Tell Me Your Dreams

Dreams have played a significant part in the history of literature. Frankenstein and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were based closely on the dreams of their authors. Stephen King’s work has been inspired by dreams. And dreams play a prominent part in Roberto Bolano’s fiction. I don’t know why exactly, perhaps because in dreams anything can happen and so-called reality is suspended and the physical laws of the universe don’t always apply, but I have a thing for dreams on the page; I enjoy reading characters’ dreams and believe dreams to be effective devices to enhance characters’ emotional worlds. In any case, today’s prompt involves what we have every night: dreams.

How it works is quite simple. Conjure one of your recent (or recurring) dreams and write down everything you remember. That is, tell about your dream (and write slowly; the reason being you may find out that you remember more about your dream than you previously thought).

If you can’t remember any of your recent (or not so recent) dreams, and don’t have any recurring dreams, then make up a dream that a character has and tell about that.

And if you’re still stuck, read the below for inspiration. It’s from Bolano’s novel 2666. It’s a dream that a character named Oscar Fate has:

When he woke up he thought he’d dreamed about a movie he’d seen the other day. But everything was different. The characters were black, so the movie in the dream was like a negative of the real movie. And different things happened, too. The plot was the same, but the ending was different or at some moment took an unexpected turn and became something completely different. Most terrible of all, though, was that as he was dreaming he knew it didn’t necessarily have to be that way, he noticed the resemblance to the movie, he thought he understood that both were based on the same premise, and that if the movie he’d seen was the real movie, then the other one, the one he had dreamed, might be a reasoned response, a reasoned critique, and not necessarily a nightmare. All criticism is ultimately a nightmare, he thought as he washed his face in the apartment where his mother’s body no longer was.