“I had interesting dreams last night.” Those words escape my lips at least 3-4 times a week, but I seldom write down the details. Even now, as I sit at my laptop and draft this blog post, flashes of the dreams slow my typing. I believe very firmly in the power of dreams – not that they can always be taken literally. If so, our cars would either be spinning out of control, have brakes that don’t work no matter how hard you press them to the floor, or speed in and out of lanes with no consequences. Oh, wait – some already do the latter!
Though dream interpretation is more figurative than literal, there are some instances when my dreams have meaning, depth, and insight. Those are the ones that feel so real that when I wake up I’m still envisioning what I saw. I try desperately to close my eyes and continue but to no avail. And when I don’t write them down, the intensity fades. That is, until I lay my head back on the pillow the following evening and the images form like a moving picture.
Plenty of professionals study dream interpretation and the mind’s amazing inner workings. I do not claim to be either. I find dreams to be wholly fascinating and at times immensely spiritual. As such, I’ve infused this belief into my YA novel. “Gracie’s” journey is enhanced through her dreams, through visions that guide her, some that puzzle her, and others that feel so real that they can’t be anything but.
As we move through this existence we do so at lightening speed, racing through the day with little time to stop and relax. To simply be present. How many of us get to work early, eat lunch at our desk, make phone calls during break because that’s the only time we have, and go home to clean or make dinner? Plus, if you have kids, there’s the added tasks of bath time, brushing teeth, and getting them to bed again and again and again. By the time you finally get to relax, it’s 9 o’clock and you need to be up for work by 6.
Vivid dreams inspire creative work, excite interesting conversations, and give you the opportunity to actually ponder life’s hidden meaning. If you believe there to be one, that is. I don’t believe meanings are hidden; more so, we don’t give them credence because it could hinder our routine. I don’t always take my dreams literally, but there are images, emotions, and circumstances when I am inspired. For instance, I had a dream where I yelled at a priest because I didn’t agree with his tone or message he gave with children present. I stood up for myself. I stood up for my beliefs. I woke up and felt immense strength and a bit of embarrassment that I’d clearly been hanging on to some spiritual resentment. In my dream state, I felt no fear in voicing my opposing viewpoint in the presence of a religious leader. It didn’t mean I was going to yell at the next priest I saw in the grocery store, but it gave me confidence and prompted a spiritual awakening.
Those are the instances that drive my character’s development. Whether imaginative dreaming or something far more real, “Gracie” must find her own strength, her own motives, and her own purpose. I venture to guess that many of us can say the same!