the wheel of dreams

dream fishThoughts about dreams—fictional, speculative, factual, speculative fictional.

fish dreams come at sunrise
blowing in on westerlies
they’re caught by fisher folk
with hooks on their kites
strung together and laid out
on the beaches of yesterday
to dry and harden in the sun

When we dream at night, our dreams are chaotic and random, fragments of memories put to together like a poorly made jigsaw puzzle by the dream cockatoos. In the morning when we wake up, our conscious mind rearranges the dreams, smooths them out and makes them coherent.

Then we have new memories—memories of our dreams.

Jakaira the queen of the mists
beachcombs the night sands
unseen and unheard
she carries forgotten fish
to the clouds where memories
blur and dissolve into dreams

It’s a circular process, a wheel with memories turning to dreams and dreams turning to memories. It might stabilize on one recurrent dream that reinforces itself, which happens often enough. But if we could remember our dreams before our conscious mind got in the way with its interpretations and assumptions, we might recall them in a less coherent, more jumbled form, closer to the originals.

Although incoherent memories and chaotic thinking might not be too good for say, performing open heart surgery, they might be useful for writing spec fic and other creative endeavors.

One way to remember dreams more accurately is to use Salvador Dali’s technique—he used a mechanical trick to wake himself up abruptly when he fell asleep. For example, you could ask a friend (or possibly an enemy) to tip a bucket of cold water onto you in the middle of the night.

Personally, I prefer the meditative approach. By calming and clearing the mind, you can recall your dreams close to the way they really are, and see if their chaos helps your creative chaos. Plus it’s a lot drier.

when daylight burns the fog away
and the dream fish dry on the shore*
the wheel has made one turn
and tomorrow waits for another night
with dreams of mist and Jakaira


*except for any pieces fed to the cat, obviously

10 thoughts on “the wheel of dreams

  1. Something about this post just sounds so beautiful and inspirational! I just posted about dreams and creativity on my blog, the link is t0bec0nsidered.wordpress.com/ if you would like to take a look 🙂 Great post, I look forward to reading more of them!

    • Thanks for the kind words. I almost deleted this post after I wrote it yesterday, but the wood ducks insisted that I post it. Admittedly they helped me with it by paddling in Georges River and quacking. At least they said it was helpful.

    • They’re planning to open their own twitter accounts @quackquackquack and so on, but they’re still not very good with the keyboard. They need a larger one with bill-shaped keys.

  2. I liked your fictional factual wisdom about dreams! :-), loved your blog, too. Neurophysiology, once most fascinating and favourite subject during my post graduation days, now I am more in to clinical cardiology. Will keep coming back here, for sure.

    • Thank you Nehal. This blog is about speculative short fiction, poetry, and a little art. Not my research, because I’m generally confused enough as it is :).

  3. Cockatoos and wood ducks! I remember some of what I dream, usually some distorted version of what I used to do for a living.

    • Makes sense, Dream cockatoos are like real cockatoos: they’re not fussy about what they chop to pieces. Several times, I’ve dreamt equations, computer code too.

    • At least once, I have composed a poem in my sleep. Someone gave a challenge to use six words in a poem, and I had not thought of anything when I went to bed for a nap until my wife (who worked a different schedule) got home. I woke up with the poem in my mind and except for a few word changes, it was mainly a matter of getting it all typed up for I forgot anything.

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