Dreaming

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November is a month of darkness and dreams.  Relentless storms with the hint of winter in them make the days darker, the skies greyer.  The air freezes, riming the roofs and crisping the grass.  Horizons are misted by rain and fog.  And when the rain pauses, the wind stills, and the sun peeks above the horizon, the world is flushed with gold.  The beginning of winter has a surreal quality.  The contraction of the body against the cold, the contraction of the mind against the darkness makes me feel that I’m not truly present in the world.  It couldn’t be a better season in which to dream.

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Dreams are the space between sleep and waking.  Borderlands, where we exalt in our whims or become trapped in the thorns of our fears.   They are night enchantments, where we live other lives, or distorted versions of our own,  a gossamer existence on top of our reality.  Perhaps we leave our bodies in the night, as some cultures believed, to participate in the events of our dreams.   Perhaps it’s true that there are deities who send us dreams, demons that curse us with nightmares and creatures that feed on our essence as we sleep.  Or maybe dreams are simply a way to understand the world without the intrusion of our conscious mind.  It’s no wonder that for thousands of years we’ve sought meaning from our dreams.

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Dreams don’t give up their secrets easily.  They conceal meaning behind layers of symbol and distortion, a jumble of reality and imagining.  Dreams are wisps of thoughts and impressions left behind in the memory.  Things often don’t make sense, or our recollection of them is so hazy when we wake that we can’t grasp the sense of them.  They are fluid, merging into one another.  Sometimes they are effortless, sometimes frustratingly tangled.

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Daydreams don’t have the chaos or mystery of the dreams that seek us out in the night.  But they are another borderland: a place of drift and retreat; a slice of enchantment conjured just outside the real world.  Night dreams visit me unbidden, but I create my daydreams.  I tend to daydream when I’m stationary because daydreaming requires focus.  All those adults who have ever told a child to stop daydreaming in the misconception that they’re being idle, were mistaken.  It takes time and effort to construct a daydream, to build a world that can be seen, heard and tasted.  The line between daydreaming and visualisation is thin, lacking only intention.

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My life is imprinted with thousands of dreams, remembered and forgotten.  There are many ways to dream and I do it with a pen in my hand.  I write my daydreams down and call them stories.  What are stories, if not dreams of the imagination?  When I conjure a story it’s a type of dreaming.  There’s a space in the back of my head where the story unfolds like a reel of film.  Ephemeral and sometimes disjointed.  Like a foggy day or the blur of rain, it can be difficult to shape or grasp the sense of it.  But story-making is like lucid dreaming.  I can step inside the story and midwife it into being.

116 thoughts on “Dreaming

  1. Wow, this is so powerful, Andrea. Love this: “Dreams . . . Borderlands, where we exalt in our whims or become trapped in the thorns of our fears. They are night enchantments, where we live other lives, or distorted versions of our own, a gossamer existence on top of our reality.”

    And this: “There’s a space in the back of my head where the story unfolds like a reel of film. Ephemeral and sometimes disjointed. Like a foggy day or the blur of rain, it can be difficult to shape or grasp the sense of it. But story-making is like lucid dreaming. I can step inside the story and midwife it into being.”

    It’s so true that when I’m writing, the story is foggy, unshaped and out of sequence at first, but somehow it eventually unfolds clearer and linear.

    This post is a keeper.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Teagan – the photos are dreamy just like your post. Daydreaming takes patience, too, doesn’t it? I think that’s what can make writing hard sometimes – being patient with that part of our mind that is working and tuning into it without the distractions of reality.

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  3. What a wonderful way to view this time of year. A time when it’s easy to not be so present. My weather is much like yours, and my least favorite days are ones when the cloud cover is so thick, I need to use headlights during all times of day. Today, the clouds are all the way down to the treetops. Dark.

    Beautiful piece!

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  4. Lovely, Andrea. And you’ve confirmed to me that other people see their stories playing out like film reels. When I mentioned this at a recent writing workshop the tutor was astonished. I found her reaction bizarre but then only one other person there agreed with me and that was only half heartedly.
    Your pictures really do capture the mood of your writing. Great stuff.

