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Pablo Picasso's Woman Dreaming

Living in Your Dream 

Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.

—Anais Nin

I’ve talked about living my dreams before, and lately I’ve been doing a fair bit of dreaming on the page, where dreams pass into the reality of action. Writing fiction is the best form of daydreaming, but sometimes I find my dreams at night intriguing, too.

Last night I dreamed I was a teenager again, and beside me sat a small child, who was trying to be helpful.

I was trying to give her a ride on my bike, but the pedals wouldn’t move, so I took them apart (something I would never do in real life), and then, I took the plate in which the pedals sat and thought of (what I imagined) a wonderful idea.

I would put in cake batter, shut it, and as I pedaled away, the plate would warm up and at the end of a few miles, we would have thisย  cake to eat!

The child helped me break the eggs, whip the batter, and stir in raisins andย  walnuts. And then off we went, but instead of the cake, of course we had goo pouring down the pedals and into my shoes.

I was so upset when I woke up. All that batter gone to waste, and that disappointed child at the end of the trip.

I know I have a little girl in a current WIP who doesn’t have much good in store for her, so my subconscious is possibly trying to make her happy in its own weird way, and failing miserably. It is my book leaking into my dreams, and now the dream has leaked into my day.

What do you dream most often about? Do you write down your dreams?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • What an interesting dream! I try to write some of mine down I either remember every little detail or nothing at all.

  • alexraphael says:

    Really great idea for a blog. Has really got me thinking about my dreams.

  • din1992bay says:

    I personally had a similar version of writing about dreams in a OLD 2002 Diary, two stories were science fiction, one story was videogamish with seven levels to succeed, two were adventure tales. Actually the greatest dream/nightmare I ever had in my life is on November 15th 2010.(More specifically the videogamish dream of seven levels). ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Interesting. I was just mentioning writing a short story around my dream last night in my post. Then, I hopped on Reader and found that you were talking about dreaming. I use to keep a journal of dreams but soon found that I did not have the time to keep up with it. Hope you are doing well.

  • There was a time that I used to write my dreams down. I don’t anymore, though. I do have the weirdest dreams sometimes. Sometimes, even when they’re weird, I can definitely tell when I wake up after some evaluating that they are brought by things that are affecting me, But often, they’re really just stories I am watching in my head. They say that there are people who can write songs in their dreams. I’m sure it’s possible to write stories, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Gargi Mehra says:

    I do write down my dreams because I think theyโ€™re great fodder for short stories especially speculative ones! Note that I havenโ€™t actually ever converted a dream into a short story, but thatโ€™s a dream in itself!

  • Kate is says:

    If I remember I will and then file it away somewhere to read it at a later date and see what might come of it.

  • I have had a different approach to lucid dreaming and remembering my dreams.

    When I first heard of lucid dreaming I attempted to use various free electronic “courses” I found while scanning Wikipedia. But, after trying these approaches for over four weeks I still had no authority over my nightmares.

    I conclude that the component that they were missing was the powerful technique that I got when I purchased a professional wake-induced lucid dreaming course with markedly great feedback, the Lucid Dreaming Fast Track. Here’s a blog review –

    When lucid dreaming now I can simply go anywhere I want (yet usually I prefer hovering across the world).

  • I write them sometimes. There are certain dreams that are too ‘real’ to write off as random brain activity.

  • J. P. Eddy says:

    I’ve always made it good practice to scribe my dream the moment I awake. I have a lot of lucid dreams, and o’er the years, I have managed to build this journal diary of dreams. I have considered revising them for book formatting to publish them. Enjoyed this read ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Su Leslie says:

    What a wonderful, vivid dream. I hardly ever write my dreams down (in too much of a rush when I get up), but a few are so memorable they have stayed with me – in all their vivid detail – for years. These tend to be the dreams about failing to protect someone I love (first my younger brother, now my son) – or the classic about being late for something. What I have really noticed about my dreams though is that they play like “movies”. There are tracking shots and cuts and close-ups. The structure is film-like rather than like “real life.” I don’t know how common that is in other people, but my son’s dreams are like that too. We’re both movie lovers and sometime makers, so perhaps that’s part of it.

  • Very odd dream, friend. It’s so close to what a precocious child would do, it’s frightening. Not always easy to square the circle, is it?

  • I guess you can’t make your cake and eat it as well.
    I rarely remember my dreams, let alone write them down.

