A Playground for the Subconscious Mind
Dreams can be freeing. They can also be tools.
People say that dreams have meaning, and I'm inclined to agree. They are an expression of out inner thoughts and feelings. However, I believe that dream analyzing is only step one. Personally, I also like to use them as tools to help with creativity.
For this blog category, I will be using my dreams to create short stories. Before we dive into one of these dreams, allow me to explain the process in a little better detail.
A lucid dream is any dream where you actively realize that you are in the middle of a dream.
Almost every dream I can remember has been a lucid dream to some degree. I don't always fly or have other fantastical super powers, but when I do, it sure is fun.
For me, there is one trick that never fails. I focus on a small object in the dream. Then I close my eyes, look away, or cover my field of vision, anything I can do to not see that object any longer. Then, I imagine the wall or surface behind it, as if the object wasn't there. When I open my eyes or remove my hand from in front of my face, the object is gone.
This trick works for me every time, because a dream is only an extension of one's own imagination. If you can imagine something disappearing, then it will. It's as simple as that. Even when I'm awake, I sometimes do this, just to be sure...
You don't have to use my method if you have your own, but if you don't have one, feel free to borrow it. Maybe it can work for you too.
Once you realize you're in a dream, the real fun can begin. You can let the dream play out, passively observing the creative choices of your subconscious, or if you want, you can influence your surroundings and take things in a completely different direction.
Basically, I see dreams like movies, but when the movie gets boring or is not to taste, I can jump into the movie and become the main character or the director. I'm sure we've all seen one or two bad movies in our lives, movies that we wish we could have made better.
And so, when you are reading the short stories that I post into this blog category, I hope you find them enjoying. I sure did when I was watching them. If you don't like one of my stories, that's okay too. Maybe you'll feel encouraged to make your own!
Inspiration vs Plagiarism
Since dreams are only extensions of our subconscious and our subconscious is affected by our experiences, I can't guarantee that my stories are going to be entirely unique. After all, whether I know it or not, they're based on something.
That being said, it's important to understand the difference between inspiration and plagiarism.
This will come as a review to most people, I'm sure, but let's go over the basics. Taking inspiration from something means to draws ideas from another source and use them to create something new. Meanwhile, plagiarizing is taking someone else's work and passing it off as your own, without giving credit to the original author.
Obviously, I can't pinpoint where my dreams draw their inspiration, but what I can do is change the names of any people or characters that I actually recognize from my everyday life or from a famous work of fiction.
If you still see parallels between what I write and something else, please don't be offended. As George Polti (a famous French writer of the late 19th century) pointed out in his book, there are only thirty-six dramatic situations in total. Take your favorite book or movie, and with enough time, I'm sure you could find 1000 other stories with a similar plot.
Now, without further adieu...
A Very Short Story
The small creature emerged from a hole in the tree it called home. It had been over one hundred years since the last time he came to the surface.
The people outside were dressed in old garbs, as if they were back in the time of kings and queens.
This made absolutely no sense. The leathery monster was sure that technology would have progressed much further. Each time he emerged, mankind had taken great strides forward. Last time, they had created a machine called a car. "What could have caused them to fall so far behind?", he wondered.
It was about time he had a look around, but first he would need to change. He watched and listened closely to the people walking past, from the safety of the dark opening in the tree. After he studied them long enough, he had formed an image in his mind, an image of how he would present himself.
When the coast was clear, he took the form of a squirrel and ran out of the tree, quickly seeking cover behind a nearby bush. A moment later, he popped up, now in the form of a simple peasant. He had red curly hair and his clothes were a simple mixture of browns and almost white colors.
He jumped into step behind a group of men and women who were laughing and having a merry old time indeed. "Hello, my good fellows!" he shouted gleefully. They turned around right away, startled at first.
They warmed up right away. "Hey there!" a taller man answered back. "Bro, I love your costume. It looks so authentic. And that accent is on point! You work here?"
One of the girls jumped forward, holding a thin, rectangular device. "Can I get a picture?" she asked. Before allowing the confused master of disguise to respond, she held her device out in front of her, with her back facing him.
The taller man leaned over and embraced him in a half hug. The man smiled and looked at the device the lady was holding. The front of the device reflected an image of her and the two men. She then tapped on the image, waited a moment, and pulled the device down. Immediately, she looked down and started tapping on her strange little machine.
The creature asked, "What might that strange device be, my lady?" His face was a mixture of amusement and intrigue, just as it had been in the picture.
His question received a momentary blank stare from her and everyone else in the group. Then, almost in unison, they all started laughing. "This guy's too good." one man said. Others nodded their heads in agreement as the laughter slowly subsided.
Our shapeshifting friend was then asked to join the merry band of men and women. Happily, he agreed to walk with them. After a short time, he was able to deduce that this strange place he found himself was actually a recreation of the past. He was indeed one hundred years in the future, and technology had changed vastly over that time.
All day long, he bounded to and fro, enjoying his new surroundings. His lively energy and genuine curiosity earned him and his group many followers. Everyone at this festival wanted a "picture" with him, something he still didn't fully understand.
One thing he did know, this was going to be a wonderful year. He could only imagine what the world beyond this "renaissance fair" had to offer, and his brain buzzed with all kinds of ways he could cause... a little mischief.