Home » Progress » Art » What is There in These Dreams We Dream – Stories? More, Less?

18 thoughts on “What is There in These Dreams We Dream – Stories? More, Less?

  1. Whether they “mean” anything or not, dreams are facinating. I’ve always had very vivid dreams and can still remember ones that I had as a young child. Have you ever had a dream where you realized you were dreaming? That’s amazing stuff!

    Your dream was very interesting and well written. The theme of it (how a lingering illness/death of a loved one affects families) is universal. You may need to add some context for the surreal aspects of the dream in order for it to work as a stand-alone short story. If I didn’t know this was a dream, the fact that they lived in a hospital would have distracted me from the rest of the story. This has definite potential, though!

    • Thank you so much for your input! I’ve been experimenting with surrealism in my stories and wondering how to get the balance right. I thought this dream would be a good way to start a conversation on the subject.

      Yes, I’ve also had those dreams where I know I’m dreaming! I haven’t changed the direction, or decided to fly or anything though, the way some people can. I always want to see how the dream ends itself!

  2. Dreaming stories and writing stories are almost the same thing, aren’t they? Just that in one, we are conscious that we’re the ones spinning the tale. So that’s why it’s so important to pay attention to dreams– they are told without the hesitation, doubt, adherence to rules, self-awareness and criticism that always accompanies my conscious storytelling.
    But then, people usually don’t enjoy hearing other people’s dreams for exactly that reason– because they don’t conform to rules of storytelling. They don’t make sense, they don’t end, we might not see backstory or context, etc. So if we’re going to share our dreams as stories, we might need to tweak them a bit.
    I think that this story could definitely be worked into a stand-alone piece with a little more detail about who these people are and what their relationship is, and an ending that feels done (did she go down or not?) (that’s where the tension is– will she choose her man/life/future or her father/death/the past?) I really like the surreality of the setting– how surprising it is that this hospital setting is where they live, that they have been living with imminent death for so long that it is figuratively and literally where they live (i think this could be played with a bit more, it is quite an affective/effective detail).
    Thank you for writing this! I feel very excited and inspired by your process! Will you post it again if you change it? (and thank you also for the kind mention here!)

    • You’re quite welcome for the mention, and thanks for your input! I hadn’t noticed the fact that the characters had been literally “living with imminent death.” Not only did you point out an important detail about the story, but you illuminated the dream for me a bit! If I come up with changes to this story, I’ll definitely repost it on the blog and ask more questions.

  3. I completely agree with The Girl in the Hat. The hospital-in-the-house setting really sticks with me – it makes perfect sense in my head, but I never would have thought of it on my own. I would love to see you play around with that setting and expand this as a story just a little bit.
    I love the interaction between the (husband and wife?) I wish every guy could be so honest about what they are feeling in a relationship! I don’t think we really need to know whether she goes downstairs or not, though. Once you get into that can of worms it might take pages to find another good spot to end!
    As I read this I imagined it as a short film in my head. It would be awesome if we could figure out a way to shoot this over the summer, if you’re interested. I know it’s a challenging setting but there’s got to be a way to do a hospital/house… maybe in some low-budget Michel Gondry style?

    • How did you know I was itching to do a short film? I want to know what it’s like having some of that control I’ve seen on movie sets. Are you thinking of yourself as the director? We definitely need to talk! Thanks for your feedback!

    • I echo what everyone else has said, especially Jasmine — I also love them living above the hospital, and don’t think I need to know whether she goes downstairs (in fact, I feel very strongly that she will, so it’s not a question in my mind).

      One thing I’ve noticed about surreal or even just plain fantasy stories is that when you know the story is going to be that way, you can let go of the logical part of your brain that wants to know why. So if I read this as a straight short story, of course I’d be asking “why do they live there? how did that happen? what kind of a world is this?” because logic/realism are important to such stories. But if I went into this story expecting that this world wasn’t going to match up to the normal world — if you were somehow able to tip me off to this right away — then when I got to that point about the location of the hospital/house, I wouldn’t wonder. And it would allow me to consider the metaphorical/emotional meaning of these two places being situated where they are.

      As someone else who has vivid and strange dreams (thank you for the shout-out!), I hear you on wanting to find a way to successfully translate these beautiful, unconventional visions into art. I’m sure there’s a way to do it and I’m excited for us to figure it out. 🙂

      • I really appreciate your input on this, Lisa! I am going to work on making this sort of story work better by making it’s nature more apparent somewhere near the beginning. One way that Girl in the Hat and I have both used, was to let a poetic tone open the mind of the reader. I want to see if I can make it work without an obviously poetic tone. I know that this has been done successfully before, especially in longer works, but I want to experiment with it myself, working in my own ‘voice.’ I’m excited for us to figure it out, too!

  4. This would make a cool short film! Great post. I have added your blog to my blogroll. Have a great day 🙂

  5. I agree with the comments above, whether we can figure them out or not, they are usually interesting/fascinating to ponder. For me, other times the events of the past day can be re-seen in symbols throughout the following night’s dream. This was a very interesting post to read, thanks for sharing.


  6. PS: I don’t often remember my dreams but last night I had a very VIVID dream that I remembered clearly when I woke up. My mom was in it, that always makes me happy, I miss her so much (she passed on 3 years ago). Perhaps reading this post yesterday and bringing the topic to mind in this interesting post was what allowed me to dream last night and remember today as I did.Thanks again. G

  7. Intriguing. As you and others her have pointed out, this is a very visual piece. If you can weave in the mystical and the metaphor — something you certainly can craft – it would be a wonderful. This is a story of a woman’s sense of love and responsibility as a daughter and a wife. It is also an inner journey, with a spiritual message. We long for that connection to source. If we can’t access it in our daytime life, our dreams take us to it.

    The hospital can be a symbol of the physical body. It is intimate because a key is required to open the door. Both men are different aspects of herself — the old father, in his pained sleep, shows the growth on his head — a symbol that transformation is at hand. The old man is actually an aspect of the woman — who is evolving, and moving past that physical realm. It is not an abrupt change. It is a process.

    Like St. Teresa’s 7 mansions, the 6th mansion is the lovers, a higher realm. The woman climbs the stairs to that space of higher consciousness, filled with moonlight: nurturing, female yin energy, and intuition. The husband is her opposite side, the yang counterpart, completion. She knows change is in play, she has prepared for it over the years. But, she also knows that she has to tend to herself, rest, heal, feel held, loved. And she is.

    Re, it’s a beautiful story.


    • Thanks, Toni. You’ve given me a lot to think about here. Someday I hope to come back to this dream and fill it in, treat it more like a real story and make different decisions about the structure. I’m glad you found it intriguing. Thanks for saying it’s beautiful.

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