Dreams · Writing

Vivid Dreams and Incidental Irony

Thoughts and words are powerful. What we say; if we say it consistently enough, can steer our attitude and where we go in life. Me being a Christ follower, I have heard the following verse pertaining to the underrated power of words spoken:

“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships for example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.” -Proverbs 3:3-4

Thoughts are often looked upon as unspoken words from the heart. Even in the form of  vivid dreams they can be powerful enough to create a whole alternative life and reality too, as composers have known to get their masterpiece inspiration from their dreams. John Lennon wrote a bestselling song based on a dream he had, with the chorus repeating a phrase he heard in his dream. A Beatles musician, Paul McCartney composed the melody for “Yesterday” which gone on to be the most covered song in music history based on a dream he had, then promptly went to figure out the exact chords on his piano after waking up. Not only musicians, but creatives from other fields have done the same, such as Salvador Dali in his painting of The Persistence of Memory. Authors have reported the same, one of which is Mary Shelley, who spawned her Frankenstein novel from a vivid dream she had following a conversation about reanimating corpses with electrical currents with her then-lover, future husband Percy Shelley.

I have had my own experiences with vivid dreams where I can remember details upon waking up, and currently I am touching on the topic of dreams because I just had another one last night and I need to clear my head. Of late, my dreams make me think a lot more in terms of their content and context, what they could possibly mean and even where they could possibly lead beyond the parts I recall so vividly.

In the past, my vivid dreams evolve around me being chased, one of which was about me being chased by two guys wearing polo shirts in a industrial area, where I was sprinting, leaping over small grey toxic pools in the grass and trying not to breathe because of the airborne toxins in the reckless waste disposal. Recently it seems that my vivid dreams are no longer that simple.

My last last(previous) vivid dream was a lot more complex- evolving around some violence and crime taking place in a seemingly European area, which I only remember vaguely. The part which I recalled vividly started from me entering a open-air, open concept bar because I was a detective facing alcoholic withdrawal, who also happened to be suffering from amnesia in which I remembered nothing except for being able to understand the case and information I was after and apparently later in the dream, who my team were.

Interestingly I had gone home in the early morning after spending a few hours drinking at a bar with my church lifegroup mates celebrating someone’s National Service enlistment prior to having this dream. How alcohol made its way into my dreams I’ll never know, I have drank at night in the past quite a number of times and apart from sleeping lighter, experienced no such lucidity as this.

I’m currently trying to develop the dream I had ^ into a coherent story idea and have come up with several themes that are close to my heart which I deem worthwhile to broach about in writing. Coming up with the framework proved to be the easy parts, creating a whole new universe which significant things happen and contribute to the flow, story and character development and progression are the uphill tasks, quite another thing altogether. Due to my previous attempt and experience of writing a story and hence knowledge of potential writing dead-ends -of which I have mentioned earlier in my first post Deja vu of a writer and literary firsts, I’m going to leave it aside first until I obtain further enlightenment on how I can develop that literary piece.

Upon talking to my mother about it this evening, I suddenly realised that the vivid dream I had last night had a common theme. Although the setting was vastly different, I was also suffering from amnesia in the dream, though as a health patient (mental health plausibly). Merging these two dream concepts together as means of developing my draft could be one way, though I think it challenging to link a amnesiac detective with receiving healthcare treatment that seems to be on the side of mental health.

In regards to the prerequisites and requirements needed for police work, these elements seem contradictory somehow. It’ll also mean I’ll have to eschew my own idea of shipping my detective character with her high school best friend in the very distant future down the storyline, as my most recent dream entails me finding that I’m astonishingly already married although I have no recollection of any related memories, thanks to a journal from my distant past (in the dream, not my real life) the husband has kept all along.

Again, I find it impossible to write romance and I don’t receive any joy from doing so, however it is indeed ironic that romantic elements end up playing a part in what I want to write about in the distant future and even that it would make a cameo appearance in my vivid dreams. Not to mention, romantic development is also the brick wall I smashed into metaphorically with my first story attempt on Wattpad which led to its abandonment- again, as mentioned in my first post.

Although I do not want to write romance right now I am positive about the joy involved in fleshing out the dream into a short story, even if it is not a romantic story and of a different genre. Romance stories which consists the element of amnesia are a dime a dozen these days especially online. I shall gracefully decline in partaking anything that’s already been done over and over. Alternative available possibilities are endlessly there for me to employ.

There’s a phrase I heard quite recently and it’s coming back to mind now. “Dream big, be faithful with the small things.” Based on what my dreams are doing, I have no problem in the former and it is also something beyond my own control. For the latter I shall heed it and bring last night’s dream concept into a short story workshop I intend to attend next month. It will be an interesting opportunity for me to learn first hand the basics and I have a gut feeling I may just enjoy the whole process.

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