Working Dreams

In On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King writes about the source of his book, Misery.  He fell asleep on a plane and woke up from a dream with the situation for his novel.  He transferred it to a cocktail napkin and then during a sleepless night he wandered down to the main desk at his London hotel and asked for a quiet space to write.  The Brown Hotel offered him the desk where Rudyard Kipling wrote and died.  That dream planted a seed.  He paid attention and the rest is history.  A friend who’s a best selling novelist told me that she dreamed the last scene to one of her books before it took full form.  "I wrote the whole book to that last scene," she says. 
Dreams are fertile ground for the creative spirit.  They serve up scenes or situations.  They propose solutions to challenges and they urge us to persevere even when we feel dejected and rejected.  In a recent dream, I’m helping a child learn to structure words.  She’s my creative baby, my creative self.  Working with her required great patience, as working with any child might.  In the dream, I wanted to take a break, but kept on working to draw the words out of her.  I knew it meant to nurture my creative child and keep on writing though I’d lost some of the taste for it.  Discipline and determination will get the words into a polished form. 
In another dream someone handed me a salt grinder.  When I turned the grinder, huge, indigestible chunks of salt fell onto my plate.  I opened the top to put the salt back in it.  Inside the grinder I found a kinfe, fork and a pen.   I knew when I woke up that the process of rewriting (which isn’t nearly as fun as drafting) will make the work palatable.  Without doing the grinding (rewriting and polishing), no one will consume my book or find nourishment in it. 
Do your dreams help you in writing and life?  I would love to hear some of your stories. 
copyright: Debra Moffitt-Leslie, April 2009

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