Friday, May 15, 2009


blog43 There are lots of great stories out there about artists, inventors, and entertainers who got their best ideas through dreams.  How can I get in on this process? 

Rolling Stone Magazine has an entire article about the impact of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” on rock and roll.  The famous riff for the song?  It came to Keith Richards in a dream one night in a motel room in Florida:

He woke up, grabbed a guitar nearby and taped the music racing through his head on a handy cassette machine. Richards played the run of notes once, then fell back to sleep. "On the tape," he said later, "you can hear me drop the pick, and the rest of the tape is snoring."

And then, of course, we have Coleridge’s Kubla Khan.  The full title is Kubla Khan or A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment. Coleridge stated that he'd written the poem while waking from an opium-enriched dream. A visitor came unexpectedly to his door, shattering his dream and the images he was hurrying to commit to paper.

Salvador Dali called his surrealistic masterpieces (above) ‘hand-painted dream photographs.’ They were inspired by his dreams and hallucinations.

Elias Howe invented a better sewing machine after a particularly bizarre dream involving cannibals waving spears with holes in them. Apparently the movement of the spears indicated to him a way to make his machine work.

Some of the people on this list may have had particularly vivid dreams induced by certain mind-bending substances.  But I wonder—are there any writers out there who get bits of ideas or dialogue or story ideas directly from their dreams?

Because, frankly, my dreams are remarkably unremarkable.  Most of them can be categorized this way: 1) I’m back in middle school/high school/college and can’t understand my schedule, forgot my locker combination, or am not fully dressed.  2) I’ve forgotten to feed a neighbor’s dog and cat while they’re out of town and the poor beasts are ravenous in the neighbor’s house.  And pooping everywhere.  And I can’t find my neighbor’s key.  3) I’m back at some dearly-departed relative’s house.  They’re alive.  I’m not a child, though.  And their house has REALLY changed—it’s sort of like my house as an adult, it’s sort of like their house…and I’m totally lost.

You get the picture.  Random insecurity dreams.

Are there others out there cursed by pedestrian dreams?  How do we get out of our dream rut?  :)  It would be nice to explore my subconscious a little….