When we talk about ideas, we sometimes hear the phrase, “I just dreamed it up.” I have heard this said, but I believed that even those who used the phrase most likely did not fully dream an idea. It may have “just come to them” popped into their heads out of nowhere, but did they really have a dream where something they had never considered before played out in a deep sleep? Maybe so… probably not. I do know that until recently I had not really had cause to say “I just dreamed it up.”
I actually was asleep. The idea did come in a dream. Action, in full color, took place in the background. Music played over top of the action. Over top of the music were the words… a poem. The words kept repeating, over and over. I woke up enough to realize what was happening and still the words hammered in my brain.
At this point, I should let you know that I am not a poet. I do not write poetry. I rarely ever read poetry. Even in a novel where the author has included a poem, I often will skip the poem, particularly if it is more than a few lines. That is why I was so amazed that a poem came to me and that it would not get out of my mind.
Two generations ago, back in my college days, I learned that when something like this happens, you make a note, a reminder, and then you can go back to sleep. I picked up my cell phone from the bedside table and recorded the first couple lines, rolled over thinking I would go back to sleep. I was wrong. Over and over, the poem repeated. I retrieved my phone and recorded a few more lines. Surely, my mind would let this serve as a reminder to remember the words come morning and satisfy whatever part of me still held on to this poem. Again, I was wrong.
It was cold in the bedroom. I grabbed my long flannel bathrobe, stuck my feet in my fleece lined bedroom shoes and trudged to the computer. There I wrote the poem in its entirety. With all the words “on paper”, I headed back to bed and immediately fell asleep.
No more poems have made their way into my dreams, but, now, I can truly say, “I just dreamed it up.”
Author of Extinction, Survival, Death in a Small Town and Shadow Knight: Dark Justice.