Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Grizzly Dream

I have a lot of bizarre dreams, sometimes nightmares. I've plucked a couple of story ideas from those subconscious, unconscious mind pictures, even created a character for a short story that has grown into the fourth draft of a novel.

The dream I had night before last has curious possibilities. I was walking on a path very much like one of the natural area trails that are common in Northern Colorado. Without warning, I came upon a grizzly bear and her two cubs. Mama grizzly charged at me. I told her I would leave, and I turned my back on her and walked away.

In my dream, I turned my back on her and calmly walked away.

I can't imagine where this came from. There are no grizzly bears in my part of Colorado. The only real bear I ever saw in the wild was a small creature somewhere in the Appalachians sometime in the 70s. And if I did run into a mama grizzly with two cubs, and the mama charged at me, I would freak out.

But it gives me an idea. What if a story character has no fear? Not the reckless type who feels the fear and does it anyway, but someone who was skipped when normal fight or flight responses were passed out. What if she does not feel fear and does not understand the concept of fear, similar to a person who does not feel physical pain and cannot imagine what physical pain feels like? Would such a person recognize danger? What would this character do if charged by a grizzly bear?

I'll have to think about this to see if I can turn it into a story.

Or you can.


Anonymous said...

A dream become a story! Excellent!

Galen Kindley said...

Yeah, I think this is a great idea around which to build a character, if not the whole story. Better hurry, or, I'll just have to steal it! (Just kidding of course.)

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Sounds like an interesting idea to explore! Or the story character could become a psychopath (the mystery writer in me...)


Karen Walker said...

Hi Patricia,
I'm so terrified of encountering wildlife in nature, I can't even imagine a character with no fear. But how fun it might be to write one.
Dreams can be rich for ideas. I love yours. I'd be more apt to explore what the dream means for you, but that's the memoir writer in me.


Karen Brees said...

Nice twist at the end. Dreams can become good sources for writing ideas. Got to capture them quickly before they vanish in the light of day.

Gayle Carline said...

Great idea for character development. It would be interesting to do some research into human behaviors to see how this kind of person lives their life, choosing a career, socializing, etc. See how you've set a writer's mind in motion?


Enid Wilson said...

You sure have some strange dreams. The weirdest one I had was trying to fold up a car and put it into my pocket so there was no need to find parking! Maybe one day such a car will be available.

In Quest of Theta Magic

N A Sharpe said...

I knew a group of kids like that. Autistic. Totally unaware of fear. I remember taking a group of four to the park one day. I turned away for just a moment checking on one of the kids who had gone to the swingset. When I looked back the one I had been talking to had disappeared. Icy cold fear clenched my heart. He had seen a puppy across the street and was crossing a very busy street totally oblivious to traffic. One of the single most frigntening moments of my life.

Good luck developing your character and story.

NA Sharpe

Jina Bacarr said...

What if your character was from another planet where the inhabitants had no need for fear?

Shipwrecked on earth, they learn that having fear can be a good thing...I'm reminded of the fairytale, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, where the children blindly followed him into the enchanted mountain and we know what happened then...


Anonymous said...

That is a captivating idea for a character's makeup. Go with it, if you can "get inside the head" of such a fearless state of mind, it'd make for a great and different sort of read.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful blog - I especially like your generosity in encouraging other writers to take the idea and develop it.

Dreams are a wonderful source of inspiration. And if you keep a journal and/or other writing sullplies close to your bed and start recording the dream the instant you wake up, more and more of it will come back to you.

In Native American tradition, a bear is an extremely powerful symbol. What if instead of walking away, you visualize standing your ground and befriending the grizzly mama? And/or write a dialogue with her. (These ideas stem from my former life as a creative arts therapist.)

conarnold said...

Interesting idea for a story. It's great when a dream can develop into a story, if you can remember it! Jotting notes as soon as you wake up is a good idea before it fades away.

K. A. Laity said...

I often make a practice of writing upon first awaking, otherwise dreams do fade. It's when I'm really tired that I end up waking in a dream, because otherwise I'm already floating up to consciousness when the alarm goes off. It's amazing what happens in our brains while we sleep!