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I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Friday, August 7, 2015

How I document dreams

Dreams are packed full of creativity, because they're not controlled by the conscious mind. They're also the way our unconscious mind sends messages up to our waking thoughts--though they're coded and metaphorical and strange. I've been recording my dreams in diaries and journals and notebooks on and off since middle school (sometimes I go through phases where I don't remember dreams for long stretches of time), but there's always the issue of recording a nonlinear dream in a linear way.

I feel like that imposes an order on the dream that isn't naturally there.

So I came up with a system for that. Down the middle of a page, I write down the dream in whatever way it presented itself, trying not to force it to be a narrative. Then, along the blank column to the right, I add in extra details--all those things that the act of writing jogs loose, all the things that happened out of order or at the same time, all those bits of backstory or other off-screen knowledge that you just know in dreams, for whatever reason.

Then along the left column, I do commentary--try to link the metaphors to things I know or have been thinking about, link the locations and themes to others I've dreamed of before, try to identify the tropes of my own dream-language. I think that books on what dreams mean are mostly pointless because everyone has their own dream language, and that will take up more space than the archetypes we all share because the dream language will be based on whatever you, personally, have seen and thought and experienced, how you personally feel about things.

And I think knowing your own dream language makes gettin the knowledge out of your dreams easier.

That column I also where I ask questions, and later, when future dreams answer them, that's where I connect the dots.

This isn't a hard and fast system. Sometimes, I mix up the left and right purposes. But I always write the dream down the middle of the page and annotate it on the sides, and it's so much easier to get a realistic representation of the dream when I'm not forcing it into a strict narrative!

From dreams, I've gotten all sorts of story ideas--and I've gotten all sorts of snippets of personal truth about fears, hopes, real motives.

Do you guys record your dreams? Do you have a method? What do you get out of remembering dreams?


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