by Gina Sestak
We -- each and every one of us -- create fiction in our dreams.
Earlier this month, I had the great good fortune to participate in the 25th annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams [IASD] in Montreal, Canada. IASD is an eclectic international group that includes MDs and shamans, psychologists and writers, clergy and artists and others who share a common interest in dreams.
It is difficult to condense the all-encompassing experience of the conference into a single blog post. My days often began before 7 a.m. with a short peaceful walk in Maisonneuve Park across the street from the hotel before beginning the steady stream of lectures, seminars, panels, workshops and social events that continued to 11 p.m. or so. There were usually seven activities going simultaneously; I decided that I didn't really want a wand -- I wanted a time turner so I could participate in all of them! [FYI, wands & time turners are featured in Harry Potter.]
Here's a sample:
At 8 a.m., there was a choice between nine dream study groups and a yoga class. I participated in a group led by an Anthropologist. [Last year, I picked the one led by a Jungian analyst.] We worked one person's dream each morning, using a method developed by psychiatrist Montague Ullman. Monte was a long-time participant in IASD who died recently in his 90s. In the Ullman method, one person describes a dream. Other participants discuss the dream by saying, "If this were my dream, I would think . . ." No one imposes an interpretation on the dreamer. In the end, the dreamer may choose to share his/her thoughts and feelings about the dream and whether anything said by the other participants rang true.
One panel discussion led by our own Cynthia Pearson focused on Dreams as We Age and included one of the pioneers of modern dream-work, Robert Van de Castle, who kept reminding everyone that he was the oldest living person in the room. He's 80. There were younger people at the conference, too, of course, including several graduate students presenting papers.
Highlights included an art exhibit that featured artwork inspired by dreams, a costume ball, and an awesome dance performed by two members of the World Dreams Peace Bridge which, as many of you know, is an international internet peace group in which I participate.
I could describe the various lectures I attended -- biblical dreams, cultural considerations in working with dreams, creating artificial dreams through cinematography, normal and pathological dreaming, dreaming in color, healing dream in Welsh mythology, histories of dream research and of IASD. I analyzed my dreams in workshops by using tarot cards, pretending to be my car, and writing a short story.
I could describe the audio performance art piece, or the dream telepathy contest, or the wonderful Universal Dream Dance Circle.
But I think I'll stop here and pose a question: Has your writing been influenced by your dreams?