posted on July 30, 2009 11:38
The subconscious mind is an interesting thing to behold, especially when you examine what rises to surface during the dream state. I think 99% of all the fiction ideas I’ve ever had have been because of a strange dream I’ve had. In fact, the novel I’m working on now is the product of two dreams that I had at very different times in my life. After years of holding onto those two ideas, one morning I realized that they weren’t separate ideas at all, but were actually completely linked together. Combining the two ideas was that magical piece I was missing and once I realized they were linked together it really took off. I’ve mined my subconscious for story ideas because I don’t know what else I would do with those story ideas running amok in my brain. I write because I’m compelled to do what my brain does on its own, and it makes me happy.
Whenever I’m asked about that mythical place of “where my ideas come from” I always reply with the old standard “I just have an overactive imagination.” But the truth is, I’m not sure where these things bubble up from. I don’t sit myself down and try and make something up; for me, story ideas and characters come to me. When I’m writing in the flow it doesn’t feel like work at all, and sometimes it feels like taking dictation. My rational brain totally recognizes that I am the product of all of my millions of experiences and sensory inputs. But the dreamland is where my brain just seems to play, regardless of any experiences I’ve had. I’ve never murdered someone, but one striking dream I had involved having a full-on conversation with a character who was a serial killer. I was able to ask him questions about why he did what he did, woke up and had a story idea ready to roll. Sometimes I get a story full-formed, sometimes I get just a snippet, but it’s always like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates – I really never know what I’m going to get and that’s half the fun. I really do love surprises.
As a personal update, my dance resolve slithered to absolutely nothing Monday night. On my drive home I completely convinced myself to stay home and be responsible. I even left the voicemail with my amazing carpool buddies saying “You know, I really have so much to do. But I can be easily persuaded.” So Lisa, being the great dance enabler that she is says “You know, you should really come tonight.” And I said ok and that was that. It was dance heaven, dance glory, and I had multiple swingasms. I discovered that I am hooked on balboa, what Myron, my dance pusher, has termed “the crack cocaine of swing dancing.” He was right, it just takes once, only once and you are hooked. I really want to make a concerted effort to really, really learn balboa now after seeing just how amazing balboa can look. My jaw was on the floor. By the end of the night, I thought I was going to slide to the floor along with my dance resolve – I was pretty convinced I had died and gone to dance heaven. I had some much needed girl time as we all shared our dance crushes in the car ride up (mine include Ben Yau, who I danced with last Saturday night, and Marcus of the famous Marcus and Barbl, and after watching Laura teach the lesson, I’m not ashamed to say I have a wicked girl-crush on her dance moves, too). And my dance greedies know that in the midst of my dance crushes (or DC’s for short), there is also a CC (a crush crush, who shall not be named) that BAM! hit me like a ton of bricks. I don’t swoon, I always keep my cool, but Monday night I got so weak in the knees that I wasn’t sure I could stand. Unflappable me done got flapped – and it feels marvelous.