How to enter your dreams, how to store your dreams, how to preserve your dreams

I mentioned in a previous note that touch typing isn’t taught much in our schools, despite the fact that many of the major employers in our country make it clear that they only employ touch typists. They aren’t looking for GCSE biology or A level religious studies; they want touch typing.

And that got me thinking of what else is incredibly important in our society, and which is likewise ignored by schools.

It seemed to me, after a moment’s thought, that creativity was one of the big missing points. In fact, now I come to think of it, the biggest of all the missing points.

Creativity is after all at the heart of our society, and very much at the heart of what we store at Admiral Document Storage.

By this I don’t mean to say that we store very many early computing machines or works of visual art, but rather that most of the written documents and photographs that we store are themselves creative works.

Indeed, even the court case documents that we hold are often highly creative. For, from what I am told, some of the arguments put forward in divorce cases involve some of the most extraordinary flights of fancy and ventures into the world of fiction that can ever have been imagined.

So there are good reasons to teach creativity, and I’m not sure why we don’t teach it. But I have an idea. I think it is something to do with fear.

We are all afraid of creative people – both at work and in our everyday life. For example, we tend not to invite creative people to dinner parties as we are worried that they might strangle the cat and molest the pudding.

So we retain the view that creative people are odd. Take poets, for example (and we do have some interesting original copies of poems in the store). Poets are not people who write poetry. Well, not really. They are people who wear floppy hats, go to strange places and write stuff in notebooks while looking out of railway carriage windows.

Just like composers. Mostly deaf with bushy eyebrows and a pencil held between the teeth as far as I can see.

Of course, teachers reject the notion that they are afraid of creativity, explaining their reluctance to get involved in the Dark Art through the fact that creativity simply can’t be taught. You either have it or you don’t, they say.

But actually that’s not true, and I can say this for sure, because I have seen creativity teaching in practice, and it is a remarkable thing to behold.

Many years ago a friend of mine enrolled for an Open University course on the creative arts, and a significant part of the course involved getting people who would never think of themselves as creative artists (in any sense of the phrase) to get involved in creating artistic stuff.

A lot of different processes were involved in this but two stuck in my mind.

The first was simple. It involved saying to the students, “I want you to be very creative.” Telling people to be creative apparently is one of the major ways to make it happen.

The other was more complex but amazing in its outcome.

The students were instructed to place a pen and notepad on the bedside table and then, upon waking, to write down their dreams. Many objected that they never dreamed, but the lecturer was insistent on everyone having a go.

After a week, most were coming back with notes about their dreams. After two weeks they were waking in the middle of the night, writing down the dream, and falling asleep again. By the third week there were some in the class who said, “I woke up this morning and there were all these notes in my book about a story, and I have no recollection of waking up and writing it down.”

The dreams were, of course, all the things dreams are. Wild, whacky, frightening, funny, bizarre, weird – all the raw materials that creative people use, be they dancers, painters, poets, designers, authors… They all use stories which they express via their art – and the more surreal the starting point the better.

What I really wish is that one day, someone will bring into the archive a book of dreams – having preserved for those who follow on behind them the record of their dreams.

And that I think would be amazing. What, I wonder, did my grandfather dream about. I really wish I knew.

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