To Write is to Dream

I never had anybody tell me a dream where afterwards my life had changed for the better.”
                               —  author Richard Ford

Unfortunately, most of the authors interviewed for Writers Dreaming by Naomi Epel don’t write their dreams down, much less go into the depths of them.

But perhaps they work with the unconscious through their fiction and because of that, don’t feel compelled to spend too much time working with their dreams.

Again and again in this book, the authors describe the process of writing as a waking dream.

Ironically, actual dream material was rarely incorporated into their writing.  At least not consciously…Consider this:

Often, I read of an author getting stuck in a creative problem, then finally putting the work aside and hitting the hay for a good night’s rest.

Then next morning, when the author sat back down to write, everything would come together as if by magic.

I’d like to believe that, in such cases, the problem was worked out on an unconscious level.  But perhaps these writers merely needed to rest their brains.

When a dream did find its way into a work of fiction for one of the writers, it was usually taken as a starting point.  For example…

…Allan Gurganus had a dream of something unknown landing in his yard, a dream that included the words “It has wings”.  Years later, recalling that dream, he was prompted to write a story in which an old woman discovers fallen angel in her backyard.

I do have one strong point of disagreement with several of these authors…

…the authors who say that there are important, meaningful dreams, but also many unimportant, meaningless dreams.  That’s like saying there are moments of life that have meaning and moments that are completely devoid of meaning.

I have often been helped by dreams which, at first glance, seemed fairly trivial.

But, in any case, I can recommend this book for anyone interested in the creative process and/or in becoming a writer.

All of these authors make one thing clear: writing is work.  Hard work.  Fulfilling work.  But WORK.

I can’t disagree with that.

© 2011, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry


About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, and fabulist...A new mythologist, a peace miller, a dream worker...I don't qualify as an illustrator or photographer--I just "make pictures"...I have thirteen books available at amazon... I currently reside in northwest Arkansas, but have lived and worked all over the United States... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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