One of the reasons I love having guests in the House of Dreams is because they can surprise me with a new angle on writing and dreams. Here, Nicole Tilde talks about the creative treasure that can be found in what I call dream fragments, or ‘tiny dreams.’
She said to me in a dream, “Give me your knees child!”
And I did.
It got me thinking about poetry And how it starts with the knees
If I were to teach a poetry class
We would begin with the knees
I would teach the importance
Not of kneeling
But in hard work In finding your true north
We would walk through tall grass
And find the mud
Deep Into the lines
Of our skin We would clear paths
And uncover ourselves
From beneath the bloodstone
And polished quartz
We would wander in silence
And not write a thing
Wait for that moment
When the healing of the work
Runs through your skin
Like a shimmering blue skink In the mapled wind
This poem was inspired by a Tiny Dream. Tiny dreams are the little vignettes or scenes that are often ignored or discarded as random. Tiny Dreams come to me as colors, objects, phrases, or flashes of feelings. They are not always connected to plot, place or scene.
One of the most common comments I hear from people is that their dreams are random or meaningless. But I wonder what a random dreamer might think of someone grabbing their knees and saying, “Give me your knees, child!” For me, the meaning in this short dream segment was large, full and sweeping. It was a window, a door, a threshold into poetry. We can find these openings everywhere if we are open to the experience.
What do I know about knees? Why would I give the power of my knees over to anyone? Unless perhaps, she came to heal me. Unless she was the crone who visits me so often, the Baba Yaga of my personal myth. The one with the faces of many.
I opened myself to the message. I let the window sash fly.
I garden on my knees. I might greet the wonder of the sun on my knees. I might approach someone younger than me on my knees. I could pray on my knees. We get on our knees to do the hard work. When I am full of regret or spinning off my center of conviction, I might lose the strength to stand on my own two feet, become weak in the knees. I might also become weak in the knees when I’m falling in love.
Knees are pretty important. I could see the significance of what I was asked to give in this dream. It was not random at all.
Just as we give ourselves over in our dreams, in poetry there is a moment of giving the writing over to the story beneath the story, to the river of awen. And beyond this there is a process of collecting the objects, events or dream symbols we’ve noticed, and then connecting the pieces.
I went to the river.
During the days prior to this dream I had worked in the yard, cutting paths through a corner of the property. I had been in the garden a lot, and I was reminiscing about how the hard work of gardening was a lot like writing. The pieces from this experience connected with the meaning of ‘giving over my knees,’ and I sat down and wrote this piece, ‘Poetry Class.’
What kind of class would that be, just wandering in silence, not writing a thing? What kind of poetry class offers you the chance to notice the blue skinks, this is what we call the blue lizards here in Georgia, and the maple leaves dancing in the wind? But this is exactly what I would teach. Afterwards, I might send everyone home with the instructions to dream.
Poetry is about noticing, collecting, tiny-dreams, the stories that drift beneath the stories. It’s about being present. It’s not about analyzing, but letting the events of our lives sink in and run all over our skin.
And the hard work? We give over our knees by doing the daily work of being a writer, a poet, an artist, by doing the hard work every day. To find true north we walk every day towards the star of our desire. One step. One word. One line. One sentence.
She said to me in a dream, “Give me your knees, child!” And I did.
Nicole Tilde is a prose writer. Her work echoes the many storytellers who have gone before her. The storytellers who have unknowingly pitched for emotion by opening readers to feelings they thought were lost. Her stories are of the everyday, of finding the sacred in the mundane and recognizing everyday objects as talismans. She publishes within her membership site at dream-speak.com You can find samples of her writing at nicoletilde.com or you can connect with her on her Facebook page.