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Friday, August 14, 2009

In Dreams

My fascination with dreams began in junior high. I was into all things occult and shopped regularly at this new age shop in my town called New Moon. I purchased tarot cards and a book of Gypsy Love Spells. I think the Gypsy Love spell book got me into the dream thing because there was one spell where you put something under your pillow to dream of the man you would marry. All I got out of that dream was blue eyes... (Though as it happens the man I am marrying does have blue eyes!)

But I also started to notice that my dreams were really vivid and some of them were coming true... like this dream I had about a good friend of mine, I dreamt that our friendship would end terribly and then, lo and behold it did!!! I had a few other dreams like this and figured whoa.... Maybe I'm a psychic dreamer!!!!! (Now of course, I have two theories. The boring one is that I simply picked up on the tensions in my life subconsciously and my mind extrapolated likely outcomes. The more interesting one is that puberty does something to girls' brains and does make us a wee bit more psychic or at least our dreams are more interesting like they are when women are pregnant.)

So I set aside Tarot and love spells and focused on dreaming. I bought a cool book called The Dreamer's Dictionary from the occult store and then, errrr, acquired The Dream Dictionary pictured above from the mall. (Yeah, I had a little bit of a klepto problem in junior high, though I only stole from "the man" ie corporate stores, not that that made it right and I eventually quit when I got caught at Walgreens.) The Dream Dictionary introduced me to Freud. It seemed like every thing I dreamt about, if I looked it up in that book, it symbolized sex. What the hell? I thought. I'd only just started lusting after boys and by lusting I mean, I thought they were cute and I wanted to go on dates and hold their hands. But still, I dutifully wrote down my dreams every morning when I woke up and looked up their meanings. I bought lucid dreaming tapes to try to dig deeper into my psyche (or further stir those psychic abilities I thought I had).

The dream obsession waned as a new obsession began (the Ouija board and communicating with ghosts who would tell me which boys liked me... Okay so maybe I was a little boy crazed, but seriously not sex-crazed like the Dream Dictionary was trying to telll me), but I still have both dream dictionaries and I did look up my dreams throughout most of high school and my early twenties.

I still have incredibly vivid dreams fairly frequently and often wake up my fiance to tell him about them. He always responds, "How do you remember them so vividly? And man you have weird dreams!"

It's good that I trained myself to remember them at a young age because about a month ago on the eve of my 30th birthday, I had a really, really insane dream about the end of the world as we know it. I woke up from the dream and tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. And then I started to wonder if I changed the personal details if it would make a good story. When my fiance awoke, I told him about it.... And then I emailed my agent about it... And a week later I was still thinking about it and when one of my critique partners came over I told her about it.

"Wow," she said, "that gave me goosebumps."

And I said, "But can I pull it off? Can I write something so other worldly? Realistic fiction is what I do...."

But the dream... I can't shake it. It's expanded into a bigger story and I'm trying to get the confidence to take it on. Because when I was working the other night I overheard a snippet of some customers' conversation. "Creative people, like writers, sometimes they have dreams and those become their masterpieces, their greatest work...."

I don't know what the hell these guys were talking about and they didn't know I was a writer or even listening to them (as I was mostly embroiled in watching the extra innings in the Sox game and doing dishes), but it seemed like a sign. I mean, my junior high school self would definitely think so. She would think it meant that this dream would led to the greatest story I've ever written.

I'm not sure it will be my next book since it's going to take some real world building in a way that I'm completely unfamiliar with, but I think I probably will chase this dream...

So what do you think about dreams? Have any crazy ones that came true or led to something cool?

Oh and PS. My cyber launch party for Ballads of Suburbia on my blog ends today. You have the weekend to catch up on this week's blogs and comment to enter those prizes and for the grand prize which is a basket of MTV Books so if you want to read all of these fabulous authors' books, enter! stephaniekuehnert.blogspot.com


little miss gnomide said...

I've always had vivid dreams and have always believed that they mean something. I don't always remember them. I also have awake dreams. I have daymares. (Nightmares while I'm awake.) My dreams sometimes scare me. I wish I understood them better.

My husband's family came here from Italy and were both Catholic and pagan gypsy. He was taught a lot of very interesting things. Let's just say, he's read my cards before.

Great post, Stephanie.


Kathleen Foucart said...

I have the same Dreamer's Dictionary (the linked one, not the pictured one), also purchased when I was in middle school and became obsessed with dreams :)

I also tend to remember my dreams in vivid detail, after training myself to do so in my teens...

I've only had one dream I really want to turn into a book (a time-slip) but I haven't quite gotten the right voice yet, and I can't start it until I have it.

Fantastic post! :)

Pup said...

always have vivid dreams. I remember 99% of dreams and I wake to tell my partner and he always says I have loony dreams and it's wierd that I remember them so well. I too have expirienced meeting someone who I only know from the 'dream world' who I have not seen for sometimes years. It's a very strange thing. I didn't have an obsession or interest in my teens as I thought everybody was like this. It's only from talking to my partner of 15 years that I have realised that it's quite unusual and want to know more about it. I also sleep talk (usually when angry and wake myself up) and sometimes sleepwalk. I had an end of the world dream when I was a child and I remember it to this day. It was so vivid and the most frightening thing is that it involved things that I didn't know at that age scientificly. It was so in details it still spooks me. When I was little I had dreams that came true, but as previously mentioned this can sometimes be for other reasons. I'm glad I'm not alone! I'm in my early 30's and only just started looking into this.

Anonymous said...

A little over a year ago I had a vivid dream that wouldn't let go, and it became a book idea, and I wrote one. Biggest regret I've ever had in my life. I thought it was an opportunity, but it must have really been a warning I didn't listen to. If I had looked at it a different way, I would have made a different decision that would not have resulted in a year of painful mistakes and endings. Dreams definitely do mean something, but sometimes it's not what you think.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE dreams and remember them vividly. Love trying to figure out what they mean. You know how they say that other people's dreams aren't interesting? That's probably true, but your own are always fascinating.

Jenny O'Connell