Posts Tagged ‘dream’

“In the writing state—the state of inspiration—the fictive dream springs up fully alive: the writer forgets the words he has written on the page and sees, instead, his characters moving around their rooms, hunting through cupboards, glancing irritably through their mail, setting mousetraps, loading pistols. The dream is as alive and compelling as one’s dreams at night, and when the writer writes down on paper what he has imagined, the words, however inadequate, do not distract his mind from the fictive dream but provide him with a fix on it, so that when the dream flags he can reread what he’s written and find the dream starting up again. This and nothing else is the desperately sought and tragically fragile writer’s process: in his imagination, he sees made-up people doing things — sees them clearly — and in the act of wondering what they will do next he sees what they will do next, and all this he writes down in the best, most accurate words he can find, understanding even as he writes that he may have to find better words later, and that a change in the words may mean a sharpening or deepening of the vision, the fictive dream or vision becoming more and more lucid, until reality, by comparison, seems cold, tedious, and dead.”
– John Gardner, “The Art of Fiction”

If you’re writing fiction then anything can happen — so long as you earn it by making your world believable.

Your readers will stop reading if you bore them or break their suspension of disbelief.

Life doesn’t have to make sense but fiction does at least have to pretend to be plausible whilst you read it.

Would your character commit suicide by cop or quietly choke to death on their own vomit after a drug overdose?

Does your alcoholic detective speak like a character in a Shakespearean tragedy or just misquote Shakespeare?

A little realism goes a long way.


We Are Full of Humans

Posted: April 10, 2015 in graffiti living
Tags: ,

I dreamt that a guitar-playing band of puppets (basically an evil, pretentious and hipsterish gang of muppets) had a hit single rock-ballad extravaganza called ‘We Are Full of Humans.’

And that, right there, is why I need to quit drinking.

I’m not sure why I shared that with you — but nobody reads this anyway, so I don’t really care.

Have a great weekend.

Write or the puppy gets it

Posted: February 1, 2015 in graffiti living
Tags: ,

I dreamt that I was a published novelist who donated the proceeds from his works to charities in appropriate and amusing ways.

For example, in one novel my main character killed kittens. So from every copy sold, I donated a percentage to animal shelters and catteries, saving kittens etc. Ditto the other books.

I also encouraged my readers to do charitable things in the name of the novels. For example, they gave blood and ran blood donors recruitment drives upon the launch of a vampire novel.

Each book benefited a different cause. They attended anti-vivisection and pro-vegetarian rallies for one book, and participated in sleep research for another, which was a book of dream-inspired short stories.

All the books were eco-friendly, carbon neutral, made from recycled paper and I planted trees for every book sold.

This would perhaps be a fun way to behave after getting published, but in the dream it back-fired. Readers demanded more books and threatened to do unspeakable things if I didn’t come up with the goods.

They kidnapped dogs and held them to ransom. One dog would be released after each novel was published. So long as I met their demands the dogs were fine. But after I while, I ended up with writers block.

Their ultimatum: “Write or the puppy gets it.”

So whenever I’m stuck I say, “Write or the puppy gets it.”


When asked what I write, I usually grunt and say, “words”, before making a hasty retreat.

When asked why I write, the most honest answer would be, “I don’t know, and even if I could afford a psychiatrist, I’m not sure that I’d want to find out.”

The phrase I once came up with when trying to sum up what I write was, “I want to show the world its own dreams.”

No doubt this is pretentious art-bollocks and sounds like something you’d read on a t-shirt or the blurb on the back of a book, but let me explain what I mean.

Imagine the world is a group of people, and your country is one of the people among them. It has views of itself, it thinks it is a pretty good guy deep down.

It means well, or at least tells itself that it does in order to get to sleep at night, and tries to convince other people of the same. It also likes to look at how well it stands in relation to others — how important it is, how popular.

The world wants to be loved. But when it sleeps, the truth comes out like a broken river.

All the nagging fears and doubts pour out as dreams, hidden truths, in a stream of images and symbols that form their own language and say more about them than they would ever say when awake.

This is where the truth is. Dreams show the world what it really is, or at least would do if it could only remember them when it was awake. You can’t learn from dreams that you don’t remember.

Bill Hicks said that, “If you are living for tomorrow, you will always be one day behind. Any organization created out of fear must create fear in order to survive. A living philosophy is not a belief — it is an act.”

I want to take a stand and give voice to something, not politicised or political, but in response to the world as it is.

This also ties in with the mad ideas that I have that all writers are shamans and creativity is a magickal act, intended to manifest change and influence the real world.

‘Show the world its own dreams’ isn’t the most accurate and literal description of what I do when I write, but it’s the best that I could come up with at the time.

So, fuck it. If anyone asks, that’s what I do.

What do you write? Why do you write? Answers on a postcard, in a tweet or as a comment on this post, please.

From dream: Don’t monkey with the meta. Alan Watts was in my head and said there is the source which you can’t access because to do that or go back there you need to be dead. Then there’s the meta, which underlies and lays out all of your possible life options. Then there’s the things you commit to and the things you actually do. But lesson one of school, beyond sit down shut up and listen, is don’t monkey with the meta.