Thursday, October 9, 2014

Does Dream Story Plot Enhance Dream Memory?

English: "The man with the burden", ...
 "The man with the burden", illustration from John Bunyan's dream story (based on Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress) (p. 18) abridged by James Baldwin (1841-1925)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

           To continue with the line of thought of my previous post, I might further ask "Is a dream with a relatively clear and engaging plot easier to remember than a sleep experience filled with random settings, people, and ideas and a very confusing or unclear storyline or total lack of a story?"

          Let me start with the comment left by Eva:

 Eva Prokop said...
        A few years back I was in the habit of recording any dreams I had in my journal, and that of course helped me to remember them. These days that habit has become sporadic, and so I find I don't remember my dreams like I used to. 
It's so interesting I think, the whole dream thing...and different types of memory. I think that dream life does have these various shades of intensity of memory, just like waking, sometimes I'll remember the big, flashy part of a dream immediately, and then an hour or so later, I'll remember some little detail that was in the dream.
       And sometimes, like you say, the dream never makes itself known to my conscious mind. I'll wake up with the sense that something was going on in my mind while I slept....but what?!
       Lately I've been tempted to post a few of my more ridiculous dreams...I've rediscovered them as I'm going through my old journals.
October 2, 2014 at 4:29 PM
        This comment prompted me to reflect on the times when I got into the habit of recording my dreams.  This was primarily during my high school years when I was able to waken at a more leisurely pace and reflect on the dream I had been having prior to waking.   On many mornings I would write down the dream as I remembered it including as much detail as I could recall.

        One of the vital things that enhanced my dream memory was the presence of a distinct story that I was following in the dream.    As though I had watched a movie, it was much easier to recall lengthy portions of the dream that I had experienced if a story seemed present   Due to my greater level of interest in the story I was able to remember more details about almost every aspect of the dream.  These are the sorts of dreams that are relatively easy to write down or relate to someone else.  There is logical progression of events and connections between story details that make more sense.

Here are four aspects of dream stories that can enhance the dream memory:       

Details-- Verbal exchanges, props, sensations, and a myriad of other "little" things can become vital components of the dream story.
Cast--Whether the players are people we know in waking life or fabricated chimera folk who appear for known or unknown reasons, the cast of characters is more easy to place within the context of the story.

Setting--We are more likely to identify real or imaginary places within the context of a story.  A progression from place to place helps to recreate the continuity of the dream story timeline.

Desired outcome--When a dream story has a desired conclusion then there is a facilitation regarding a sense of purpose that allows us to more clearly see a beginning, middle, and an end to a dream story.  These connections pointing to a conclusion we expect or arriving at a surprise conclusion helps us to arrange the dream story into a traditional narrative sequence.

Using a Dream Story for Writing Fiction or Essays

        If the dream seems to have had a story or if the various components of the dream inspires one to turn the collection of dream images into story form, then a dream might be ideal for creating a written work that could be suitable for publication or other sharing.  

        Often writers will have used a dream as the story or the inspiration for a written work.   Dreams can be where stories, poems, songs, and other works of art have their origins.  Indeed many great works have been attributed to a dream source.

          Dreams are the art of the creative mind on the canvas of the subconscious.   Many dreams are useful to be translated into some medium that others can enjoy or even learn from.  Those who can better remember their dreams have a well of creative inspiration that can be drawn from to use in many aspects of their lives.

           Have you ever used a dream inspiration to create something?    Do you ever turn your dreams into stories?    Can you remember a dream better if you have experienced it in traditional story form?


  1. I can only remember snippets of dreams anymore. The other night I had a long, involved one that's stayed with me but it's so hard to write down b/c of the lengthy description I'd have to go into. What stands out the most is that I turned my stepdaughter into a tiny black kitten with a magic wand. I have no idea where that came from. Russell was in the dream and so was his ex wife so maybe that qualifies as a nightmare!

    I did have a way cool dream years ago about beach combing and finding these amazing Christmas ornaments. A couple of weeks later I happened into a gift shop that I'd never been in and was not only blown away at the Christopher Radko ornaments that I'd never seen before, but the fact that they were almost identical to the ones in my dream. I bought about 6 of them!

  2. A few years ago I had a dream where I was having a stroke while my students were looking down at me, very confused.
    Three days later I did have a "rare migraine" which put me in the hospital for 3 days. Prediction?

  3. There's that recurring dream I have with the Cardinals cheerleaders, a case of Fireball and a couple of cans of whipped cream that I have tried to use as inspiration to create something...

    But the Arizona Cardinals put that darn restraining order on me....


  4. JoJo-- Maybe a premonition dream? The Christmas ornament dream that is.

    Susan Kane-- Could very well be that your brain was sensing an oncoming problem and providing a veiled premonition.

    Larry -- Dream on pal.


  5. Hey Lee! You've inspired me to go through my old journals and maybe work some of my more bizarre dreams into stories. I've started recording anything I remember happening while I slept again, but somehow the dreams don't seem as crazy and vivid as they did earlier in my life. Very interesting posts Lee!


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The Dreamer