The Strange Nature of Dreams

I’m starting, slowly and surely, to get to the point where I’m going to get cracking (properly, for realsies this time) on what will likely be my first novel. I’m planning for it to be a fun process, though at the same time I know it’ll be a tough thing to do. Getting it done around work and general life will be far from easy, but that’s like anything else that’s worth doing.

Anyway, some key segments, which may make their way onto this blog as excerpts, will be centred around dreams. I mean actual dreams we have in our sleep, not aspirations and goals. I think they’re going to be hard to represent and portray, too, as they’re often unintelligible, confusing and immediately forgettable. Well, they are for me.

I often struggle to relate to how dreams are portrayed in movies and popular culture. In many cases they’re largely clear aside from some basic camera filters, or they involve wackiness and bright colours; of course, they’re often narrated in full and with no blank spots. Yet after I dream I often struggle to remember the bulk of what happened – what lingers is the general emotion they triggered, and that’s where the impact is. Again, that’s just my personal experience.

Sometimes the majority of the dream is a fuzzy mess in my memory with the exception of a stand-out moment, normally the point at which I wake up. Sometimes they profoundly affect me, too. Early this week I had a pretty horrendous dream, a nightmare, and like the worst of those it blended reality with a semi-unlikely event. It wasn’t fantastical or crazy, but it had a horrible denouement that rattled me, and I’m only now shaking it off. Part of this is likely my over-sensitivity, but also the fact that in tenuously clinging to reality my bad dreams can strike too close to home.

I want to make dreams an important part of my project, though doing so in a non-derivative way will likely be one of the biggest challenges. I feel like it’s something that, if portrayed well, can be a powerful narrative device. That’s because, in my life, dreams are important and influential on my mood and, sometimes, my broader thinking.

In any case, I’ll see how the idea evolves in the broader scope of the novel. I’m also hoping that the next time I’m awoken by a dream at 4am, it’ll leave a more positive impression.