I’m a big believer in the significance of dreams. Not in any supernatural way. Just in the way that they can help us understand our own feelings, see the world from fresh angles, and even resolve emotional issues.

For instance, since my father died, I’ve had several extremely vivid dreams about talking to him and discussing the afterlife and my feelings about his loss. These dreams were so vivid, I could almost believe they really happened – but I understand that they are really my own brain trying to resolve my feelings of grief by constructing a way for me to be able to tell him all the things I wish I could tell him in real life.

Similarly, I’ve had dreams about friends, where I hug them and tell them how much I miss them. It’s a coping mechanism. And sometimes I’ll have a dream that feels so real I want to ring up the people I was dreaming about and ask them if they were having the same dream, because it feels impossible that I wasn’t actually talking to them*.

But the dreams I really pay attention to are the ones I can’t immediately interpret. The ones that feel real but have no readily identifiable cause, or feature people who seem familiar, but who I don’t know in real life. These dreams come from somewhere else in my brain, and while they may be examining an emotional truth, they also engage the imagination and my narrative urges. They are stories.

And that’s why I keep a notebook beside my bed – because I’ve taken inspiration for many works of fiction from these vivid dreams, and it’s essential to jot down the salient points immediately upon waking, before the memories start to fade.

Anyway, this is all a longwinded way of telling you to make sure you have paper and pen within easy reach when you’re asleep, because you never know when inspiration will strike, and there’s nothing worse than trying to summon the willpower to leave a warm bed at 4am in order to go downstairs to make notes.

*If you ever have a dream like that about me, do drop me a line, just in case.

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Author: Gareth L Powell