Dream Weaver

dream-catcher

I often use dreams as inspiration for my writing. Once in a while, I’ll have this long, complicated dream, and while I’m dreaming it, I’ll think, Wow, this would make a great story! When I wake up, I simply have to write it down and capture this brilliance! But upon waking, that dream-like state where everything make sense evaporates, and I’m left with the thought, “That was the dumbest thing ever.”

But once in a while, a dream or a piece of a dream will inspire a story. One of my first short stories I ever wrote involved a dream where my daughter Lilly was surrounded by lions. I was so terrified, but it turned out that they were afraid of her. She was stronger than I gave her credit for. It inspired a story I called The Lion, in which a mother kills a vampire for its blood to “cure” her disabled daughter. The mother had the lion dream one night; she hatched the plan to kill the vampire to “save” her child, but she realizes in the end that her daughter is perfect the way she is. The vampire wasn’t the lion; her daughter was the lion. I didn’t post this story on the blog because I don’t think it’s very good, actually, but I learned to take cues from my dreams to inspire stories.

I’m working on a story right now that is based on a dream I had sometime last year. I was thumbing through my notebook looking for inspiration when I came across the entry describing it. It was another dream about my daughter in which she and I were at a carnival. I turned away for one moment to buy ice cream or cotton candy, and when I turned back, Lilly was being led away by another woman. She was luring her away from me with candy or something, and Lilly didn’t hear me calling for her. The woman turned to me and said, “We’ll teach her what she needs to know.” And then they were gone and I was left sobbing on the ground.

So I basically lifted that whole scene from my dream and wrote it down, but that’s all I have right now. I have no idea who the woman is or what she’s going to teach the child or why she took her. It may not be about that at all; it might be about how the mother deals with the loss and the lack of answers she has. I’m not sure, but it will be interesting to find out.

Most of my dreams are silly gibberish; but I do think our unconscious minds have a way of speaking to us. Sometimes, I can pull out a gem and polish it up for a story.

If you’re a writer, do your dreams ever inspire stories?

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11 thoughts on “Dream Weaver

  1. I do the same thing often…. dreams inspire me to write a story …but as always dreams are bizzare it doesn’t have a start and an end…I use little part of a dream to start my story and lengthen them with my creativity 😉…nice to see your works 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t say that I’ve had a dream that inspired a story. I have had dreams that I used in stories. I think your post is so interesting. Dreams have a “real” place in literature. I was reading a novel not so long ago, and I remember at some point, it read: “He fell asleep. He had a dream.” Even now I recall how immersed in that moment I became. I wanted to know what the dream was about. Dreams in novels have a quality of intimacy I think. There’s something so strangely surreal and yet, so believable. And part of it is the “twist” that dreams often reveal. Such as the “lion” motif in your dream.

    Thank you for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Paul. One of the “rules” of writing I’ve seen a lot is “Never start a story with a dream.” I’ve been guilty of that before, but I try not to worry about it. I’ll put the dream in somewhere else, or the whole story is simply based on a dream. It’s fun. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. To be honest, I never remember my dreams so I couldn’t rightly say. I’ve been inspired by weird things though, like a picture or magazine article. As long as the inspiration keeps coming, I won’t question the source!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d love to read a story about this mother. How about making the reader believe that the child is fine and making the mother believe the same but surrounding the mother with panicky folks who want to appeal to the mother’s lesser angels.

    I was thinking about when the Dalai Lama “title” passes from one to the next. I think the “incoming” Dalai Lama is found (sometimes as a young child) and taken from his family to be cultivated into the next spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Or think of arranged marriages, or any other event where the “chosen one” is not a victim but rather a champion of some something

    That’s a story I’d like to read: a our-children-are-bigger-than-us tale.

    .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been working on this story as we speak, and it’s coming out in a way that I like. It’s really about the mother dealing with her loss and learning to let go. Ever since I read “The Forgetting Time”, I’ve been dealing with this idea that our children don’t really belong to us, but to “God” or “The Universe” and that we’re really just stewards for these precious souls on earth. But of course, as a mother, that’s really hard to reconcile! There’s this sense of possession mixed up with the love. I’d love for you to read it when I’m finished, if you’re interested.

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