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  5. Again Andrea, your gorgeous narrative and photos evoke a creative, mysterious mood for this dank season of daydreams.I find this time of year is when my creativity flows, a time for the mind to wander and then create. I spent too much time daydreaming as a child…so I was told 😉 Your first photo especially is stunning, I can’t stop looking at it. Lovely post Andrea, thank you…xxx

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  6. I’m a big daydreamer–always have been. Over the years I have learned to turn those daydreams into creative moments. I wish I could remember my night dreams–I bet there would be more creative opportunity there. Beautiful post.

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  7. Your beautiful writing and dream-like pictures suit each other. I have long thought of my dreams as expressions of feelings that I need to process. Months after my divorce from my first husband I began to realize in my dreams that forgiveness was taking place, both for myself and for him. When I look out my window and am drawn into a poem I am awake but caught up in my musing world. Good other-worldly stuff. Thanks for your lovely piece. ❤

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  8. I love this, Andrea, and you’ve captured it perfectly for this season when Nature goes dormant and things slow down. I particularly love the photos and what you said about dreams, “They are night enchantments, where we live other lives . . .”.

    I’ve had a variety of dreams that have changed over the years. In times past, I’ve had visions I didn’t quite know what they meant, some traveling dreams and others anxious dreams where I was desperately trying to finish something. But lately, they’re mostly where I’m working with people on different projects. I guess dreams are there to help us process life and keep us connected with creativity and the worlds beyond.

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  9. Andrea, your photographs are just spectacular. I want to be transported there and slip in to them. And as a daydreamer (well, hey, look at my blog name LOL) all my life,and someone introspective of my night dreams, this post really resonated with me. Lovely.

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  10. Mmmm, this was absolutely lovely, Andrea. It is clear from your ability to write with such fluidity and present apt photos that you have a rich imagination and true skill. Thanks so much for guiding us down this path of peace. I know I will dream well tonight.

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  11. Magnificently said, Andrea! Walking along winter’s edge, we’re not present and hyper-present, everything immediate and amplified even while the mist obscures and distances. I find myself so anxious for the moment when you can almost hear the rain become snow. And I love what you say about “the line between daydreaming and visualisation is thin, lacking only intention”; I really do feel like I’m writing all day long, even though I may not be setting down the words.

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  12. what a profound post. you definitely find your way by moonlight and see the dawn before most of us. The Australian aborigines believed our souls were traveling in our dreams and I tend to think so. I often end up in the most unusual places! But yes, it does require effort to dream by day in so many ways, because creativity often follows. Thanks for this post Andrea in this dark and sometimes depressing time of year. I mentioned you in my post. Your images are wonderful and mysterious!

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  14. Wow your connection wit dreams and November was quite the read, way to be unique sawgrass. We would love your feedback on a few of our Short stories at Gastradamus. So please check out Miss Scarlet and Blue Jasmine. It would be up your alley. Your feedback would be incredible

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  15. Andrea – Once again, I am pleased to be drawn into your descriptions of the natural world, and I happen to be passionate about dreams and dreaming. I have kept dream journals since high school, and the dreams reinforce my love of the symbolism that I find in literature. Fascinated with symbols (which both conceal and reveal), I love the journey of solving riddles that occur in dreams. Lately, I pray each night for dreams and their wonderful revelations. Thank you for paying attention to the nuances of the weather and the spirit!

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  16. I like stepping inside dream-like states as I write.. and you have encouraged me to do so on this dark November day, Andrea 😉 The fog in some of those photos you’ve shared is incredible – it always has such an eerie vibe when I’m out on a day that’s foggy!

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  17. Just beautiful. I’ve been thinking about dreams lately because of something my cousin Jeane (yup, that one) wrote to me about her dreams. Those repetitive ones. Are the people who remember their dreams the ones who spend more time “daydreaming”?
    That first photograph just grabbed me–and won’t let go.

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    • Thanks Luanne, I wonder if there’s a link between daydreaming and remembering dreams – I often don’t remember them, but there are some I remember from years ago and some that, when I dream them, I think, oh yes, I’ve been here before…

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      • Me too. I still vividly remember a dream I had when I was a little kid (younger than 8, maybe 7). I even wrote it up. I ought to share it sometime on my blog–maybe somebody can interpret it!

