Dream Diaries -or- The Book I Write

Barbara, 24

The last year I have been keeping a dream-diary, which has helped me to remember a lot more dreams than before. I quite often experience dreams with very concrete storylines, such as the one I am going to write down here. In the dream I am not myself, none of the people in it are people I really know, nor is the situation or surroundings familiar to me.

Mr Hagen's Reply: Dream Diaries -or- More of Stranger than Fiction

Many individuals have written down their dreams and kept dream diaries and dream journals. Dreams have been employed in innumerable ways in a variety of creative fields such as art, literature, poetry, medicine, science, music, psychology, religion and so on. Gaston Bachelard believed that better dreaming was the key to better reading.

The human cosmos has strived towards artistic sublimation and interpretive poetic order. With what Samuel Taylor Coleridge first called "suspension of disbelief," you may enter Dream Vision. In the theatre of sleep, the everyday philosophy of mind flashes across all dreamscreens on a nightly basis. The ritual communication process begins with the child's psychodramatic staging games we call make believe, which provides the psychological structures of the mise-en-scene of memory, consciousness, imagination, thought, desire and the mythopoetic. The dream becomes an autobiographical theatre, where a life story is imagined and acted out on our inner stage. Questions that become acted on are; Who am I? Where do I want to go?  Who do I want to become? A developmental itinerary can be viewed if we were able to see the longitudinal study perspective of one's dreams and the development of consciousness stretching from childhood until death.

If all literature can be viewed as thinly veiled autobiography, then literature becomes a narrative mode and vehicle for communicating individual and collective memories. The generational grounding and plotting of history can then follow from the writing of individual biography and collective history. As Ira Progoff says in At a Journal Workshop, we can "we enter the inner movement of our whole life history and connect ourselves to it from within. In that way we extend our life in harmony with the inner principle that is trying to unfold through it." As such the dream is an experimental theatre where characters, plots and storylines can be played out with sometime incalculable results in terms of dramatic thought and feelings. The IIDR has received many dreams from "Gamers" that underscore this idea.

The overarching genre of Dream Vision provides the basis for understanding cultural expression as it relates to the minds' framing of gesture, of which language is the most important. The genre of dream writing that we choose is no longer a matter of more or less refined and consistent classification of the imagination, but a psychological key to unlocking a text in relation to a literary set of idioms, allusions, conventions, and norms of a given culture. Any text both follows and deviates from these cultural idioms. The word fiction derives from the Latin fingo, "I fashion." Fiction is often thinly veiled biography that shapes inherently fluid materials. Jung's Ueber psychische energetic and das Wesen der Traeme (About Psychic Energy and the Essence of Dreams) employed the metaphor of the dream as a "theatre, in which the dream is scene, player, prompter, director, author, audience, and critic." The IIDR borrowing on Northrop Frye's ideas, provides transparency and insight into what plays out in this cultural theatre which "imitates the total dream of man".

Dream work melds the real, the imaginary and the fictive into the theatre of the mind, allowing individuals to call on past experience and create a vision of the present and future. This dramaturgical work uses techniques similar to those found in film editing such as montage and collage. These dramatic techniques are employed to present individual memory and communal fantasies such as rumour and gossip. In the dream much like in the theatre of everyday life, the fourth wall is an imaginary boundary that separates the stage and its actors from the audience. The action the spectators watch unfolds behind it. The audience can then be invited as voyeurs to observe the action, while the actors disclose or conceal what's on their mind. The dream is a psychological instrument that provides the viewer the ability to observe through insight into the actions playing out in the theatre of the mind and consciousness.

Wolfgang Iser's The Fictive and the Imaginary: Charting Literary Anthropology tells us that each culture shapes literature and mimetically reflects the conscious conditions of the times. Literature is created by continual re-patterning of the fictive and consciousness. The importance of guiding fictions resides in attempts to go beyond narrative limitations and understand the philosophy of mind and nature. Dream Vision provides the literary vehicle to understand the cultural patterning and historical re-patterning of creative life writing of the fictive in the theatre of the mind and consciousness.

From a popular culture perspective, your dream is much like the film Stranger than Fiction featuring an everyday man Harold Crick (played by Will Farrell) who starts to hear a disembodied female voice narrating his life. Crick recruits Jules Hilbert (played by Dustin Hoffman) a university literature professor to help search for literary clues. Hilbert provides a methodical analysis of Crick's unfolding life story; Asking, what are the genres and archetypes? Is it a comedy or tragedy? Who is the narrator? The soundtrack features the song The Book I Write (listen to music video) by Spoon.

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.