Awakening Without a Dream

Dreams slip from my mind upon waking like dry sand through my fingers, leaving only the memory that they had been there. I wake with the memory that my sleep was filled with fascinating dreams but I have never been able to recall the details. Any attempts I make only succeed to chase them further from my mind. To this date, I can only vividly recall two dreams and both of them nightmares from my childhood. Dreams that left me screaming as I woke, too terrified to sleep.

I have woken knowing I have dreamed that dream before. Yet still I have no recollection of what the dream itself was. My mind lives a dual life in my sleep, one that I will never recall.

I’m slowly learning to accept this, though I find that I frequently will attempt to force myself back into sleep in hopes of continuing the dream I was having. Because even though I do not know what it was that I dreamed, I remember that I enjoyed it. That I wanted to experience it again. Perhaps I live in hopes that if I manage to complete the dream, that will be the one that I remember upon waking.

Maybe it will be. I don’t know. It has yet to happen.

Because I do not remember them, I can draw no inspiration from them. Dreams, at least the ones I have while I sleep, are useless to my conscious mind.

Perhaps my dreams do inspire my writing subconsciously. Or maybe my stories and my dreams are all pulled from my subconscious.

What I do know, is that my daydreams are playgrounds for my characters. When I am stuck in my writing, I will let my mind wander, I will let my characters play around in the story. I will imagine ways they would react in different scenarios–sometimes even scenarios that will never show up in my writing. Daydreaming allows both my conscious and my subconscious to work in tandem, creating scenarios to ridiculous or embarrassing to capture on paper. My daydreams allow me to learn more about my characters. What motivates them, their fears, their desires… 

By letting them have free reign of my imagination, it not only serves to keep me interested in my writing, but also provides new ideas. Though to be honest, it is sometimes the only way to get through a long day in the office or a long car ride. Then when I am around my laptop, the characters are still fresh in my mind, allowing me to easily put their words to paper.

So until the day that I am finally able to remember my dreams upon waking, I will continue to let daydreams be the playgrounds of my stories.

At the age of six, Eliza was certain of two things. The first was that she had stories to tell. The second was that she had no talent for illustrating them herself. Talent or no, she still wrote and illustrated her first book, one that should be located and locked away if only to prevent her parents from embarrassing her terribly by showing it off alongside baby pictures. Now she spends her days writing stories that she isn't embarrassed to show off after a little bit of polishing.

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