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In dream life, the mundane becomes exotic: a whole re-education in observing the ordinary. Dreams are these odd, mysterious, and dangerously beautiful little packages that unravel themselves when you are at your most vulnerable. The dream world has been a fertile source of writing for centuries. For anyone who’s interested in trying this out, and especially for writers, I recommend keeping a keep a notebook by the bed so you can write down your dreams immediately. They’re so evanescent that if you wait until the morning, they’ll most likely have disappeared. Experienced dream loser here!
My dreams can be a sequence of strange events or images, or a single truncated scene. For example, in one dream I was fronting a punk band and screaming “Life is death!” In another brief one, I was watching a television show about two French comedians who sat on the floor and played guitar. They pulled a lot of faces and sang songs. They ended each song by doing somersaults and ending up with their shoes up against the camera.
Often I’ll add details from my dreams into my fiction. A whole story developed from the punk band dream. It’s called “The Stob of Ob” (you can read it here at the Turk’s Head Review).
But the following dream was already developed in short story form. The language is as close to what I remember from the dream. It’s the first dream I’ve had with an actual narrative voice:
He looked at what she’d written, and laughed and said, “That’s it.” And they both laughed but she couldn’t look at him because he’d disappear and she would miss him in the way that the body misses music.
When she walked along a street, he’d arrive behind her and when she looked he’d gone inside somewhere or he’d turned into a metal pipe or a gas gauge.
And she walked along and laughed aloud to think of the music she had written with him. And she heard him laughing, too, and she knew he was thinking the same thing.
Enjoy an excerpt:
Sometimes she goes to stand at the bottom of the garden, pretending to tidy up the compost heap, and allows the forbidden thought to come: divorce.
She can only whisper it. It’s a bad word. Bad people do it. But in the Woman’s Own magazine at the doctor’s office, she read that Elizabeth Taylor had done it. She’d done it so many times that it was just part of her normal routine. Get up, put on face cream, divorce Richard. How daring it sounds, so chic. Sunila practices. Get up, put on Johnson’s Baby Lotion, divorce Arjun. I’ll just divorce him and he can take his disapproving face and jump in the lake.
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