I had a powerful dream last night, where I hung by one hand off a bridge seven miles high. I spent the whole dream remembering my life–a life I never lived–and making my peace with all the wrongs I did. At the end, when I gave up holding on, I fell the opposite direction, into space.
That’s the short end of it. I woke vitalized, and much as my peaceful emotional state in my dream, I did not wake mourning, but meditative.
After waking from every in-depth dream, I am motivated to write. I study the world differently. I absorb again, much as I did when I was a child chasing lightning bugs at twilight. Everything shows me its potential. For the day, at least, I am a different person–the person from the dream given fresh life, a second chance, a new opportunity.
An imagined person being given life through my eyes is a complicated thought, and one that requires more than a little thought to understand. My dreams have always been the backbone of my writing because they’re so defined, and when I wake, I truly feel changed. Perhaps it’s my propensity for the chameleonic (No. Not a word), or perhaps it’s because I’ve spent so much time putting myself in others’ shoes, but I find no better place, or time, to write than after one of those dreams.
I am not the norm. I don’t believe more than 10% of writers write the way I do. In fact, with historical exceptions here and there, I’ve found none (Bradbury was one. Lovecraft, of course. Poe, possibly. The makers of the game Myst and subsequent publications. Tad Williams. Possibly).
So I ruminate, percolate, delve and dream. I spend my day working, but working through his eyes. (Some days, it’s her eyes.) I freely admit it’s an off-putting thing to talk about, or even consider. I promise you if you met me in real life you wouldn’t think a thing. I believe we all do this, to some extent or another, giving voice to the quiet whispers, putting ourselves in others’ shoes, empathizing, and even projecting. I believe it takes a chameleon’s mind to study it on a fundamental level, to glean the personality from the thing.
If I were a salesman, or a businessman, I’d use this. If I were a police officer, or social worker, I’d use this. It’s not only a writing thing, yet I’ve found ways to use it as efficiently as a pencil, a scalpel, or a pair of shoes.
The dream also effectively answered a question I asked the night before: should I continue banging my head against It Gave Me a Name or should I change gears to Mr. Roadkill (currently titled Red Wing Black)? The answer was, unequivocally, for change.
This is when I make note my work on IGMAN is at a stopping point (because I say so, per the signs) and the Hanged Man (yes. Delicious symbolism) has put me in the shoes of my other MC, and yes, he will hang.