♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Do dreams/nightmares influence your writing? Do you keep
a notebook by your bed to write down ideas?
Welcome back to another Open Book Blog Hop! The authors included in this ongoing series wish to thank you for your reads. Even more so, we appreciate that you share our writings with friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Prepare to become a regular reader.
Dreams are amazing. Proof of the fact is in how obsessed every culture on the planet is with them. It’s a strange phenomena that has been believed to herald future happenings and even be visions of another realm apart from the world in which we live (awake). I can’t say that I don’t feel these things to my core. Since childhood, I paid special attention to every dream. Some of them even came true.
It makes a ton of sense that dreams both inspire and affect my writing. Currently, I have four books that stem directly from dreams. The other is touched by adjacent experiences. Let’s focus, however, on just the four. First, there is OP-DEC, which came to me in a dream more like a film. Not all of the details are written exactly, because, as you know, dreams can use imagery that are nonsense and this wasn’t a comedy. What does still exist is the powerful story that played out in the dream.
The strangest part about OP-DEC is that I had woken part way through and fell back to sleep, and the dream finished! Up to that point, I had rarely experienced such. Trust me when I say that this is probably why it got turned into a book. If the ending hadn’t come, the idea would still be in a notebook, incomplete and certainly not even written past a few notes.
The dream took on a first person narration style, meaning that I was Claire. At no time during the entirety of the dream did I sense that I was myself or that something was amiss. I acted out the part as if it were my real life. In this way, I was close to the emotions of my protagonist and understood things without having to see the backstory. I could live within the few scenes and know the rest. First person, however, wasn’t the style I chose for the book when writing. I don’t care for the perspective, and feel it has become too much of a trope of writing in the current times.
Another thing that changed was the film that played for Claire and Carsten’s theater date. I couldn’t exactly go with Star Wars, even though my brain thought that worked just fine. Totally understand that choice, being that I was out with the supposedly perfect guy on a perfect date. It had to be the perfect film. Well, we know where my loyalties lie. Because my preferred film wasn’t out in 1942, I had to go with something else. The most logical choice was to figure out what was playing in theaters at the time. This drove the time period of the book. Boy, oh boy. Those facts still take my breath!
The dream of OP-DEC was inspiring enough, but to find that my story also fit neatly into an actual time period, where real historical events framed the story, is stirring to this day for me. I don’t know how to explain that. Certainly, I do have knowledge of the Second World War, and a lot of facts around military logistics. Most of that is just strategy. The better you are at it, the more likely you are to succeed. While my father is a veteran, I am not. Therefore, I think it is strange that I knew so much about the matter without the education or background specifically on it. This isn’t to say that I didn’t need to do research to fill in gaps, such as technical data.
OP-DEC was clearly penned before I sat down to write the Trailokya series. That said, the dreams that inspired that book have happened throughout my lifetime, beginning in my first years to today. They were never easy dreams. Sometimes they were awe-inspiring. How can I even begin to describe them.
Trailokya is described as a paranormal, dark fantasy book series. It delves into the mythological and swims through the waters of culture. Just like any dream world, it is surreal at times, diaphanous, perhaps ethereal. The solidity of things is ever indeterminant. I’ve found that defining it is quite difficult because of those metaphysical qualities. Yet, it draws you to it with the same power that dreams draw the interest of most every human.
I won’t go into great detail of all the ways in which the dreams have inspired the narrative over the years, because that would take an entire book to catalog. If you have time, you can peruse the many posts on this blog that discuss the work. One I would like to point out in particular is that of the Three Doors. The reason for me to focus on this over other portions of the material is that it graces the covers. So, when you see the books, you’ll have a bit of an understanding as to why they are there.
The three doors are a feature of recurring dreams I’ve had since childhood. They’re clearly symbolic, full of meanings for me to unpack. Their details were instantly burned into my memory upon the first time sighting them. The emotions connected to them were just as rich. Those dreams would always start as nightmares, running from a monster(s), seeking escape. The heightened fear mixed with the wonder of their mere presence as well as appearance helped convey their importance. Read the article linked above to find out all about them. It’s actually very important!
Until recently, the meaning behind red door was not so clear. It has taken years to understand them as that changes with context (what’s happening in my life at the time, as well as the dream, and the colors and symbols on them). Meaning shifts in that murky water of cultural relevance. Which culture? Is it the culture of what is communicating with me, and that is me or something else? If it is something else, who? If it is me, then what part of my ancestral cultures?
This year, it became boldly clear to me what the door meant when I stumbled upon a TikTok video discussing the Feng Shui of doors and colors. The video was about what color to paint your door depending on which direction it faces. Although Feng Shui belongs to Asian people, the idea of color and direction creating meaning and therefore being symbolic and carrying energy is worldwide. Humans use color and direction to manifest ideas and energies in every culture. Certain religions would have you believe otherwise, but the majority of beliefs counter that.
The relief I felt at discovering this meaning, and finally nailing down the communication in a way that made absolute sense instead of being flimsy and obscure, was considerable! You see, that door has haunted my dreams and psyche for four decades. It scared me as a child and grew to an inevitable foreboding event in my young adulthood. Today, once I finally grasped it, I have found sense and security.
What threw me off about the door? The boldness of the red and the flames in the window suggested so much destruction, or perhaps it was something to hot for a child’s mind to wrap around, then again it could have been a warning about hell. I mean, the windows can appear to reflect Heaven, Earth, and Hell. That’s obvious! So, why wouldn’t I fear that I was tripping down the brimstone path? Oddly enough, I have turned my back on the church and chosen my ancestry and culture, nearly erased by the church, instead. I just cannot accept nor condone the hate, historical/current violence, greed, narcissism, sociopathy, and abuse.
The red door is success. The fire element suggests the ferocity of that success. The fact that the number 1 graces the front furthers the idea of success. I can’t tell you what it will look like, or what form it will take. But, I know that when I walk through that door, which I assume that I will ahead of finding this part of my life (because I did so with the other doors), I’ll know all the specifics. Will I have been chased by some unseen monster, a gaggle of toothy trolls? I cannot be certain. However, I know that what is beyond that opening is going to be inspiring.
Observing one’s dreams can open up a whole other world. That is certain. Pay attention to what is happening and become familiar with the symbolism of people, places, and objects. That in itself is a useful writing tool: symbolism. Just think of how rich your text could be if you grasped symbols and signs like your dreams do!
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