Dreams and Writing

Rare photograph of my brain while I’m dreaming

This topic was suggested by Lynne de Bie. Hi Lynne!

Like most people, I don’t remember all my dreams, but I do remember plenty of them. And the ones I do remember are often pretty intense, both in imagery and in emotion. I remember one dream I had before I was ten years old which featured an evil floating carrot. I remember a dream I had a few years ago which featured time traveling pirates constantly asking, “What era of human history is this?” Last night I dreamed of a cafe I used to work at and the people there (more on that some other time).

Sometimes I have hypnogogic hallucinations, which are weird brain events that happen while you’re drifting off to sleep but haven’t quite made it there yet. Usually, I just hear three knocks on the wall behind me or at the door. I did a little research into this, and it turns out this is pretty common; so common that there’s folklore and superstition surrounding it. If you hear three knocks as you’re drifting off to sleep, it’s an omen that someone is going to die. I don’t believe in omens, but I do find it interesting.

Sometimes I have hypnopompic hallucinations, which are the opposite: weird brain events that happen as you’re waking up but haven’t quite exited the dream state and your body is still paralyzed from sleep. In these events, scary things can happen; I remember vividly having a ghost with a mirror for a face climb into the bed next to me and terrifying me. Usually when these happen, I spend a few seconds trying to talk but being unable to, until I’m finally able to let out a scream or incoherent words and startling both Jennifer and the cats awake. I don’t think they’re impressed.

Sometimes I will post my more vivid dreams on Facebook, recreating the people, places, and events to the best of my recollection (which isn’t always very accurate). Usually, a friend suggests that these dreams would make a great story or novel or at least a twist in my work in progress. And often I agree.

But it rarely happens. I mean, I’ve never written a story that features an evil floating giant carrot, I’ve never written about time-traveling pirates, and I’ve certainly never written about a ghost with a mirror for a face. I’m sitting here now and trying to figure out why I don’t do this.

Time Bandits with a map of the universe and its wormholes
Fry, Bender, and Farnsworth in a time machine

Part of this is that dreams are often derivative. Time traveling pirates who ask at each destination “What era of human history is this?” reminds me of Terry Gilliam’s fantastic 1981 movie Time Bandits crossed with the Futurama episode “The Late Philip J. Fry”.

I have occasionally dreamed of writing itself, though such dreams usually involve being unable to find a particularly brilliant story that I have written. How tragic! And some of those stories have magical abilities, too, such as being able to heal diseases in the people who read them.

So all in all… There isn’t much of a connection between my writing and my dreams that I am consciously aware of, though I am sure one exists.

Today’s recommendation is a television show, and it is a Korean action series called “Zombieverse.” It is about a bunch of reality TV stars who are trapped in a zombie apocalypse in Seoul and have to survive. It can be annoying at times, but on the whole I enjoyed it. Currently it is streaming on Netflix.