Thursday Writing Prompt No. 53

Yellowstone hot spot

One of the many Yellowstone hot spots, this simmering landscape seems like something out of a dream.

This week’s (late) Thursday Writing Prompt is about dreams. Many writers keep a dream journal in the hope that there might be some gold there just waiting to be turned into a good story. Most often dreams are snippets of events and not complete stories, though, so what you have to put into a dream journal are mostly ideas, scenes, feelings. Sometimes that’s enough.

I’ve had a pretty rough summer. The weather has been unrelenting, a 3-day power outage spoiled all my food, and projects at work have been completely uncooperative in my attempts to get them done. I’ve been spinning my wheels since mid-June, and most people I talk to are having a similar time of it. Maybe the Mayans were right: we’re doomed.

When I’m under a lot of stress it tends to come out in my dreams, and this time is no exception. I have two types of recurring dreams that have to do with being frustrated in life. In one type of dream, I’m driving around in a parking garage and can’t find or get to the exit. I have those dreams when I’m trying to solve a problem but can’t quite grasp the solution.

The second type of dream involves airplanes and airports. In the dream, I’m trying to get to the airport to catch a plane, but for a variety of reasons I can’t get there. I’m stuck in traffic or someone is blocking me from getting there. The key difference between these types of dreams is that in the parking garage dream my frustrations stem from me, but in the airport dream the frustrations are external and are things I can’t control. I’ve been having airport dreams this past week.

So this week, think of a dream that you’ve had recently, or if you have recurring dreams, use one of those. What does it really mean? The online dream guides may help you, but I find that symbols in my dreams may mean something different to me than the “official” meaning that dream dictionaries give. Still, it’s a starting point. Think about the symbols in your dreams and look them up, then use that as a springboard for a short story.

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