I remembered a dream I had the other night. It was pretty apocalyptic. At the risk of drawing the attention of the NSA, it featured an attack on New York. Someone or something was raining fire or missiles into the city. I was watching from a hill, stood amongst a collection of small wooden houses and gardens. The gardens were slightly unkempt, with vegetable patches and overgrown hanging baskets. The denizens all struck me as slightly hippy types. I watched the city on fire, but I didn’t feel too worried. I think I was vaguely aware I was dreaming.
I was discussing with my LSP (long suffering partner) about meaning in dreams. It’s ordinarily not something I bother about too much; I trust my subconscious knows what it’s doing. In this case though I wondered if the dream was a variation on a theme, indicating a troubled mood. She pointed out I was judging it on the basis of what I could remember, which is very true. I’ll dream interpretation to fake psychics (btw all psychics are frauds, but I don’t want people thinking that I place any trust or veracity in them by not applying the label ‘fake’).
So, getting back to the subject at hand, I’ve been thinking about dreams I can remember, and how they can create sparks of imagination or feeling.
Dreams like the New York one, or a more common staple of mine about tidal waves. I used to have lots of dreams about tidal waves. Giant rising walls of water above me that crashed down, but Ialways seemed to find ways to get out of the way. This usually entailed defying las of physics – I guess you can do whatever in dreams.
I remembered one vivid dream bordering on nightmare, where I was being hunted by the T1000 (from Terminator 2). In slasher film style no matter where I ran he would appear in front of me. Few of my dreams evoke fear, but this one did, with a sense of helplessness. I even remember that the fear was not directly about getting caught, but a Matrix-like fear of ‘if I die in the dream will that mean I don’t wake up?’.
The most vivid dream I can recall though was of a giant lake. It was either early morning or close to sunset, with the Dun reflecting off the water. Floating above the lake was a giant steam driven ship. I even named it in my dream, the Behemoth. I saw that I was stood on an island, surrounded by lots of small steam driven automatons and machines. The grass was cut neat and fine, like a putting green in top notch golf course. A little steam train ran on its tracks.
There have been lots of others I remember of course. I merely cite these as examples. The apocalyptic visions of fire and tidal waves help fuel my imagination for writing. That fear of dying in my dream helps me evoke similar fear in stories. At least, it helps me know what my writing should read like.
And the steampunk. It wa beautifully vivid – I haven’t done it justice in describing the level of detail I saw and remember. That dream actually gave me the idea for a book, which I may sometime come to write. I’m actually thinking about it for the NaNoWriMo this year.
So dreams maintain a potency for the imagination. I don’t write that thinking it’s some new revelation – people have written about dreams for centuries – but in my own writing journey it’s an influence, a very personal one, on my thoughts. I’ll leave the interpretation to others, and make use of the good material.