  • Susan Scott says:

    Thanks Damyanti for this. Dreams come from the UNconscious, not the subconscious. Too detailed to go into any explanation. Dreams tell you what you need to know, which is why they are important. Of course they are difficult to interpret as the language of image metaphor symbol is not one with which we are familiar. In any event it is important to NOT interpret the dream immediately but rather to hold it for as long as it takes for its meaning to emerge. The dream may seem entirely irrational, and here is where irrationality has its valuable part to play.
    I could write much much more about how eg Einstein developed his theory of relativity after a dream of sledding down a slope; I have many examples of discoveries made after a dream in a series of blogs from about a year back. But our own dreams are a wonderful resource in finding out more about ourselves if we only took the time and trouble to decipher them.
    The Talmud: An unexamined dream is like an unopened letter.
    And yes, always write the dream down even if it is 4.13 a.m. Keep the dream journal by the bedside and a torch in case of waking one’s sleeping partner.
    All dreams from your OWN unconscious as well as repetitive dreams are calling for your attention. Take the opportunity to do some detective work …
    Also it is helpful to have someone (who is familiar with the dream landscape) with whom to discuss the dream; who can bring up aspects that one hasn’t even thought of .. It is hard to see behind one’s own back.

  • This is such a timely post for me because I had a vivid dream a few nights ago about visiting a mansion where people who died left all their belongings before passing on to wherever they go! The caretaker was like Mrs Danvers, the housekeeper in Rebecca, only a bit more friendlier looking. As a result, I’m going to start writing down my dreams – could be useful for future writing.

  • mrsgillies says:

    I dream a lot about being on adventures. Sometimes i wake up more exhausted than when i went to sleep!

  • BookAddict says:

    I never remember enough detail to write them down. I usually just remember the general feel like if I was happy or scared.

    • Damyanti says:

      As I said before, that’s what happens with most dreams and most people. Sometimes i forget the dream before I wake up, and once in a while, a part of me knows I’m dreaming while I’m dreaming it.

  • I do write down my dreams and have started using some if them as writing prompts. An interesting exercise. … Thanks for sharing …

  • Monica Lee says:

    Occasionally I’ve blogged about a dream. I find yours fascinating, so I’m glad you shared it. The best one I had that I wrote about had me laughing out loud in bed. The joke in the light of day, however, wasn’t funny at all. But it was fun.

  • I don’t remember my dreams when I wake up. I daydream quite a bit to make up for it. Sorry you couldn’t give your ‘dream girl’ a cake.

    • Damyanti says:

      I don’t remember most of my dreams either. I’m sorry for that girl too. I’m hoping she really was a fictional character and not someone real I couldn’t recognize.

  • I try to write down my dreams but I never remember them. I only remember certain feelings and sensations, but I never seem to get a firm grasp on the details.

    • Damyanti says:

      That’s a pretty common experience. From my reading on the subject I know that the waking mind doesn’t do a good job of remembering what the subconscious mind dreamed up. But dream researchers hold that the recall improves once you wake up and start writing them down

  • manpz85 says:

    I never write them down, I have been told to write them as I have so many and I remember them when I wake up. They’re very detailed too. I was reading a book about a scientific interpretation on dreams which was pretty interesting. It explained why we dream and explaned the different stages of our sleep which determine whether we dream or not. Maybe I’ll start blogging about my dreams.

  • Arlee Bird says:

    This was an interesting dream and I like your analysis.

    Since I have a dream blog I do write down my dreams on occasion, enough to have content for the blog at least. I used to faithfully keep a dream journal when I was younger. I got many ideas for writing from that journal. I believe that dreams are an important communication channel from our subconscious and we should heed them.

    A Faraway View

    • Damyanti says:

      I haven’t been by your blogs lately, Lee. I need to change that. I don’t know if this was a dream analysis, but it definitely was an attempt to make a guess. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • That sounds like the kind of dream I’d have. My dreams are always weird, but not something I’d find easy to write into a story.

    • Damyanti says:

      Dreams do not follow rational logic, so they are always weird. Writing stories from them might need some discipline and a lot of luck– Robert Louis Stevenson comes to mind.

  • disperser says:

    Too much pastrami right before bed . . .

    The trouble with dreams is one has a tendency to want to make sense of them, so they “interpret” the dream so as to relate it into something in their lives.

    It could just have been your subconscious wanted cake, and messing it up in your dream was its way of guilting you into baking one. The girl and bike might have been inconsequential embellishment, which your conscious mind took to mean something . . . thus pissing off your subconscious.

    . . . man, I wouldn’t want to go to sleep with a pissed off subconscious . . . I would bake a cake (not literally, I don’t bake), and eat half of it (that part is literal), and hope that appeases the subconscious into letting you sleep, perhaps dream of a warm afternoon, and dozing on the porch, the drone of bees transporting you into the “in-between”.

