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Dreams & Inspiration

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Thoth and I were having an interesting chat about dreams and inspiration and thought it worth of having its own thread. So here are the questions of the day:

 

Have you ever dreamed anything useful? Perhaps dreamed up a plot for a new book or a fix for the one you're working on?

 

and

 

What inspires you? Do you have something you can always turn to for inspiration or does it come on a whim to randomly hit you over the head?

 

Thoth had some good quotes about dreams, I'll let him post them, but if you have any quotes or authors, poems, etc. that inspire you feel free to share them!

 

May your muses never quit.

- Joules

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Hi all.

Julia Grace pretty much covered the introduction so I'll just add my favorite poem about dreams and then my 2¢.

What happens to a dream deferred?

 

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over--

like a syrupy sweet?

 

Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.

 

Or does it explode?

- Langston Hughes

This could apply to writers and their inspiration. It could apply to a lot of things. Truth be told, this is one of the most deconstructed poems in American literature (although it probably takes a back seat to Ernest Thayer's Casey at the Bat). It would probably help to know that its original title was "Harlem" and was then changed to "A Dream Deferred" to be more accessible to the rest of America. But, of course, the author's intent means little to a deconstructionist. (Some people actually believe that "Casey" is about the overthrow of capitalism. Ah, fun with literature.)

 

So, have I ever dreamed anything useful? No. At least not that I can recall. I typically dream about flying and rarely remember the details.

 

What inspires me? I could give a useless general answer to that ("Why, life inspires me, good sir or madam.") but why waste your time? I think the thing that inspires me the most is other writing. Even when I watch TV I can't help but think about alternate plots and especially alternate (better) endings. The thing that inspires me second most is a picture. I'm just one of those crazy people who sees a picture and immediately makes up a story to go with it. The weirder the picture the weirder the story. (Ever take a good look at Julia's icon: the little white lab mouse in the bowl of Brussels sprouts? Don't tell me you can't think up at least three good short stories to go with that picture.)

 

How about the rest of you?

What inspires you?

- Thoth?

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I'm definitely going to have to add him to my list of authors I need to read.

 

Let's see... I've never really dreamed anything useful. I almost did once. I think I dreamed a poem, but unfortunately can't write in my sleep, so I don't have any record of it. Unlike Thoth, I've dreamed about flying only once, but I remember lots of my dreams. I remember dreams I had in preschool. ^_^

 

I rewrite things too Thoth! I often find myself rearranging sentences or rewriting them completely when reading, especially if I'm unimpressed with the writing. I suppose that's a tad bit terrible of me. :lol: I do the same with movies and stuff too, though mainly I just notice all the plot holes and thin plot they have and think about how I would fill them in. It's hard for me to enjoy a movie that falls short on plot or has some gaping in consistencies. I annoy some of my friends with that. <_<

 

What inspires me as far as my poetry goes? Outside of my own emotions, other poems and song lyrics are my biggest inspirations. It can't just be any poem or song though, it has to poetry I really love or find intriguing and usually whimsical, unique, or "hey that's a cool way to put that feeling" song lyrics. A Fine Frenzy often inspires me and Owl City is looking like the newest kid on the block of my inspiration.

 

As far as stories and fiction go, it's different than with poetry where I get a specific idea from a phrase or word, I think it's more akin to throwing all the stories I've read and liked into a big pot and stirring them around for a while to make a stew my brain munches on while trying to come up with it's own ideas.

 

My animals are of course some sources of inspiration, but currently my cats are only inspiring me to throw them out the windows in the middle of the night when they jump on the vacuum and turn it on at 1am. ^_^

- Jools

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Oh and pictures inspire me too, though they generally inspire me to create my own pictures or artwork more than writing about them. I do want to pare my poetry with my images though, so there is some play between the two, one inspiring the other. I have a picture of some gum on a curb that was stepped on and turned into a heart shape and I feel the poetry hiding in it, I just haven't been able to pull it out yet.

- J

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...I remember dreams I had in preschool. <_<

They say those are the most powerful. I don't actually believe in dream interpretation as a way of discerning the inner psyche. Sigmund Freud believed, for example, that flying dreams represented a yearning for sexual release. If so then why did I also have them as a prepubescent? (Advanced for my age or just a horny little kid?) In one sense, I believe that people dream about what's on their mind so maybe there is some validity to the sex thing. Who knows?

 

I rewrite things too Thoth!...

Great minds, etcetera etcetera.

 

A Fine Frenzy often inspires me and Owl City is looking like the newest kid on the block of my inspiration.

I'll look into it!

 

As far as stories and fiction go, it's different than with poetry where I get a specific idea from a phrase or word, I think it's more akin to throwing all the stories I've read and liked into a big pot and stirring them around for a while to make a stew my brain munches on while trying to come up with it's own ideas.

Nope. I never mastered the whole stew/salad thing. For me it's more like the LEGO® Shop.

 

My animals are of course some sources of inspiration, but currently my cats are only inspiring me to throw them out the windows in the middle of the night when they jump on the vacuum and turn it on at 1am. :lol:

I would have bet heavily that your animals inspire you. Now if only you could train them to turn on the vacuum while you're not home and clean up the house. I saw a YouTube video (if I could have found it again I'd have provided the link) where this cat cleaned the kitchen floor as a kind of grooming exercise. That couldn't be healthy but it seemed to have worked.

 

-Thoth

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Oh and pictures inspire me too, though they generally inspire me to create my own pictures or artwork more than writing about them. I do want to pare my poetry with my images though, so there is some play between the two, one inspiring the other. I have a picture of some gum on a curb that was stepped on and turned into a heart shape and I feel the poetry hiding in it, I just haven't been able to pull it out yet.

