Dreams into Words


Dreams are notoriously difficult to write about successfully. I can trot through a thick tome of well-written fantasy with ease, but the moment a writer introduces me to an account of a dream I start to switch off. Two sentences in and I am likely to skip to the conclusion.

A dream is central to ON SACRED MOUNTAINS, and chronologically it should come at the beginning. However I have shifted it towards the end of the narrative, for I could not expect anyone to recognize its importance at the beginning. Indeed it took me much more than a year and thousands of miles of journeying to recognize the dream's importance for myself, when its visionary quality played itself out in the fabric of reality. I find with autobiography that chronology often needs to be shifted around for a tale to make sense. Life sometimes presents you with the flashbacks BEFORE you get to the primary experience.

I've never consciously used the material from dreams in my fiction. One current puzzle though comes from the content of my dreams for many years now. They take place in a theatre ... I might be backstage, in the audience, on stage even, but generally at some tangent to the action itself. The one exception is when complete new all singing all dancing musicals stage themselves for me. The dreams seem as clear as a stage direction - they tell me to write a play, to be a playwright. Now the play I've been writing on and off for twenty years is finally the way I like it, finally off being considered for production, I'm on the verge of dedicating myself to a new play for the coming months. It means moving myself into the world of Nazi Germany, Dachau, and the music of J.S.Bach for a good deal of time - the idea for the play came to me in a flash while camping in the Tetons some years ago. We're off to Madrid for a few days break now, leaving computers and writing behind for a while. We'll see if a writing decision falls into place while I'm away.

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