by Gina Sestak
As many regular readers know, I have a strong interest in dreams, both the dreams that come in the night and the the waking dreams that flow out of our minds and onto the page, the creative dreams that we call fiction.
I've been thinking about dreams and creativity even more than usual since seeing the film Inception. Inception is essentially a caper film, but instead of breaking into banks or casinos to steal money, this team breaks into people's dreams to steal industrial secrets, or to plant ideas that might favor a competitor's interests. Without giving too much away, the film involves dreams within dreams within dreams, and the very real question: how do you really know for sure if you are awake or dreaming?
This is a question that has plagued me for years. You're going along, everything seems normal, then all the sudden something starts to seem a little weird, a little out of sync. You're in your house, but there are extra rooms. You try to read, but the letters on the page get up and crawl away. The horse you're riding on deflates; you fold it up and pack it in a suitcase. You realize you are in a dream, and you wake up. Or do you?
I've had the unsettling experience of dreaming within dreams. You think you've woken up but then things start to go a little weird again, and you realize you're still dreaming. When I first began participating in a dream workshop and discussing dreams in depth, I had several dreams in which I would dream, then "wake up" into another dream, in which I would discuss the "dream" I just had with a group of people while still dreaming!
Dreams are funny that way. They pretend to be reality. Just like movies, which are really only dreams on film.
By the way, another movie that succeeds in capturing the feel of dreaming is Living in Oblivion. This film gives a very realistic view of what it's like to make a movie.
So how about you? Do you dream in dreams? Get lost in dreams? Have trouble telling where the dream ends and reality begins?