When The Waking World Destroys Creative Space

Creativity is sometimes a very fragile thing. I experienced that fragility mere moments ago.

 I rarely remember dreams, but I remember what just happened to me in the dream space.

I was in a busy train station, sitting. I was singing into my phone, using the Music Memos app, and the app was not only recording my voice, and guessing the chord structure of the melody I was singing, but it was also transcribing the words I was singing (Apple developers, can you work on that for me please?). 

A family that I knew growing up, a younger version of the children, walked by me on their way to their platform, and took great notice of me singing into my phone. 

When I was done dictating into the app, I realized that I was not only dictating a new song idea, but that a verse from a song that originated years ago had also come through. 

I was thrilled! 

This song first came though (in the waking world) a few years ago, and often times my efforts to finish the song yield no results.

Yet here, in the dream, the final piece of this lyrical and melodic puzzle had been revealed! 

Then, I hear, faintly my wife and preschooler in sleepy conversation. I begin to rouse slightly and realize the lyrics for the unfinished song are slipping, and the new song is all but lost to conscious memory. 

Then, the coup de grâce... 

My wife’s alarms go off. 

My wife has an ingenious series of alarms set on her phone. Each one is a different song, designed to give her a series on sonic cues about how much time she has to get ready and get out the door with the children to be on time for school. 

Unfortunately for me, on this day each additional melody, juxtaposed against my fleeting dream world recall, quickly eroded the last vestiges of the songs I brought through from the Collective Consciousness. 

As I began to rouse further, I mourned not the loss of the tune, and the words, but instead my attention deficit challenged brain immediately implemented preservation strategies, honed over years of struggle to capture inspirations. 

I began repeating the recently realized lyrics, over and over again. Repeating them until I could capture them. 

No use. 

They were escaping before I could even say them (still half asleep).  

Working on pure groggy instinct, I realized that my only chance of salvage was the story itself. This story that I’m writing now.  Maybe, if I could anchor the images, and the melodies, and the lyrics to the story of how I lost them, there may be some hope that they will return to me. 

I begin writing the story, still not fully awake. The title for this blog post. The opening words. I start planning how to remember the story and begin capturing it when I fully awaken. 

The blog app on my phone! 

Where is my phone? Can I reach it and at least begin to get this story down before anyone notices? 

I realize at this point that even the story is in a tenuous place that could slip away forever with even hearing a simple “good morning” or “I love you” before I’ve started to write it. 

I am awake enough now to hear my wife is in the bathroom. I reach for my phone. Wrist splints still on, I fumble with the phone. The abrasive sound of velcro will certainly draw my wife’s attention, and I will lose the last vestiges of what I’ve retained from the dream space. 

The title begins to flow, and the first paragraph. 

”Good morning my love!” I hear my wife say. 

”Good mor...” I mumble, half articulated. It is only then that I realize sleep has not fully released me. 

But I’ve done it. 

I carried back a small piece of the dream space into the waking world. 

I have a chance to remember those songs, those lyrics that it was time for me to bring through. 

And just like that, this story has been told. 

And I think I need a nap.