Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mental Movies and the Things Dreams Are Made Of

Since returning from our trip, I’ve found myself in a wonderfully interesting place in my head. Once I actually got accustomed to sleeping for longer snatches of time, my find began filling in the space between my ears with a large movie screen. Each night I get to sit in the front row and partake of the movie of the night.

I’m never disappointed, though there have been mornings when I remember the movie selection from the night before and wonder at the creativity involved.  I’ve been on battlegrounds, along shorelines watching for ships to approach. I’ve gone on hunts on horseback amid a group of obviously experienced huntsmen. I’ve found treasure and lost loved ones. I’ve sat at table with my grandmother presiding and talked with my family, reminiscing and thoroughly enjoying myself.

It’s been a grand time of movie watching. Last night’s triple header was a real winner. A war fantasy about a Middle Eastern Princedom and the military coup that puts an insane teenager on the throne that makes things far worse than they were before began the night. Navy S.E.A.L.s and native rebels were in pitched battle while a young native woman was trying to secure her family and hold onto a method of communicating with the outside world. Secret rooms held whispered conversations among rebels. Revolting acts of brutality marred every turn of the rebels escape route. In the end, the good guys did win their freedom, but at a terrible cost.

The second feature was a light-hearted comedy starring BJ and two enamored middle-aged men who were both determined to help her with her photography. The piece got really interesting when I informed them of her ever-present phobia of heights while they readied a cherry-picker to get her high enough to take aerial photos of a particular landscape. The resulting activity had me in stitches as I watched their antics and BJ’s response to them. This, too, ended happily for all.

The last film was probably the best of the night. Jim Belushi starred in a comedy about marriage, boredom, and a wife’s determination that it turn out in her favor. I rolled through that one, mental popcorn in hand and anticipation in mind.

I woke laughing.

This is the kind of thing that’s been going on in my dream life since moving into this apartment.

I can look at those three mental flicks from last night and figure out the triggers for them. I read an article yesterday about trouble in Syria and the heavy negative response to the torture and killing of a 13 year old boy. That made for the first film of war. The scenario that followed the beginning of the dream seems a natural outcropping of that story.

The second film undoubtedly came from an incident that took place here last evening. Details aren’t important, but the trigger makes perfect sense for me.

That last dream film was probably an offshoot of the second as far as characters was concerned. My mind evidently needed the comic relief from yesterday’s frustrations. The almost slap-stick quality to it filled the bill nicely.

My question after all of this is “Do you watch full-blown mental movies in your sleep and do you know where they came from?” Another question for the writers out there is “Do you ever use these dream films for stories that you write and submit?”

On top of that question is one other about us as writers. Do we dream differently, more completely, than those who don’t write? We’re always looking for interesting bits of news to pin a story on. We scour reality, news stories, and even commercials looking for characters to sprinkle in those stories to make them unique and memorable.

How big a part do our dreams play in our creative life on paper once we’re awake?

Help me answer this question. Do you use your dreams or parts of them to write stories? Let me know by dropping an answer in a comment and leaving it behind.

Until later,



  1. Hi Claudsy,
    Congratulations! Your comment on my blog placed you second in the recent giveaway. Please contact me at so that I can send you your book and Holly Schindler "swag."
    Best wishes.

  2. Thanks so much, Valerie. I seldom, if ever, win anything. I'll love having another book to devour.

    Please drop in here any time and brouse when you have the time in your busy schedule.

    I've already sent you my addy, so all should be well.

    Thanks again.

  3. Great post, Clauds. I find story problems will sometimes work themselves out while I'm dreaming. Even if I don't remember the dream, I'll wake up knowing what the next step in a story is. Fun, isn't it?