Posted by @ 1:42 pm on December 7th, 2009

[Everyone, please welcome our new contributor Nick Antosca, author of Midnight Picnic [Word Riot] and Fires [Impetus]. We’re lucky to have him. — Ed.]

Somebody told me if you eat bananas before you go to sleep, it’ll cause wild dreams.  Actually the point was any food eaten in meal quantity right before bed will have this effect–bananas were just the example.  Now I love to eat before I go to bed.  My dreams tend to be vivid and madcap anyway (something I apparently get from my mother, who was always telling me when I was a small child about dreams where she was in an ocean full of sharks or a mansion full of panthers, things of that nature) but food further enhances them.

I like to nurture the ornate & complicated dreams because I think they’re good for fiction.  Sometimes they produce useful images, concepts, landscapes, emotions, yes… obviously.  But on occasion I’ve also had dreams which were fully formed, traditionally structured narratives.  Like, formed enough to be written down basically as is, plot-wise, and considered a story.  But still employing dream imagery/logic.  (This story and this story were dreams.  They’re old but lately I’ve been having a lot more.)  Would my brain be doing this if I weren’t spending large portions of nearly every day consuming narratives via books, movies, and TV?  Would it be doing this if I didn’t often concern myself with how to construct a compelling narrative?  (Yes, I am a writer who prizes “plot” and “story”.)

My feeling is, if my subconscious spontaneously writes stories by itself on random nights, then it can be trained to do so on a regular basis.  Or at least more frequently.  This seems like a rich untapped resource in my skull.

Tonight I’m being hypnotized.  Hypnotherapy.  The fellow who’s doing it has asked me to come up with some suggestions I’d like him to give me.  Here they are:

1) I’d like to be able to remember my dreams better & in extreme detail.
2) I’d to have more frequent dreams that are full formed, coherent narratives.
3) I’d like to stop reading blogs so fucking much (unrelated to the rest of this post, obvs)

We’ll see if anything happens with my subconscious afterward.

So what’s your take?  Are dreams a vein of ore… or distracting brain-clutter?  Nabokov thought dreams were shit… useless, obnoxious, annoying.  (One reason for the Freud-hate.)  Do you have stories you’ve written from dreams?  Do they suck or are they good?