Dream a Little Dream…

Daily Prompt Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) What is the best dream you’ve ever had? Recount it for us in all its ethereal glory. If no dream stands out in your memory, recount your worst nightmare. Leave no frightening detail out.

Fellini used to write down his dreams and they informed his films; he brought his dreams into Cinecittá and made them into films for other people to enjoy.

During my lifetime of teaching writing, I looked through a lot of writing books — not just for teaching composition, but for “teaching” creative writing. One common bit of advice and/or exercise in those creative writing text books was just what this prompt is saying with the added bit of keeping a notebook beside your bed so when you have a dream you can write it down immediately.

Somehow our subconscious mind is supposed to be where our creative energy hides.

I think this is bullshit. A person might — as did Fellini — get some ideas from dreams, but I wonder how “sub and/or unconscious” a dream is in the first place? I have no problems identifying what events of a particular day have colored my dreams. It’s easy to see what problems I’m working out, too. Like other people, sometimes I go to bed with a problem I can’t figure out and awaken with the puzzle solved. Was this my unconscious mind in action? Or did I just need some rest?

I recall a class in university, 20th Century British Poetry. The professor was good; energetic, able to involve the students. We were talking about “The Hollow Men” by T. S. Eliot. The professor said, “What does this tell you about Eliot’s unconscious mind?” A student — an older student, maybe 25, a Viet Nam Vet — said (in a Flushing accent) “Yeah, listen professor. I don’t get this ‘unconscious’ mind, you mean like BAM! knock somebody’s block off passed out in the alley or WHAT?”

Still we analyze our dreams believing they’re keys to the unconscious mind. Even my down-to-earth French therapist sometimes did this, not so much for revelation but to help me see what I already knew (and wasn’t telling myself).

In Fellini’s case it told him to write a movie. In my case, dreams told me to edit my writing more ruthlessly (as I wrote last year when I responded to this prompt).Dreams are worth paying attention to but how mysterious are they, really? Only as mysterious as we are to ourselves, I think.

P.S. Sorry for not getting around to reading many posts for the last few days. I’ve had guests.


9 thoughts on “Dream a Little Dream…

  1. Funny, I realised from the beginning that you were talking about Fellini. His films were very much in a dreamy world, but perhaps not a dream. I love them all, especially Amarcord. I was lucky enough to have a young man as boss in my last job whose origins were in the province of Marche in Italy. Fellini was also from the area, from Rimini and the name “Amarcord” is in dialect from the area meaning “I remember”. It was of the memories of his original town, Fellini style.

  2. I always watch dream sequences in movies with amusement, especially when they include a 15 minute fully choreographed ballet. That’s a lot of serious, detailed dreaming. Is there a drug you can take to make that happen?

    • No idea — I sometimes think the dream sequences in movies (except Fellini’s) are a stragedy the filmmaker uses to be didactic or film something that has no plausible relationship to the film.

  3. I’m in the air about dreams. I’ve had several that are reoccurring dreams. I think there’s something about them. I’ve written shorts about those dreams. But I didn’t feel particularly creative when I awoke from them. I do know that people have attributed inventions to dreams they had, like the guy who figured out how to make perfectly round lead shot for shotgun shells: He claimed the idea for the shot tower came to him in a dream, but you have to take his word for it. 🙂

    • They’re worth something to you — although I don’t think dreams are especially revelatory, I do think they help us sort through things even when we don’t remember what they are. I loved that Viet Nam Vet. I was young, 20, a literature major, and I just took everything my profs said as something important and memorable — suddenly that guy made me see it all in a completely different way.

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