The nocturnal shennanigans which most artists get up to would shiver a great many timbers in the forest of experience. Show me an artist, writer or musician and I’ll show you a person who has a rich and complex dream life. It’s the fertile ground from which we harvest ideas for everything. Got a bad case of writer’s/jittery block? Go to sleep and I guarantee something or someone will appear in a dream which will unshackle your mind and free your soul.
Poets rely on dreams for their very sustainence and I know musicians dream melodies and lyrics. As a writer, I’ve dreamed entire poems as well as small passages that became the seed for more than nine short stories. We do, say and experience some incredible things in that nether region of the subconscious mind and to ignore it is foolish and wasteful for any artist. I won’t delve into the psychic or spiritual nature of dreams, such as OBE’s, lucid dreaming, astral travel etc but anyone with a creative bent can attest to the supernatural aspect of this area of consciousness. Something is going on when we close our eyes and submit to the vastness of the dream landscape, something called creation.
There are so many infamous examples of us picking ideas off the dream tree: Paul McCartney dreamed the melody for the song ‘Yesterday’, Mary Shelley dreamed the story ‘Frankenstein’, and here is a quote for you to think about, from Robert Louis Stevenson on his novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
“For two days I went about racking my brains for a plot of any sort; and on the second night I dreamed the scene at the window, and a scene afterward split in two, in which Hyde, pursued for some crime, took the powder and underwent the change in the presence of his pursuers.”
How about dem apples? Now I shall leave you with another tidbit that is not unique to Robert Louis Stevenson, but was par for the course for writers in the old days, as it highlights the almost religious dedication and obsessive love these architects of literature had for their work. It also shows what spoiled and occasionally inept bellyachers modern writers can be. Try doing the following with all the time saving technology you posess:
Stevenson said of his now classic novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it was “conceived, written, re-written, re-re-written, and printed inside ten weeks” in 1886.
Not too shabby eh? He wrote a freakin’ classin horror story in ten weeks! That sure puts me in my place, how about you? 😉