My first undergraduate essay was on Alice in Wonderland through a filter of Freud's interpretation of dreams. Not a particularly original piece, but enthusiastic.
I may not remember all my dreams, but like all those lost (to memory) experiences, I still hold them somewhere in my body to be accessed when I'm not necessarily searching them. Muscle memory. Reflexes. A submerged landscape that forms a context for my writing.
Then there are the dreams I do remember, that filter my waking, or those that startle me at some point during the day. My mother calls this 'breaking a dream'. To me it feels the other way round: a dream breaking my daytime life, with the strength of deja-vu, of past life, a childhood memory. All of them wrapped up into a fragmented image punching the force of whatever emotion gave rise to them in the first place. That then hangs over me like the aftereffect of a sneeze. What's the supposedly velocity of those?
The breaking dream may not be as violent, but as pervasive, my mind rolling around it, grasping at the pieces of visual and tactile imagery, to reenter that disconnected space, recall those experiences I've either stashed away or never previously had. Some stay with me for years after, as though they were 'true' experiences. Do they have the same influence on me?
I heard Jacob Sam-La Rose read a great poem on elements of dreams, in which he asked us, the audience, to acknowledge when we'd dreamt something similar: a litany of school corridors, sex, losing glasses, darkness, family... these are my regulars. Everyone was clicking away in recognition. Our secret sharing made public. A testament to the poem.
It's not only those dreams of our most beloved that interest us. It's an odd declaration that sleep is part of my creative practice when I can only remember a fraction (a small fraction at that) of it. And, logically, one I am not fully convinced by. But the first setting down of words on a page isn't logic. My intuition is covinced it's essential.
My bed is my desk.