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    • Luanne and Andrea – I have wondered about that too. Have heard that it gets easier to recall dreams if one is paying attention, taking them seriously, and evaluating/analyzing them. I love the mystery involved. For example, I have had dreams in which things occurred, and then those things occurred in reality — about three years later. Also, I have long periods of time in which I do not dream, and I find that troubling. What are your thoughts about nightmares?

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      • I think nightmares are probably the result of negative feelings in your waking life, unless they’re a direct result of being unsettled by something, such as when I watched the Hammer film ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’ when I was a child! But I used to have a very abstract re-occurring nightmare as a child – I would see two lines and I knew that I was running along them and being chased. When the lines ran out and I saw a mish-mash of browny colours I knew I’d been caught and would wake up screaming. I have no idea what it was about or what it was connected with, but I had it many times. Fortunately, I rarely have nightmares these days. Another thought – do you see yourself in dreams or do you see the dream as though you’re in it and looking out – I think that in many of my dreams I watch myself…

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      • I have both kinds of dreams, Andrea, both being an observor and a participant, and sometimes they are blended together. Being interested in dream interpretation, I have listened to the information by John Paul Jackson (Streams International Ministries; he passed away not too long ago, but his ministry continues as his staff has carried on) and Doug Addison (dougaddison.com). You might find them interesting! Of course, ultimately, we have individual dream symbols, but occasionally, something so strange will occur in a dream that I consult outside sources to help with interpretation. I am also at peace with not being able to interpret, though I do find it pleasing to understand a dream more than not understand one. I do not watch horror films, as I know that would result in unwanted imagery and nightmares. For me, tensions can create nightmares. Thank you for your thoughts and ideas!

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      • I’m sorry, Carla; I can’t engage with this horrible thing. I think it’s something bad, and so I don’t want to get lured into it. Plus, it does make me look like a narcissist that I think my writing can alter what happens ;)!

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  18. Beyond the gorgeous writing here, Andrea, is the idea of the importance of dreams. It’s a funny thing, but I’ve been thinking about how much dreams guide my characters. In fact, the story I’ve been working on today (just before I read your post, actually) has the character listening to imagined music and real ‘music’ of clothes thumping in the drier and she goes to sleep. As a writer, I also try to lucid dream and take lots of inspiration from the weirdities I do dream up; maybe that’s cheating, but I’ll take those imaginings and do what I can with them to make sense of the world.
    Finally, simply put, I love your writing (and the photos, too). So very ambient and elemental; I can live inside your words!

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  19. Such a beautiful fog in your pictures, Andrea. It mutes colours and sounds, and invites dreams and mysteries. After admiring the photographs I read your post, and enjoyed every word. Sometimes dreams are more substantial than happenings in a real life.

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  20. The leaving of your body to participate in dreams, reminds me of Susanna Clarke’s novel, “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell”, in which the character Emma Wintertowne takes nightly excursions into the Land of Fairy.
    About daydreams — Having spent the first three decades of my life daydreaming, one day I made a conscious decision that none of these daydreams should be allowed to float away into the ether, but instead captured by my pen and committed to paper. So yes, story-writing is a taming and structuring of daydreams.
    I’m loving the frosty weather this week, now it’s come down south, too. You’ve probably already had many more weeks of it up your way.
    Wishing you plenty of happy dreaming, Andrea 🙂

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  21. I’ve been thinking recently about how incredibly good your writing is and how privileged I feel to read it for free. I was also thinking how pleased I will be to walk into a bookshop one day and ask for your book and pay money for it. Your writing seems to be getting better and better or maybe I should say deeper and deeper. Thank you. You deserve a large readership.

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    • Thanks so much Vicky, that’s a lovely compliment! I hope you’ll be able to pay money for a book of mine one day too 🙂 Speaking of which, I’ve been collecting your crime novels to read in the last few weeks, I have one missing and then I’m going to read the series.

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      • Thank you! I just had a weird thing happen which was that Vena Cork a crime writer I know read the first one Bloodless Shadow and discovered that the building Sam (my protagonist) has her office in was where her son had his studio. It’s a small small world sometimes!

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  22. Your daydreams present us with great beauty. And I agree, we don’t give enough time for daydreaming, and silence. Of stories, it occurs to me that one of our greatest stories, the Christmas story, featured dreams of great importance. 🙂

    Like

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