Dreams are an amazing phenomena. I'm not referring to the personal goals and ambitions type of dream, but the full-blown, Fuji-coloured, action-packed kind of dream with bizarre characters and You get to fly! And when I say fly, I really mean, flying.
I use to get a lot of flying dreams when I was working the midnight to dawn shift in a busy city hospital blood bank. This was a job where blood was cross-matched to transfused into accident victims, emergency hemorrhages, stabbings or anywhere blood was needed. During my shift, there was never a slow moment. By the time I got home to my bed, my dreams were jumbled and I was flying. Several people have told me this was a sign of stress and flying was the escape route. When I moved into a less stressful occupation, my dreams had morphed into an adventure series, but I was still flying high. Back then, I was taking creative writing courses in my leisure time. One instructor told me never to lose this edge because my assignments showed an active imagination and unusual creativity. At that time, I think the unusual bit was the fact that I could just pick up the dream the next night and continue my adventurous wild ride.
Eventually as I mellowed and matured, the dreams became fewer and rarely had me flying at all. Instead of stresss, I found that certain foods would activate the dream state. The other night I discovered the sumptuous taste of hot French bread stuffed with a simple cheese and crab filling. I'm not sure if it was the overindulgence of cheese and crab that made my subconscious go into overdrive when my head hit the pillows. As the dream progressed, I wanted to wake up and take notes, but I was too afraid of losing the thread of any coherent thoughts. Two things I do remember clearly: I was flying again to escape something dark and evil; and my Dad, who died 14-years ago, was there telling me I shouldn't have eaten so much of the cheese and crab appetizer, even though it was good. My Dad loved stuff like that too.
I do believe dreams are a necessary part of a writer's creative process. A writer can still be creative without the dreams, but dreaming makes the process so much richer. Having Fuji-coloured, action-packed dreams peopled with unusual characters enriches the imagination. Just take notes and remember where you can fly to retrieve them. . .