I've had dreams on my mind a lot lately…. not dreams of future successes, but those nightime screenplays that dance behind our eyelids. In part, this recent dream obsession is because I've had a favorite song stuck in my head. When I taught at Milwaukee Jewish Day School, at the eighth grade graduation, students always sang a Debbie Friedman song called “And the Youth Shall See Visions.” I don't have a video of the choir doing it at my school, but here's a version if you're unfamiliar with it:
And, if it becomes an earworm for you, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Often in this blog, we share ways that we gain inspiration. We've talked about writer's notebooks, keeping lists, using holidays, writing prompts but we haven't talked much about our dream life. A writer friend of mine, Laurel Landis, was inspired by a dream she had to write a story that was later published in Rosebud Magazine and was runner-up in their Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley contest.
Famous songs and books inspired from those nighttime screenplays include:
I love a quote I found by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) who described dreams as occurring in “that small theater of the brain which we keep brightly lighted all night long.”
My attention to my dream life comes and goes. At times, I can go weeks without remembering anything from my dreams. Then, at other times, scenes – vivid and strange – stay with me when I wake up and I write them down in my journal. The other morning, I woke up with a sentence in my head:
“He sat with the book in his lap, surprised by the weight of things he didn't know.”
And, yes, I wrote that down and am working on a story about him, the book and what he didn't know. A story that came from a sentence that concluded a dream. A gift.
So, when have dreams given you ideas?