- J

Funny/Sad story. In the early 1960s, when I was a kid, I pestered my folks into buying me a Kodak Instamatic Camera for my 10th birthday. I'd carry it around with me all the time looking for interesting things to photograph. My mother kept pointing things out to me (animals, statues, people) but nothing really caught my fancy. Then one day, when she was taking me for a haircut, I spied some gum on a curb that was stepped on and turned into a heart shape. I took five pictures of that. Not only did my mother refuse to pay to have the film developed but refused to ever buy me another roll. My poetic heart was smooshed like that gum. Seven years later my father took up photography seriously and guess who he drafted into his ranks? But it wasn't the same. I had all the financial support I could want (including a darkroom) but the window of opportunity had already slammed closed on my poetic eye (ouch!).

 

800 posts Julikins. Congratulations.

- Thoth

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Aw! That's so sad. =( Here's my picture if you want to see it. (It's the first header to load on my poor neglected blog)

 

Haha wow. 800! I didn't notice. 200 more to go and I get my first circle pip or was it triangle?

- Jools

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Congratulations, JG, on #800!

 

I can't say I've ever dreamed anything useful, in terms of writing a novel or anything else. These days, I try not to think about my current novel in too much detail when I'm trying to sleep--ever since the time I constructed the perfect scene and then couldn't remember exactly how it went. I'm still mad about that, and it happened three years ago.

 

When I was writing my dissertation, I knew each time I was about to make a breakthrough because I would dream about being pregnant, :lol: but that doesn't happen with the novels. Instead I dream that I have everything worked out perfectly, so that if only the alarm hadn't clicked on or the cat yowled or whatever, the finished novel would have presented itself, fully formed, in my brain....

 

What inspires me? A difficult question. Pictures, definitely: that's one reason I love Storyist--because I can store those images. But mostly ideas come to me out of the blue or in response to comments from my writing buddies or after prolonged tearing of hair. There is no one method.

 

I did figure out what my hero needed to get him to focus, though. Alas, I will have to scrap parts of about ten chapters to get him there, but it will be worth it in the end. <_>

 

If I don't check in for a while, you will all know why.

M

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Hi M.

... I dream that I have everything worked out perfectly, so that if only the alarm hadn't clicked on or the cat yowled or whatever, the finished novel would have presented itself, fully formed, in my brain....

What is it about women and cats?

Don't tell me it's my imagination.

I know that there's something there.

 

If I don't check in for a while, you will all know why.

I understand completely.

I haven't quite cleared the decks sufficiently for NaNo but there is only so much paying work a man can do without going crazy. I need that crazy for my writing. Ah! See? "Real work": another source of inspiration.

 

"Use Your Illusion" (still good advice) - Guns 'N Roses

- Thoth

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"Cat's are really just small women in fur coats"

 

Or so the saying goes, though I think my male cat would take umbrage to that.

 

"Dog's think: They pet me, feed me, clean up after me, take care of me, they must be god!

Cat's think: They pet me, feed me, clean up after me, take care of me, I must be god!"

 

"Dog's have owners, Cat's have staff"

 

<_<

 

Hemingway had a lot of polydactyl cats. They're actually known as Heminway cats and the Hemingway House & Museum is home to 60 of what I assume are descendants of his cats. http://www.hemingwayhome.com/HTML/our_cats.htm

 

I wonder if they were a source of inspiration for him.

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"Cat's are really just small women in fur coats"

Then how do you explain the Canadian Hairless (Sphynx cat)?

 

"Dog's think: They pet me, feed me, clean up after me, take care of me, they must be god!

Cat's think: They pet me, feed me, clean up after me, take care of me, I must be god!"

<_<

 

Hemingway had a lot of polydactyl cats. They're actually known as Heminway cats and the Hemingway House & Museum is home to 60 of what I assume are descendants of his cats. http://www.hemingwayhome.com/HTML/our_cats.htm

But what's with that cat named Rooster? A pterodactyl cat, perhaps?

 

I wonder if they were a source of inspiration for him.

It would explain his lean, hard, narrative. Those animals insist on being fed regularly.

- Thoth

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. I was sorting through some paperbacks and found a collection of short fiction and poetry by Neil Gaiman. I know that there are some Neil Gaiman fans on the Forum so I thought some of you might be interested in his take on Dreams & Inspiration (i.e., the topic of this thread). The collection is called "Fragile Things" and includes a short commentary on each entry. The commentary on the short fiction "Feeders And Eaters" includes the following:

...

. I love dreams. I know enough about them to know that dream logic is not story logic, and that you can rarely bring a dream back as a tale: it will have transformed from gold to leaves, from silk to cobwebs, on waking.

. Still, there are things you can bring back with you from dreams: atmosphere, moments, people, a theme. This is the only time I can remember bringing back a whole story, though.

...

Interesting, no?

- Thoth

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Definitely interesting and I agree. I journal about my dreams sometimes and it rarely ever captures the whole dream, just a few elements of it.

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Inspiration - well, this could be an endless topic. Unfortunately I am one of those who hardly remember what I was dreaming. Maybe once in a month, maybe less. My Imagination does work overtime before I am going to bed - therefore I keep a notebook and a pen right beside the bed in case something truly magnificent might turn up.

 

And then there a smells. I don't know why, but most of the time the right smell does wonders to my imagination.

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Scent is the strongest sense tied to memory (or at least tied with one other), so it makes sense that it can trigger your imagination as well too.

 

I'm one of those where it tends to evoke very strong emotions and memories, almost like watching flashbacks in movies. It can be helpful for writing memoir type pieces and poetry. I can also imagine the smells that would be in a story I'm writing. I will have to work on it triggering new ideas though. That sounds like fun!

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