I try to write from somewhere near the inside of me, so that the words that come out don’t feel like you could have written them, and so that they feel true. I don’t know where that place is, but I assume it’s the same spot other people take their writing from when they say they’re writing from the heart. Also, I take my writing from my dreams.
There’s a book I tried to really like but don’t know that I really liked called From Where You Dream. Something I took from it (maybe I just read the title) was that you should write from that liberated, unconscious part inside of you – the place from where you dream. Simple? There’s a whole book about it.
Now, last night I dreamt of my book, and not in a good way. In my dream I was sitting at my computer and I read through a paragraph I had written. As I read it I realized I had just written things like “She walked into a room. She walked across the room. She spoke to Bill.” I don’t know what I had actually written, I don’t remember the dream exactly, but I remember reading this paragraph I had written and thinking it was so empty. In my dream I discovered this big game changer: I was writing empty sentences and I was supposed to be writing full sentences!
And in my dream I had a great understanding of what that meant, a full sentence. That’s the beauty of dreams (my dreams at least) is that I understand things – emotions and events and the significance of things – without having to spell it out, without having to put it into words.
I don’t know that I fixed my paragraph in my dreams, but I sure sat down at my computer today and thought about empty and full. I translated it to my waking self as the idea of images. Is there one? I translated it to the idea of heart. Is there one?
Because there are other priorities for my book right now – for example, make the plot make sense – I didn’t start back at sentence one and ask myself these obscure questions. But I had it in mind as I rewrote through the part I did today. I kept thinking, where is Jillian’s heart, and how do I get deeper into it? The more I did that, the more I found images. The more I saw Jillian’s face and was able to show it. The more I saw how Jillian touched her boyfriend’s hand, the more I saw the way she spoke to her sister. I didn’t find Jillian’s heart today (she’s not real), but I wrote from it. I wrote full and I wrote hearty. Thanks crazy dream!