Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Story is Dreaming With Eyes Open

Have you ever awoken dream-tossed; rattled by the visceral content of your mind left to roam wide and free in the night?

Mornings like that used to frighten me until I realized human beings ought to be startled by how far out the fences of freedom are set. They are a long way out, so far in fact, it takes more than a lifetime to reach them. Understanding that settled some things for me; cut some fetters from my wrists. Waking dream-tossed, amazed or horrified by the stark presentation of my deepest humanity, is, I now see, the entire purpose of story.

When I wake from a naked encounter with my dreams, I have actually woken from a hidden part of my own story: The bits I can't manage to focus on while awake will mosaic together the missing pieces of me as I dream. When I wake, I have lived through chaos and upheaval without leaving the comfort and safety of my bed.

Then, books.

Story stands us up in the eye of alteration and disruption without overturning our waking lives but managing, mentally and emotionally at least, rearrange the furniture.

Life after encountering great story (be it one we read or one we write) cannot remain identical to what it had been before. The shock of story stains us bright colours, throws open the window and transforms us into prisms that toss stories onto the walls almost against our will.

The more books, the more colours.

Repeated, intentional encounters with story have the accumulative effect of growing us as people, but not to the end we might have thought. I once believed story could help me find completeness, fullness as a human being.

Now I wonder if there is such a thing as completeness, capacity of fullness, an end point to be reached while there is still dirt beneath our feet, a story trail to follow, and another night of dreaming ahead.


Susie Finkbeiner said...

This is beautiful. Thank you, Bonnie. Just what I needed today.

Megan Sayer said...

Well I dreamed about you. You were offering to take me on a motorbike to the North West Territories to see a cowboy you read about in a magazine.
This is what you get when you read Novel Matters posts about dreaming just before you go to bed...hmmmm.

Lex from Bohemia said...

Wonderful thoughts! Thank you for sharing your words. The connection between dreams and out personal stories never occurred to me before. Thanks for the thought material!

Bonnie Grove said...

Susie: :)

Megan: It could happen, but no country music soundtrack, okay?

Lex: You are very welcome. Happy dreaming.