Most of my stories come from my little book of dreams that I have beside my bed. If I have an especially inspiring dream that I know I will have no recollection of the next day, I quickly write it down (mostly with my eyes closed because I’m just not someone who likes to wake up in the middle of the night. I have problems trying to decipher the almost illegible hand-writing the next day, but these are the sacrifices we have to make to tell a good story).
Dreams are a magical place to be, be it the dream where Robert Pattinson decides to move to my town or where the drier insists on having me for breakfast. The extremely interesting ones are those Inception ones where you think you’ve woken up but you’re still trying to fight off the singing roses that look strangely like George Clooney.
In Asia, dreams aren’t seen as just a mechanism for digesting and processing our everyday experiences. We believe that dreams have meanings. I’ve had my share of premonitions where I woke up knowing if something was going to happen that day. I dreamed that my first novel would be published before the day my inbox made me the happiest person on the planet. Even before that pregnancy test hollered yes, I dreamed that I would have a son. I dreamed that one of my blog entries had a spelling mistake. I woke up all panicky, checked and lo and behold there was one miniscule error that had changed the whole sense of my sentence. I even dreamed about the deaths of my parents before I received those heart-rending calls from my siblings. Why? How could my mind have made up stuff that would be true someday? I don’t have the answer to this and unless Apple comes up with an app that can answer all our cosmic questions, I don’t think I ever will.
So what are dreams? Popular theories say that they are our mind’s way of tidying up the legions of information that we receive every day. Some say they are the lives of our other selves in a parallel universe (LIKE). Others say that dreams are related to DNA memory: things that happened to our ancestors mixing in with our own daily lives to portray a story that makes little sense for those who weren’t there. Freud had a majorly disturbing theory which I can’t repeat here because my underage nieces and nephews read my blog. Who gave that guy his degree anyway? I like this explanation though:
“.... Instead, he (J. Allan Hobson) suggests that dreaming is "…our most creative conscious state, one in which the chaotic, spontaneous recombination of cognitive elements produces novel configurations of information: new ideas. While many or even most of these ideas may be nonsensical, if even a few of its fanciful products are truly useful, our dream time will not have been wasted.”—Kendra Cherry, “Why do we dream?”, http://psychology.about.com/od/statesofconsciousness/p/dream-theories.htm
Hooray for us writers! But that still does not explain the prophetic quality of dreams and why many Indian people see their deceased family members beckoning them to the afterworld days before their own demise. It’s scary yet fascinating and as a writer, it gives me the feeling that there is more out there—that my stories and the tales that I read could actually be happening somewhere else. If you’re a frequent flyer on my blog, you probably would have noticed my fascination with the supernatural by now. For those newbies, please don’t freak out…I’m Asian (self-explanatory).
To make a long story short (and a short blog entry sound longer), our dreams give us the opportunity to be someone else for a night. Bad dreams help us appreciate the beauty of reality—that the lurking shadows and evil warlords turn to dust when you open your eyes. And good dreams…well, how often do you get to share a broken down elevator with Josh Duhamel AND Bradley Cooper?