Dream thinking

So many times now I've gone to sleep thinking about a problem I need to resolve in a tvdetective book, some teaching work, or a talk.  And so very often I've woken to find I know the answer.

It happened again this morning.  I spent some of last night working on how to communicate a strangeness in a character, without resorting to something obvious like have them running down the street naked apart from their undies, waving the flag of the European Union. 

I was tired and not getting anywhere, so I got fed up with it and put it aside.  And lo! There's the solution when I awake, clear and beautiful.

It just goes to emphasise how powerful are these wonderful brain things that we've kindly been kitted out with - and how little we really know about how they work.

I was wondering if the reason for the sudden inspiration this morn was simple - that I'd had a chance to rest and so was fresher to find the idea as I woke.

But I suspect it's deeper and more subtle than that.  I'm sure the mind is working away, even as we sleep.  It's a restless machine of remarkable abilities.

I did wonder if the dream-thinking thing is connected to instinct.  How often we sense something is right or wrong in an instant.  And then go on to convince ourselves otherwise, perhaps because we've been brought up to think long and carefully about problems or issues.  And so any answer we find at once must - we suspect - be wrong.

I've come to conclude there's a great deal to be said for trusting your instinct, particuarly in this authoring lark.  Many times now I've written something instinctively, then looked back on it and thought it was amongst the better of my humble scribblings.

The other great advantage of dream-thinking is that it necessitates a lovely cosy lie down - and what could be much better than that, as these dark and damp months surround us more and more by the day?