The Therapeutic Potential of Creative Writing: Writing Myself

By Gillie Bolton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX

Dreams Which Put Us in Touch
with Ourselves:
‘The Royal Road’

Every poem happens in sleep.
How outrageous sleep is!

(David Hart, ‘A child, the earth sends postcards out’)

I write in the morning. In fact what this means is that I begin writing at
night, in my dreams.

(Helene Cixous, The ‘Double World’ of Writing, p.18)

The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the
unconscious activities of the mind.

(Sigmund Freud 1959, p.608)

It is so important not to have any preconceived, doctrinaire opinions
about the statements made by dreams.

(Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p.343)

Sleep is outrageous because our dreaming selves know so much more than our waking selves. They’re wiser, have a breathtaking sense of humour and lack the inhibitions of our socialised daily selves. Dreams are ‘the royal road’ to understanding ourselves, simply bursting with useful images, stories and references to myths, puns, jokes… They give us a side of ourselves which we tend to squash or ignore.

‘Ask your dreams’ is what I often say to people who feel stuck with a seemingly insoluble problem or a matter they don’t understand about themselves. A man had just realised his physical problems were probably irritable bowel syndrome. ‘That’s a nervous complaint’, he said to me, ‘yet I’m

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