What happens when you keep a dream diary?

My hand scrawls softly across the page in the pale predawn. Ephemeral fragments of half-remembered sights and sounds, desperately salvaged as they disappear. Too amazing for words, yet words are all I have. My hand keeps moving, keeps scribbling, sketching out vanishing images in my medium, words both powerful yet woefully inadequate. The logic in my brain has yet to fully awake, leaving me free to scribble out the crazy, senselessness. Impossibilities play out in thin ink, ridiculous and insane.  My hands at last stop, wakefulness fully washing over me in the new sun’s light. The few details I could harvest are now spent; the rest has vanished, forever irretrievable.

I sigh. A moment of closed eyes, a moment of thankfulness for what was saved. I open my eyes and read. What wonder, what strangeness! The fragments scribbled in my uneven hand are strangers to me. From what corner of my soul came they? Is meaning hidden within? Could I divine some future or unknown truth from these odd fragments of subconscious? A silent scoff enters my mind – ah, that’s my logic, awake now. Dreams are nothing, merely the brain making peace with old learnings and paving the way for  fresh knowledge, my logic tells me. I smile, shaking my head. It matters little, I decide, whether dreams hold magic, or are side-effects of an ever-growing mind. They are miraculous, odd, and dearly welcome worlds within to explore and cherish.

And that, folks, is why you should have a dream diary! I’ve been keeping one for a while, and even as a writer, it seemed a little pointless. After all, I cannot honestly say that a story worth publishing has come directly from my dreams. At least, the writing in my dream diary doesn’t seem to have directly inspired any final product. I can’t be sure, though, because what if writing out what I could remember helped me figure out some tangentially related idea that did make it into my regular writing? Ah, that’d be much harder for me to see happening!
That’s the best reason to keep a dream diary, I think. The gonzo stuff you write might not make it directly into any of your stories, but it comes from the same corner of your psyche.  Writing out as much as you remember helps bring out the creativity and weirdness that makes fiction so appealing to readers and writers.

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