Dream Mining


Last night, in a dream, I composed a killer first line to a poem. And when I woke up I actually remembered the line. I wrote it down. It turned into a poem.


Several events from my dreams have come true in real life.
The majority of the time, more like 99% of the time, this does not happen.


A mother I used to babysit for told me she dreamed of each of her children before she even knew the sex of the child. A blue-eyed boy with blonde curly hair. A brunette girl with big brown eyes. They both showed up  just as she’d seen them in her dreams.


My grandfather who died fourteen years ago called me on the phone a few nights ago and asked me how my writing is going. He joked that I need to submit to even more journals. He told me he was proud of me. I don’t recall ever dreaming about him before this instance.


In James Welch’s beautiful novel Fools Crow, dreams are sacred. If an animal appears in a dream, it means something. At one point a character dreams a stone is placed in his hand. When he awakes the stone is there. 


One of my poems is a scene taken directly from a nightmare. I merely woke up sweating and unnerved, wrote down a few lines, and went from there. When people tell me they like that poem I don’t know what to say. I don’t feel like I actually wrote it.


I’ve been waiting to see Mike Birbiglia’s new film Sleepwalk with Me for months. It has finally come to my city. The film is based off Birbiglia’s wonderful stand-up act where he describes being a sleepwalker. He describes creatures that visit him, the things he’s shouted in his sleep, and how it was all exacerbated by his current relationship being in an unhealthy place.


I once dreamed someone from my past was trying to write me a letter, but it kept getting lost in the mail. The next morning there was an email waiting from this person and it started with the line, I’ve tried writing this email so many times…


We read Fools Crow in a “beyond-realism” class. We talked about the level of power held in dreams for the Lone Eaters, and how our culture doesn’t have the same respect for dreams. My professor asked if this could possibly fall under the idea of “use it or lose it.”
Maybe humans are equipped to be highly intuitive, but most of us ignore the tools. Maybe dreams are there to communicate certain messages at certain moments, but our culture doesn’t demand us to pay attention. So, like a muscle not exercised, we lose the ability to listen.


The imagery in dreams is almost always more beautiful or scary or incredible than reality, which explains why so many artists try and replicate the experience. The more I write poetry the more I see a correlation between it and dreams.
Some people tell me they don’t like poetry since they don’t get it.
Some people tell me dreams don’t have a deeper meaning.


Last month I dreamed I was in an aquarium, standing by a blue whale exhibit. She was on the bottom of the tank, hibernating, she hadn’t moved in over two decades. The water was motionless and her face was against the glass. I stood in front of her with my face reflecting back. I woke up and, duh, I’ve been depressed lately. My whale is now working her way into a poem.


I’ve decided I want to start exercising my intuition-muscle even more. I want to bulk up. I want people to look at my intuition and whisper “steroids must be involved.”
Since I’m feeling lost and uncertain about life, love, and my writing, I am simply going to wait and allow my dreams to explain shit for me. Even if it requires me to sit and try to interpret the uni-cycling clown that left a used Kleenex in my hand.



  • Pete Sheehy says:

    I actually dreamed I was at Sam’s house and sitting on the arm of his sofa and he was giving me the stink eye about it. Which is probably related to my subconscious guilt about not posting last week.

  • Fitz says:

    So much love for this post.

    1. I didn’t know Sleepwalk with Me had come to Spokane, and if you haven’t seen it yet and want a buddy, I’ll definitely go with you.

    2. I love all these little somewhat connected occurrences of dreams in your life. This post moved so well and kind of gave me chills as I kept reading. To make things even weirder, right before I went to Bark to read this earlier, I told Aileen I’d had a nightmare about the OSM. Woah, connections.

    3. If you keep a dream journal (or just write down your dreams as soon as you wake up from them), it does actually increase what you remember from dreams and lets you exercise that intuition-muscle :)

  • leyna krow says:

    Such a lovely post!

    I’ve never mined my own dreams for material, but I do have a habit of stealing other people’s, as you know (wink wink, nudge nudge). I’m working on a story right now in which a character has alarmingly vivid dreams (and then some other stuff happens too). Most of these dreams I’ve poached from other people I know. Feeling only marginally creepy about this.

  • Shira Richman says:

    For lack of a better word, this post is dreamy–time is suspended and movement floaty, associations muddled, we’ve been so many places and by the end of the post I don’t know where I am or who I am. Thanks for the free trip.

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