    • Damyanti says:

      I do bake, but mostly for others. I’m not particularly fond of cakes or sweets. I like savoury, every time. But it is true that a lot of our dreams have no meaning other than the one we attach to them. Some might be exceptions to this, but we never know which they are. If the same dream repeats itself, and we remember it, maybe we have something there.

      • disperser says:

        There are dreams I have which have spanned multiple decades . . . meaning the same or similar situations/locations/actions with minor variations.

        Some are “bad”, where I wake up with a feeling of unease, some are neutral, and some are unpleasant. Those last ones are almost like alternate-life stuff.

        They are vivid when I wake, and literally within a few minutes they are shadows of memories. None have ever affected or corresponded to any aspect of my waking state.

        Maybe I am unique, or maybe it’s my nature (logical, calculating, rational, evidence-based, reality-anchored – take your pick).

        There are random dreams, but overall I don’t dream often since I only sleep 3.5-4 hours a night, and my deep sleep accounts for pretty much that whole span of time.

        I know a few people who swear up and down dreams shaped portions of their lives, their actions, and all for the better (no one ever says “I had a dream to do this or that, and boy was that the biggest mistake I ever made!”). Good for them . . . but it does annoy me when they claim everyone should lend credence to the “other” reality which is trying to speak to us through signs, dreams, or odd coincidences.

        I try to avoid crossing such people, as I seldom can just “let it go”.

        • Damyanti says:

          I can understand your skepticism and I’m not a huge believer myself. But being a writer who dreams up people she didn’t know before but who seem very real once they are written, I can’t deny that dreams are intriguing.

          Sometimes repeated dreams may not be predictive but it is the way of the subconscious to express things that the waking mind suppresses. Psychologists often ask their patients to record their dreams, especially if they are repeated.

          I have read some of the books on dreams by Freud and Jung, and some of the theories seem to have undeniable merit.

          • disperser says:

            Astrologers certainly give them merit.

            That’s the strawman argument, or marginalizing by association.

            Seriously, there is no denying the Jungian theory of dreams is a popular one, but there is little (some say no) evidence for it having any merit beyond what people want to, and are comfortable in believing.

            There is some evidence “dreaming is a cognitive process that draws on memory schemas, episodic memories, and general knowledge to produce reasonable simulations of the real world”, but so what? There is no indication, explanatory mechanism, or reason to believe the process results in insights with any more validity than the conscious reasoning we do, and by all indications, dreams are much less relevant and significant than interpretations resulting from reasoned, informed, and deliberate decision-making processes.

            I don’t know how one goes about separating what they want to hear from the truth, but experience borne out of many years has taught me the majority of people don’t even try.

            I believe the popularity of interpreting dreams serves deeper desires, usually dealing with the comfort associated with having anything or anyone, sometimes anyone at all, provide reason, direction, or even just an explanation for the lives we live.

            I can certainly understand the desire for such, but then one has to ask . . . what lends validity to Jungian theory of dream, or for that matter, any theory of dreams? Why is my theory of dreams any less valid than Jungs, besides the first gives people what they want to hear, and the latter offers nothing beyond “no, you’re on your own; work it out”.

            My concern is that after all is said and done, you have individuals who either self-interpret dreams, or have their dreams interpreted by others.

            In both cases, the process is highly influenced by conscious and subconscious preconceived notions, prejudices, expectations, desires, and even guilt.

            In that respect, it’s a bit like reading the bible; people find in it any justification or purpose they are searching for . . . just ask the 2,000+ sects of Christianity, each claiming to know the “truth”.

            I find it scary enough when someone attempts to find meaning, purpose, or guidance in their own dreams, but the idea a self-described expert would interpret other people’s dreams is positively terrifying . . . the potential for unintentional or intentional harm is enormous, and I view people who make those claims with a high level of suspicion . . . the kind of suspicion I reserve for politicians, salesmen, religious leaders, CEOs, palm readers, and fortune tellers.

            Anyway, as much as I write the above, and present my opinion, I urge individuals to make up their own mind . . . but don’t just read things in support of your position. And most of all, don’t discount your own capacity for self-deception.

            After all is examined, one may still disagree with me, and still hold the opinion dreams offer significant insights . . . but don’t reach that conclusion from an uninformed position.

            And with that, I’ll let it go . . . or try to. Perhaps I’ll dream about it tonight.

  • ohdearheart says:

    What an interesting dream! It certainly seems to be some kind of metaphor. What nonsense it is that psychology classes teach students that dreams are completely meaningless, frivolous little kaleidoscopes of random images that our brain shuffles around at night! Sheila and I should both start writing down our dreams, or at least our memorable ones… they are such intriguing things!

    • Damyanti says:

      I don’t know for sure if it was a metaphor, but it stuck with me long enough for me to write it down. ๐Ÿ™‚