Please Don't Dance on it (the writer's subconscious)

The subconscious. Friend to the writer. Friend with a wicked sense of humor.

I have a pad and pen by my bed. Sometimes I'll dream some scene or story, wake up and write it down. Or a line of dialogue might pop into my head. I have a mini tape recorder in my car for the same reasons. I've gotten some great stuff from this. Full blown storylines, wonderful little character traits.

And sometimes I get... "Please don't dance on it."

That's what I found on my pad this morning. I don't remember writing it. I don't remember what the hell it means, or why it was important enough for me to lean over and scribble it down.

Does this ever happen to you? How does your writer's subconscious work? Do you carry tape recorders into the shower, or have a pen and pad by the toilet? Have you ever written a note to your writer-self, then gone back and had no freaking idea what it means?

Do you think the writer's (or any artist's) subconscious works on a different level than other folks? Do you think our subconscious likes to muck with us from time to time? I'd like to know just where the hell my Newfie muse was around 2:30 this morning....

And if anyone out there knows what "Please don't dance on it" means, shoot me a message.

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Oh, Christ, this happens to me all the time. I find little notes around my desk that I simply don't remember writing, have no idea what it refers to and can't find any possible use for.

I carry a recorder with me wherever I go, but forget to use it half the time. I'm at the age where I'll get up to go to the kitchen, get halfway down the hall and not remember where I was headed.

Paul Schrader, of Taxi Driver fame, once said that he doesn't bother with notes because he figures that anything he doesn't remember isn't worth remembering. Or something along those lines.

And I'm guessing the dancing might have something to do with a grave?
I agree with Robert, Paul, that the dancing must have something to do with a grave. Kinda creepy. What WERE you dreaming about at 2:30 this morning?

Or maybe... you were referring to a stage. Do you know anything about musical theater? Because if you don't, and your subconscious is aware of this fact as well, then maybe you were dreaming you had a Broadway dance audition and the director stopped you after the first count of eight, dropped to his knees, and begged you, "PLEASE don't dance on it." Meaning his sacred stage.

At this point, I was going to ask you if you remember anyone being on their knees in your dream, but I thought that might come across wrong, so I won't ask.


You know, this would have been so much easier to decipher if you had written "Please don't RAIN on it." Then we'd know for sure you meant "my parade." Go check your pad again. Maybe you read it wrong the first time. You were awake at 2:30 AM, after all - maybe your eyes are still a bit blurry.

For my little humor columns, I keep a pad of paper on my nightstand, but I'm not writing down ideas I dream up in my subconscious because, like all of you who have small children, my mind rarely sees its subconscious side. I am awakened at very odd hours of the night from one child after another crawling into our bed, and so I spend the next hour or two staring at the ceiling, writing in my head. And once I happen upon ideas that might be somewhat amusing, I grab my pad and write them down.

And then the next morning, I reread my hilarious prose. And rarely laugh. Things seem SO much funnier to me at 3 AM.
Uh-oh. Mysterious messages from the unconscious...

I'm not a tape recorder, message pad, multiple computer notes files person. Guess I fall in with Schrader - if an idea or thought doesn't stay with me, it probably wasn't that great to begin with. If it REALLY sticks in my head, then I write a few paragraphs down and keep it in a file on the 'puter. I go through my work files every month or so & if the idea hasn't done anything or seems lame-o, it gets deleted.
I use a memo pad because it's handier than a laptop and writing longhand is how I first make sense of most brainstorms. I don't know that the writer's subconscious is different, only that writers are inclined to articulate what pops into their heads whereas someone else may just chalk it up to indigestion.
I carry a hardback notebook which has snippets of dialogue, outlines of situations, notes for stories... you name it. Sometimes I've come across stuff and had no memory whatsoever of having written it, on one occasion several pages on an A4 pad. Other times, I simply haven't been able to read/make sense of what I've written. Often when this happens, drink has been involved.

And if anyone knows what 'she'll ming the tainty' means, do tell. That's a one I woke up with one morning a long time ago. It sounds vaguely Scottish and at the time I thought it was sufficiently profound that I dragged it out of a dream with me. I've been wondering why ever since.
It means 'it's good' - so don't beat it to death.
Sounds to me like the punchline of an elaborate joke involving Enzyte.
I often get brainstorms in the middle of the night when I have insomnia. I don't write them down, though. I reckon if they're any good, I'll remember 'em in the morning. Plus, my wife would shoot me if I started scribbling in bed.

I do think the subconscious is a powerful resource for writers, though. You just have to keep a close eye on it, as it can never be trusted.
Were you by any chance watching "Dancing with the Stars" the night before you wrote this? Maybe it means you shouldn't audition for the show!

I tap into my unconscious most easily when I'm sitting at my computer and the words flow from my fingers. It doesn't happen when I write in longhand, nor when I consciously try to summon up ideas without a computer handy. 747bv Incidentally, I'm leaving the foregoing "747bv" because my cat Lunesta just typed those characters by walking on my keyboard. Perhaps she's telling me to write about jet planes - inspiration can come from all kinds of weird places. I don't know if artists' subconscious minds work on a different level, but I think we may be more receptive to tuning into what's lurking below the surface.
"Please don't dance on it"

A story about a man obsessed with bringing back the dance of 'La Cucharacha', a man burdened with the task of always having to carry around his huge schlong.


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