would have still inspired me to a write a story or poem using that dream as a starting point.

Sparrow talks about ways to remember your dreams. One of them was to start a dream club, and he suggests an activity for the club members to do: write a fake dream. What a great writing prompt! His idea for the dream club was for each member to write down a fake dream and a real dream, and have the other members guess which was which. There are so many directions to take this as a writing prompt. Getting nowhere with developing a character? Write a dream for them!

Sparrow goes a bit further, suggesting that people who want to abstain from drinking can use their dreams to indulge, so that they feel satisfied and able to control their habits during the day. I’m not ready to delve into my dreams in pursuit of changing something about my waking life, but I am interested in remembering more of my dreams. I wonder if they have some common theme that I am unaware of, or if they refer to things that happen in my waking life. Some people believe that dreams have messages or meanings in them. There are countless books out there to tell you how to interpret the symbols in your dreams. I don’t believe my dreams are symbolic, but I do believe that because they come from my own brain, they are important to know. So I am going to start recording them.

I will start a new journal just for recording my dreams, and will make an extra effort to recall my dreams each morning before I get out of bed. If I have any interesting (and not embarrassing!) ones, I’ll post them here. What significance do you give your dreams? Do you remember them always, or only rarely? Have you ever written a story based on a dream you had?

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