Tropical lab 10 – Fictive Dreams

johngardner

John Gardner on Fictive Dreams: 

“In the writing state—the state of inspiration—the fictive dream springs up fully alive: the writer forgets the words he has written on the page and sees, instead, his characters moving around their rooms, hunting through cupboards, glancing irritably through their mail, setting mousetraps, loading pistols. The dream is as alive and compelling as one’s dreams at night, and when the writer writes down on paper what he has imagined, the words, however inadequate, do not distract his mind from the fictive dream but provide him with a fix on it, so that when the dream flags he can reread what he’s written and find the dream starting up again. This and nothing else is the desperately sought and tragically fragile writer’s process: in his imagination, he sees made-up people doing things—sees them clearly—and in the act of wondering what they will do next he sees what they will do next, and all this he writes down in the best, most accurate words he can find, understanding even as he writes that he may have to find better words later, and that a change in the words may mean a sharpening or deepening of the vision, the fictive dream or vision becoming more and more lucid, until reality, by comparison, seems cold, tedious, and dead.”

This year’s theme, Fictive dreams, loosely alludes to Sigmund Freud’s The interpretation of dreams (1899) and John Gardner’s The art of fiction: Notes on craft for young writers (1991). The camp invites the participants to delve into fictional worlds where dreams and nightmares probe our notions of reality. How can art project ideas and scenarios of the future? And how do fiction and dreams inform our experience of the contemporary world—a world that is plagued by unimagined maelstroms?  

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