Collaging the Unconscious


I’ve found that there are many ways to have waking dreams…

…that is, to get to the contents of the unconscious.

A few years ago, following an exercise in a book, I made a collage, using pictures cut from magazines…

I had resisted doing that exercise.  I didn’t want to spend the time.

However, after I completed one…I did another…

…and another…

….and another…and another…

…until I done thirteen collages—twelve on big sheets of poster paper, plus one on a large cardboard tube about five feet long—which I then used to hold a lamp.

Though I enjoyed putting them together, I kept thinking, “You should get on to other things.  You could be using this time for your reading and writing.”

But then one night, I had a dream of a collage.  In the dream, I zeroed on a single pasted-on picture—the image of a fish.

Not a big fish, but not too small either—big enough to keep, to eat.

That dream told me that I was fishing in the unconscious when I made those collages.  The collages were waking dreams.

I’d thought that I had chosen certain pictures because they pleased my eye and because I thought they might fit in with the others I had picked out—both thematically and in terms of line and shape.

But there was more behind my choices.  I was responding to these images on an unconscious level as well.  These pictures were pictures of inner forces, pictures of my inner life—which means they were also pictures of the forces at work in my outer life.

The collages were dreams, waking dreams.


…to anyone who has difficulty remembering his/her dreams, I would say: try creating a collage…

Gather images that “speak” to you.  Fit them all together in a way that feels right to you.  Then step back and consider what you’ve created.  What is the collage telling you—?—what are you telling yourself?

If nothing else, you’ll have a helluva lot of fun.

© 2011, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, and storyteller...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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