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I’ve been finishing up a story that asks if we are awake or dreaming. Recently I read from the brilliant scientist author Oliver Sacks, “Waking consciousness is dreaming – but dreaming constrained by external reality.”

Are we dreaming life?

Dreams, the ones when we are asleep, seem to me to be somehow pure. Pure self. In contrast, the dreaming-while-awake seems often very boxed in, and maybe this is by external physical realities. The time of day, the heat or cold of the air, work or unemployment, time spent in the company of friends or enemies or strangers all box in our dreaming-while-awake.

I’ve been fascinated by dreams, the sleep time ones, and nightmares for as long as I can remember. How is it that the mind creates and lives such vibrant experiences when out of touch with external reality? It’s baffling. But it is also true that when I write stories, they come to me as dream like thoughts. Unbidden, difficult to grasp, sometimes frightening, and almost always unrelated to external physical realities of the moment. It has not yet been possible for me to really “work” at a story any more than I work at a sleeping dream. Spending a little time trying to understand both the sleeping and waking thoughts, and to make room for my dreams, becomes more and more important to me as I get older. And the more I write, in a sense, the more I am living my dream.

What do you think, are you dreaming life, living a dream? A little of both?

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