Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dreaming at the Idea Garage Sale

Apparently, I had an idea in my sleep last night. I had a character, a college student, who budded off different personalities on a semivoluntary basis, kind of like role-playing characters, except they manifested physically; kind of like split personalities, except they acted simultaneously and didn't have to share a body. At one point, a clinically depressed persona contemplated uninventing herself.

So, dream inspiration, right? Mary Shelley took her Frankenstein nightmare, which barely had a concept in it, and made a classic, so I could do something with this, too. Well, maybe. Except the dream itself made me feel so bad I woke up in the middle of the night, depressed. It was like being trapped in a room with the TV blaring repeat episodes of a tedious show about unpleasant people. I can see, intellectually, that the concept has some potential, but I disliked the dream so much I don't want to think about it enough to realize that potential. Maybe, when the aftereffects have worn off, I'll do that. More likely, I'll forget all about it. After all, it has no potential for use in the current book project, which is a realistic historical novel, and I need to focus on that.

That's the way it is with dreams. We all have them, all night long, and sometimes we make brilliant connections, but almost all the time we lose the connection, and sometimes even the imagery, shortly after waking up. That probably means we don't need to access this stuff with our conscious mind. The conscious mind is not the be-all and end-all of our existence, and the subconscious has needs, too. Many people maintain that the conscious and subconscious can be trained to work together through the use of dream diaries and so on. Maybe so. It's never worked for me, but a lot of things don't work for me that work for other people. Like, coffee. Steak. High-heeled shoes.

So what are your great dream ideas; and can you do anything with them?