I saw this image in my fb timeline recently and shared it on my author page because I thought it was funny.
But there’s a serious point here, which reminded me immediately of how I developed a deep dislike for poetry during my school years that lasted well into adult life.
I wrote my first poem when I was about 6 years old (it was about my teddy bear) and carried on writing and loving poems until we began to study poetry in English Literature. Then I discovered that poems had hidden meanings you had to decode and that decoding them was always beyond me.
Instead of enjoying the mystery and music of a poem, and listening for the ways it spoke to me, I learnt to pick it apart and reduce it to an interpretation decided upon by my teacher. Instead of feeling, when I read a poem, as if I was on the exciting brink of something, I just felt stupid because I knew I couldn’t go there on my own.
I rediscovered my love of poetry through learning to engage with my dreams. Trying to analyse a dream can make you feel confused instead of excited, and I soon gave that up. But if you relax and let go of worrying about what they mean, ideas and associations might bubble and pop as you remember and reflect on tham, or you may find no immediate associations with your day life at all.
Either way, as with poetry, the key to enjoyment and ultimately understanding is to approach you dreams with your child mind, your beginner’s mind, open to all its possibilities.
Don’t ask what it means, but rather feel and experience what it is – let it work in you. Enjoy its images, patterns and music. Hold it in your mind without interfering; allow learning and insights to develop and grow.
What makes fiction, poetry and dreams so intriguing is that they are products emerging into consciousness in the minds of their creators, who don’t even know yet what they are. They are beyond the reach of logic and reason.
Sharing dreams, sharing writing, in this attitude feels exhilarating, and we’ll be doing six lovely sessions of it here in Cornwall, starting on January 20th. If you’re in the area, do check out the details on my workshops page.
If you can’t get to a workshop, there’s plenty more about how to approach dreams and writing along with lots of creative exercises for you to try in my book Writing in the House of Dreams.
Thank-you for calling by the House of Dreams in 2015, and may 2016 bring you much love, peace and joy.