I had no name for what I did at night. I didn't even know it was weird. Why count sheep when you can create dreams?
I thought everybody could. Did you want to fly? Well, close your eyes and take off! I remember one time I dreamed how I would have acted if Peter Pan had knocked at my window. Of course, I would have been magical like him and pledged never to grow up. If those jealous mermaids began pulling on me, I would have dived right in turned into a mermaid myself and the joke would have been on them! Or maybe I would have turned into a fish... Dreams are funny that way, always morphing when you least expect it.
I didn't know that only lucid dreamers can change a nightmare or wake themselves up if they don't like the direction things are going. Nightmares? What are those? I had very few of them growing up.
I finally realized that not everyone dreams like I do when I met my husband. He is not a lucid dreamer. "You mean you can control your dreams?" he said.
"You mean you can't?" I replied.
But I still didn't know what it was called.
The different styles of dreaming are still foreign territory for me and my husband. Whenever I face an emotional struggle, he prescribes a kind of "dream therapy" for me: "You say you can control your dreams. Why don't you put yourself in (and he describes a situation) and let your subconscious get used to the idea."
It doesn't work that way. I don't exactly control my dreams. It's more like a visual conversation. Or an improvized movie. Maybe I'll start, or maybe my subconscious will start, and we go back and forth creating a dream together. Sometimes, my subconscious will use this visual communication to tell me something. For example, whenever I need to go to the bathroom at night, my subconscious will create situations where I'm looking for a restroom, or I find one and there's something wrong with toilet, or... You really don't need to know all the variations of my "toilet dreams." The point is, that my subconscious is telling me I need to go, so I wake up and go.
Some writers keep a dream journal. I don't bother. The dreams that are important stick with me, and the ones "just for fun" fade fast. I might pull an image or two out of my subconscious when I'm writing, but the dream in its entirity only makes sense to me.
I tried writing a dream down once. I thought it would make a good story. It was about bullying (before the topic of bullying was a thing). But when I got to the part where the vitim morphed into Charlie Brown, I knew this dream would not matter to anyone reading about it. The lesson was important. The tone of the dream was important. But the story and details would never work in the conscious world. That's when I decided that keeping record of dreams was a waste of time. At least for me.
Instead I continue the conversation in my waking world. At night my subconscious does the talking. It takes the fodder from the day and creates dreams. My conscious mostly listens, changing things only occasionally. By day, my conscious starts talking, taking the fodder of dreams to create stories. It's a beautiful relationship.
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)