Tag: Dream Incubation

Dream Incubation Continued and Awesome Interview

Yesterday I posted about dream incubations, and I said I would write down a question and try and stimulate my dream to help assist with my writing.  Then I would share it today.  My question was: “What scene should I write about next?  What is the next memory that I should include in my memoir?”  Well, like all good insights, the dream didn’t seem to be related to my question at first.  This was the same problem many of my students had, but you must, in order to follow the exercise, write about your dream and allow your thoughts to develop freely.

So last night, I had a dream that a literary agent had emailed me out of nowhere to tell me she loved my blog, and she wanted to represent my book.  I was excited in the dream.  My goal was finally met.  But I wasn’t sure what book she was talking about.  Didn’t she know I was working on a revision?  And as I was writing this dream down, it hit me — I haven’t been focusing on the book and the craft.  In reality, I have been focusing on what I had to write to score an agent.  And until I put the thought of the agent out of my mind, well, then I will never really be writing.

Tonight, I will put the same question under my pillow and see what happens.  I did get some great writing done this morning, however.  I wrote about the time I was sent to see a child psychologist.  I didn’t want to go.  I was about 11, so I came up with this plan.  As soon as I met the psychologist, I was going to say the worst things possible.  So, when he opened the door and stuck out his hand, I said, “F-U-C-K you.”  He didn’t know what to do.  Neither did my mother.  I sat down in the chair, turned it to the wall, and giggled for an hour.  Basically, I wrote a few scenes involving the child psychologists I saw.

I also have some awesome news.  Today, I interviewed David Ulin, book critic and author, for a piece on Joseph Mattson.  Well, he’s an amazing guy, and he had a lot of great thoughts.  That was an incredible experience.

But as I said in the beginning, I would also share the negative news.  I’m getting pretty nervous about my student loans and making sure they’re taken care of.  It will be fine, but there is just a bit of anxiety about them.  I feel, even though it’s embarrassing, it’s important to share these details, too.

Dreams and Writing — Incubating Inspiration

Last night, I wrote a post that included some thoughts about dreams, and I can’t tell you how important I think dreams are to writing and art in general.  I’ve incorporated this thought process into my own craft and teaching.  As part of my creative writing class at the rehab center, I had a week-long unit — it should have been much more — on dreams.  It was called, “Images and Dreams.”

For that week, I had them read Stuart Dybek’s, “Pet Milk,” and I introduced two writing exercises called Dream Incubation and Dream Reentry, which I stole from a podcast from a University of California Berkley psychology professor.  Basically, the exercises function on the principal that dreams are images generated by your unconscious that are trying to bring to “light” ideas, memories, thoughts, or emotions to your conscious thoughts, which the dreamer has suppressed.

Well, I always talked about in my class that writing was an act of discovery.  We used freewriting to see what was “on the mind.”  And I prescribed to the idea, which is talked about extensively by John Gardner, John Dufresne, and many other writers, that writing is dreaming.  I forget who it was, but they called writing dreaming in reverse.  My buddy Gonzo would know.

So with all this in my mind, I taught my students about dream incubation.  What this means is that you use dreams as a way to fix a problem or answer a question.  Have you ever been really struggling with an idea, a poem, a story, an essay for class, and no matter how hard you tried to find the answer while you working, you just couldn’t do it; but then, as if out of nowhere, the answer hits you in the shower, on a walk, or in a dream?Psychologists believe that this happens because your unconscious is till working out the problem even when you’re not aware of it.  Dream Incubation is a way of stimulating this process while you’re awake. Continue reading “Dreams and Writing — Incubating Inspiration”