Dreaming and Writing

Today I met with my dream group. Once a month, a yoga instructor, an origami artist, an environmentalist and I spend an afternoon sharing dreams. We catch up, eat, and read dreams from our dream journals. Kind of like a critique group, only we don’t suggest changes to our dreams. We do try to understand them, and sometimes we act them out or create art inspired by them.

When I started keeping a journal, I had almost zero dream recall. Now I’ve filled volumes. Here’s my stack of dream journals, which comes up to my elbow.


So what does this have to do with writing? First of all, there are thousands of stories in those journals— snippets of stories, mostly tales that only fascinate me. Have you ever noticed that no one is really interested in your dreams but you? However when I look back in old journals, I see characters or situations that I did include in stories later, without remembering that I dreamed them first.

Australian aboriginal people believe everything in the past, present, and future originates in dreamtime. Makes sense to me.

When I was a kid, I took piano lessons. Those scales I practiced everyday were never played in a recital. Maybe remembering and writing dreams is like that— practice looking at the movie that’s always playing in your head— the one writers spend a lot of time trying to access.

Whatever purpose dream work serves, it’s fun. Today the group was at my house.  Figs, chocolate, and cherries. Yum! And more fascinating tales from Dreamtime.

If you’re interested in dream groups, here’s an2010 article from the New York Times about dream groups, featuring my dream group and several others.









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