“We are such stuff as dreams are made on.” William Shakespeare, The Tempest
“Asa’s decaf fruit tea” – when I woke up this morning, this phrase was floating in my head. I can only recall a fragment of the dream that triggered it – something about a group of people dancing around a fire. That’s it. Nothing more to go on.
Is this a message from my subconscious? Am I supposed to be including someone named Asa in my children’s story? That might work. Or write a short story about Asa? Who knows? Not me!
Dreams are like that, aren’t they? Often you can only remember a tantalizing fragment or a fleeting scene when you wake up, though I’ve certainly had dreams from time to time that were so vivid and complete I felt compelled to jot them down. They are sitting in a file somewhere.
Dreams my be elusive, but they are surely among the most valuable tools in our creative kitbag. I’ve read stories of scientists who solved thorny problems that had bedeviled them for years in a dream: I think the double helix model of DNA came to one of its discoverers one night.
And here’s a fascinating fact: The author Robert Louis Stevenson depended heavily on his dreams for story ideas. Whenever he was short of cash, which was often, he would call on his “brownies” –- little dream-inducing sprites — to send him a saleable story concept. According to Stevenson, the dark, tangled tale of Jekyll and Hyde came to him in a dream. It began as a short story and he later expanded it into a novel. Impressive!
Where’s all this going? I’m not sure. It’s like the phrase I woke up with rattling around in my head: It’s just the whisper of a theme that I can’t quite pin down. Still I may find a use that for the name “Asa.” And I did manage to conjure up this post from my wispy nocturnal ramblings.
Think I’ll Google “Asa’s decaf fruit tea” and see what happens!
How about you? Have you ever found helpful writing fodder in your dreams? If so, I’d love to hear about it as we all write on!