There are dreams and then there are dreamed thoughts, or dreamed sentences, just waiting for a story or a poem to arise from them. Over the years I’ve awakened from dreams with only the memory of a line or lines that I wrote in the dream, the dream itself having receded into that uncharted place where all dreams reside. I’ve heard of stories inspired by dreams, such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. And I wonder now if any of the writing itself came from a dream.
I’ve never developed any dream lines into full-fledged stories, but I certainly have a collection to choose from. I’ve written them down on old scraps of paper, in notebooks or online, and later when I come across them they tug at something inside me, asking for more. Below are a few of them, and I realize they may not have the same effect on others, but I record their existence here just in case someone else can relate.
Here’s a poem (or part of one, anyway) that I wrote in a dream. I had scrawled the lines on a scrap of paper and was handing it to my Russian professor, who made an appearance in the dream. (I believe it was inspired by a Pushkin poem we were reading in class at the time):
I love you
as the stars would love you.
They long to come closer
but it’s not in their nature,
so they remain in the sky
shining for you.
Several years ago I dreamed of a girl looking out of a window while a gauzy curtain fluttered in the wind, obscuring her face. That’s the image I held onto, and I wrote this line in the dream to evoke that image:
The lambent flame of a curtain fluttered across her face.
Another time I woke up with this line in my head, though the dream itself was completely gone:
The transformation of sheer might into beauty.
And just one more, a bit of writing that was the result of dreaming about photography – one of those dreams that consist mainly of thinking and ruminating about something, rather than actually doing it – sort of like what’s going on in this post! Here’s the line:
Photography freezes a dream and lets you return to it again and again.