In your dreams


Last night I was watching part of a documentary about musician Townes Van Zandt, when he began to speak about a song he wrote in his sleep.


This immediately sent my mind off track, thinking back on poems, melodies, images, characters, and stories I’ve created in my dreams (or from my dreams).  Sometimes, I wake up with these creations heavy on my mind, but they fade before I can write them down.  Othertimes, as with Townes Van Zandt, I’ll write them out somewhere in the middle of the night, and find them in the morning.


Even more perplexing are the times when I dream about writing poetry or painting pictures or snapping photos.  It’s a 50-50 toss up as to whether I’ll be able to remember what I’ve written/drawn, or whether I’ll just wake up and kick myself all day, because I can remember dreaming about writing the poem, and creating the picture, but the words and images will forever elude me.  And then, of course, there are simply the amazing and interesting things I see in my dreams which find their way into my stories and pictures.


One of my favorite paintings by Salvador Dalí (a favorite artist of mine), is entitled, On Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bumblebee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening.  This is but one artist’s attempt to bring the dreaming world into the artistic world.  For many, the dreaming world isn’t merely a casual affair of unconsciousness, but an entirely complete and malleable reality.


How do your dreams influence your work?  Do you work out characters, plotlines, color schemes, rhythms, dances, or artistic themes in your dreams?  Do your dreams inspire your art?  Do you ever fall asleep with the deliberate intention of working out your art in your dreams?


6 Responses to In your dreams

  1. Jaye Wells says:

    I’ve woken from a dream convinced I just had the inspiration for a fantastic story. Then when I sit down to write it out it makes no sense. But sometimes there’s a kernel of goodness in there.

    I often have dreams where I see myself writing and can see the story in the dream me’s head at the same time. Freaky stuff.

  2. JLB says:

    Jaye, I know the feeling. There are plenty of those “this is GREAT!” moments where I think I’ve got gold, but laid out on paper, it’s just a pile of straw.

    Isn’t it funny the way we can watch ourselves creating things within the dream, only to know that they’re gone when we wake up? Gives a whole new dimension to the impermanence of things. 🙂

  3. Bernita says:

    Sometimes dreams provide solutions to problems I’ve been working on with a WIP.

  4. JLB says:

    Bernita, I once knew someone whose mother would solve problems by reading them in her dreams – literally. When she couldn’t read the solution somewhere, then she knew she needed to keep working at it!

  5. jason evans says:

    I wish I had more vivid and creative dreams, but they tend to be very mundane and unmemorable. Dumb things like driving from place to place.

  6. JLB says:

    Jason, perhaps you could try planting a thought in your head before you go to sleep, and seeing if they pick up the tempo? Perhaps decide a place you want to visit – some place exotic, and keep that in your mind as you fall asleep. 😉

    I do a lot of “driving” when I have my “traveling” dreams (of which there are many) but the funny thing is, often times I’m “driving,” but there is no car… it’s more like cruising around like The Flintstones or something. 🙂 I just love dreaming!

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