My friend Ed says retired guys like me should get up early and get in gear. It’s good advice! I’d never dispute it, but I’m not stellar at following it.
Maybe this is only an excuse for sleeping late, but people doing creative work need dream-time. I like to wake up in the morning and, before I open my eyes, nail down what I was dreaming. I might remember a whole complicated narrative. Sometimes it’s good enough to write it in a dream journal. Not too long ago I dreamed that a robot was telling me a fairy tale and telling it very poorly. That dream became the story “The Elves and the Shoe Designer,” which is my contribution to Pages Penned in Pandemic. Now available, highly recommended!
I’m interested in lucid dreaming, where you try to become aware that you’re in a dream and take control. It’s suggested that you use lucid dreaming to ask an important question. I already have a question in mind: “Why don’t I fly in my dreams?” I find that I do a lot of walking in my dreams, and I get lost pretty easily, and I quite often forget what I was carrying and leave it somewhere in the dreamscape and then I worry about how I’m going to get back there and find it. But lucid dreaming is challenging. It’s hard to partially wake, just enough that you’re aware, but still in your dream.
I have been working on song lyrics this week, at the invitation of my collaborator, the amazing CP Butchvarov. I sent him some lines and suggestions yesterday. He may hate my suggestions, and he may hate the lines I sent also. That’s part of our process.
When I put myself in lyric-writing mode, I start to notice everything I see and hear. I’m watching for arresting images and I’m asking my mind to translate those to words and rhythms. At some point I start to write these down, and that begins a cascade, because the words I put on paper combine to become lines, and they generate more ideas. Then some line really catches my eye (ear), and from there on it’s a matter of building it up from the inside: making new lines to match the ones already made.
I found myself doing this a couple of nights ago, and it was late. I turned off the light and was curled up in bed, but as I tripped over into the sleep state, a pair of rhymed lines introduced themselves to me insistently. I flicked on the light long enough to scribble them down in my notebook. This happened three more times before I finally dropped off for good. Slept late the next morning.
I won’t tell you the lines but I’ll tell you later if CP thinks they’re garbage.