by Brian Mullen
I love dreaming.
I like the entertainment value that comes from being in absurd situations where everything is just taken in stride. No matter how weird things get, it all seems to make perfect sense during the dream. I remember a dream I had during the time of my first real career job where my boss was possessed by the devil and it was my job to fire her. She was slowly spinning in a swivel chair with fire shooting out of her eyes and uttering a gutteral moan and I'm like, "You know, things just aren't working out here." I remember waking up and laughing.
Periodically, however, I find my dreams to be wonderful sources of story telling. My very first attempt at a novel stemmed from a dream I had. I remember in the dream it was night time and I was walking down a crowded sidewalk. I came to this bar-type deal where the bar was in the exterior wall of the building. So the bartender was standing inside the building but the stools were outside the building. There were several barstools, maybe six or so, and all were occupied except one. As common in my dreams, I somehow knew the unoccupied one was MY barstool. On my barstool there was a stack of newspaper clippings and I remember thinking that, because this was my barstool, these clippings were meant for me. Someone had left them there for me to find. I don't remember what was on the clipping I looked at but I remember it was remarkably trivial - say "Bob gets a haircut." And I remember thinking the equivalent of, "Why, that's not true. I just saw Bob and his hair has never been longer." The dream continued on for some time but I remember waking up and thinking about this conundrum: a newspaper clipping regarding an exceptionally trivial matter that is incorrect. Is Bob lying about getting a haircut? Or did someone create a false newspaper article about a haircut? Why do either?
It took nearly a month of brainstorming but eventually I came up with what I believe to be a plausible rationale for one of those two possibilities and I sat down to write my first mystery novel. This happened about six years ago.
Recently I have gotten hooked on a television show that NBC has been gracious enough to post each and every Season One episode on their website. In the past week plus I have been watching them all. On Wednesday I had a dream that involved some of the characters from the show. I got up, walked to my whiteboard and fleshed out an entire character and character arc for the show. On Thursday after work I thought of another character that would make the perfect foil for the first character and plotted out his arc. I have decided to try to write a screenplay (more for fun and experience than anything else) using these arcs. If things turn out moderately well, I may try to track down the writers (the show is sci-fi and the writers appear at conventions and on blogs fairly often) and see if I can get it into their hands somehow. If not, I may be able to convert it into a novel. Most sci-fi shows wind up having fan fiction novels that accompany them. Stranger things have happened.
As I finish writing this blog, it is about ten minutes past midnight. I have yawned several times during the last paragraph and I am grinning. I'm about to crawl into bed, close my eyes and invite the next dream. Who knows, it may inspire yet another novel. But even if it doesn't, I know it will at least be entertaining.
I love dreaming.