(I’ve cross posted this one on dreaming an creative people because it’s a fascinating topic. It first appeared on Drey”s blogspot, February, 2011)
One of the most visited posts on my KRK blog is Do Creative People have more Vivid Dreams? And from the research I’ve done the answer would have to be yes.
I’ve always had vivid dreams, in full colour complete with back-story. If I’ve been reading graphic novels the dreams will be stylised and, on occasion, they’ve been set to music with people speaking in rhyme. I’ve used the feeling that resonates with me after dreams as the basis for stories and even a book series.
This painting by Maxfield Parrish is called Daybreak. It’s his most famous piece. My grandparents had a print hanging on the wall in their living room. I distinctly remember looking up and seeing it for the first time. I must have been five or six because it was very high on the wall and I couldn’t get close enough to it. I love the dreamlike quality of this painting.
Here is a list of dreams some of which prompted people to create a book or song, others led to scientific break throughs. My son, who is studying computer programming dreams about logic sequences. I dream up solutions to plot problems.
In his article ‘The Dream Canvas’ Tori DeAngelis quotes Stickgold. ‘There may be a good metaphorical reason that artists are so attached to their dreams. In the broadest sense, dreams mimic a critical stage of creativity: brainstorming the range of possibilities, or what psychoanalysts call free association.’ Apparently, when dreaming the ‘ … brain areas responsible for executive control, logical decision-making and focused attention shut down … while sensory and emotional areas come alive. In addition, short-term memory functions are deactivated, so that the emotional content of images remains, but the waking context does not.’
Recent research has shown that there are people who are prone to lucid dreaming. ‘Watson … says that he was surprised by the finding. “I actually thought dream recall was going to be related to stress and anxiety, because the literature indicates that the things that disturb sleep tend to promote dream recall,” … Instead, his data support the idea that there’s a type of person more likely to tune into their dreams than others.’ And that was the creative person.
Do you experience Lucid Dreaming? This is a form of dreaming where you know you are dreaming, and you can exercise control over the dream. This may sound impossible, but it is believed computer game players have control over their dreams.
In their study of creativity and dreaming, Pagel and Kwiatkowski found that ‘dreaming is likely to have a functional role in the creative process’. And now scientific studies have found that if you nap after studying and dream about what you were studying you are likely to retain more. So the tip is to study, then sleep on it before an exam. Maybe you find it hard to sleep before and exam. If you’re like my cat you can sleep anywhere, any time.
For me, dreams are very real. I’ve had conversations with people, only to realise by their blank expression that the discussion I remember occurred in a dream. No wonder they looked confused. (Now I’m starting to sound really weird. LOL).
Do you have vivid dreams? Do you draw from them to inspire your writing, music or art? Do dreams help you sort through problems in your waking life? Do you dream more vividly after starting a new job and learning new skills?