Two nights ago, I had a fantastic dream about going to the moon. I remember it in vivid detail — the colors, my fears, my emotions. The ‘what goes up, must come down’ attitude and the longing. But for what, I won’t say, because that might give away my story idea. The fact remains, however, that this is not the first time a story was born from my dreams.
I suppose I am lucky that I tend to remember my dreams, at least for a period of time. Some of this is purposeful. I realize that I am dreaming while I’m dreaming, and because of this, I can focus on the little things: the interactions of the characters, the clarity of the world. I can focus on the story.
I’ve read that other authors have also retrieved story ideas from their dreams, so I wonder, is this a normal phenomenon for writers?
I feel like dreams are the gateway to the imagination — what happens when we don’t have the outside world to keep us in check with how things are ‘supposed to be’ in the world, but rather how they could be. Dreaming allows the subconscious to work with ideas, to ask why and how and what if in a world that could, feasibly, be limitless.
Imagine what the world would be like if our dreams were real. Makes for a good story, doesn’t it?
I like the ‘could be’ in reality, in unreality, in dreaming. I like the blend. Our own realities are all different. Who’s to say that the moon I see is the moon you see, or the moon the neighbor sees? Who’s to say the moon is really the moon at all? I like throwing reality in unrealistic situations — because who is to say I can’t?
Who is to say that I can’t go to the moon? Who’s to say I’ve never been?
Perhaps that is from where my sort of ‘love’ for fantasy was born, from the determination to have an endless creative field day. Maybe that’s why I like pieces of literary fiction. These pieces have a way of turning everything upside down and making me believe in the realness of them. They tell the truth with lies; they draw the sky with words that gasp. They breathe poetry in paragraphs with the dark side of the moon.
They leave messages that make us question. They make me question things — the state of the world, the state of my world — the way I question my dreams. Could this happen? Is this real? Does it matter?
I don’t like writing by the rules. Rules are useful if they serve a purpose, sure, but honestly, I’ve never cared about proper storytelling or the so called ‘writer-how-to’ books which tell you all the things you should be doing to be successful. I have different standards for myself. I ask: Can I make people believe this the way I did when I imagined it? Can I turn a dream into reality? Can I make the world sing, even for a moment?
A logical person might say: “You’ve never been to the moon.”
Luckily, I am not always a logical person. I am a writer and I say: “Yes, yes I have. And it was real enough to me.”
It was so real that I have all the words in the world to describe it, and I’ll make you believe it too.
Do dreams inspire your story ideas? What’s your take? Please leave your thoughts below in the comments!