Every night, as you sleep, the dream eye sets about
to destroy your world – the world of logic, literal meaning,
lock step order and cause and effect.
It dismantles daylight visions, razes buildings, ravishers the landscape
in preparation for paving what Freud called “the royal road to the unconscious.”
McClanahan believes that for dreams to help writers, they must be used in the raw. Writers should not attempt to interpret dreams: “When we stop trying to figure out our dreams, to apply our conscious minds to the pictures the unconscious is painting, we may begin to feel the power of their images.” She explains further, “And we may find that those images emerge in our writing.”
The author says writers can keep pen and paper within easy reach when they go to bed and record everything they remember about their dreams: feelings, shapes, physical details, and dialogue. McClanahan also suggests using the present tense when recording the dream because present tense verbs act as guides that lead you through the dream, When you use the present tense in recording your dream, it will make you feel that you are in the dream.
When you reread what you’ve written about your dream without intending to interpret it, the dream can provide entryways into new poems and stories. McClanahan says dreams can provide insight into your characters or they may give a different direction for your plot. But she cautions: “Though dreams can pave the way to a story, they are not the story itself. Images seen through the dream eye must be tested the way any image is tested by a prudent writer: by how it serves the story.”