Some of my trippiest story ideas come to me in dreams.
Before you ask – no, the story about the musician in “The Thirteenth Note” did not come to me in a dream. The idea of a thirteenth note – an auditory experience that was beyond our current comprehension – while very Lovecraftian in nature, was something I had thought about before having the opportunity to experience any of Mr. Lovecraft’s work. And of course, the idea of holding a lead weight in one’s hand as they fell asleep so that the resulting jolt would shake them awake really had its roots in reality – legend has it that Sir Isaac Newton would fall asleep like that so that he could get new ideas
(or was it Thomas Edison?)
But while the basis of the story did not come from a dream, one crucial element of it did – in my dreaming experiences, I have heard many an unfathomably beautiful melodies, all usually in that murky, half-awakedness state just before one wakes up. Except in the dream that became the basis of the story, it wasn’t the sound of a thousand stringed instruments or the sound of distant, enchanting chimes, but the sound of a solo electric guitar being played in perfect harmony to a song I learned from church.
(the song was The Heart of Worship, by Grammy Award winner Matt Redman, if you must know)
I’d say that 1 out of 20 story ideas that I end up developing have their roots in dreams that I’ve had. “Cloud Memory“, for example, was written on a whim, right after an afternoon nap that had me dreaming about a shell shocked war veteran who had seen countless horrors in his experiences in the army, and is trying to find escape from those memories in a normal life, and then finally finding a girl who would be his salvation.
Still another story (that I have yet to develop to this day) is titled “Masterclass”, concerning the most powerful psychic in the world on the run from the government in a cyberpunk future. This one came from a nightmare I had where I was taking a casual stroll in the streets at night, when an earthquake suddenly struck, and sent condominium blocks collapsing onto each other like dominoes. Then came blaring sirens, blinding floodlights, and just before I woke from the dream, a voice was calling out: “Attention all citizens: the Masterclass has escaped custody. Repeat: the Masterclass has escaped custody.” And for some reason, I instinctively knew that “the Masterclass” was an extremely powerful and extremely dangerous psychic.
I can’t even begin to understand how this brain works, but it works – so I’ll be happy with that for now.
As I laid asleep earlier, sometime between 5.30P.M. and 8.30P.M., this title came to mind: The Clown Murdered At Midnight, a classic whodunnit murder mystery set in an insane asylum, where large shadows are cast over the white walls that stinks of industrial-strength bleaching agents, and where it’s always night and the moon is always full, but obscured by dark clouds. It’s as creepy as it sounds.
Perhaps you’ll be hearing about this soon.