Some times, when my wife asks what I did that day, I’ll reply, I was thinking and then I woke up. It’s a joke, and it’s true. I find that dozing state, where you can move back and forth across the water line of consciousness, to be a productive area. As I drift there, images, phrases, scenes, come into view. Bits of songs can be heard. Strangers, long gone friends, and fictional characters start to talk.
Most artists recognize the creative power of dreams. Keith Richards insists the opening of “Satisfaction” came to him when he was asleep. He awoke one morning to discover that during the night he had recorded something on the tape player next to his bed. The tape had 30 seconds of the iconic chords and then 45 minutes of him snoring. Similarly, Paul McCartney says that the melody for “Yesterday” came to him in a dream. Coleridge insisted that the poem “Kubla Khan” appeared to him while dreaming (under the influence of opium), and in her diaries Dawn Powell frequently mentions her “Dream Self” has been doing a lot of work on a manuscript.
Coleridge claimed to be interrupted by a visitor before he could get the entire poem down. One key to dream ideas is to record them immediately. Otherwise they float away.
There has been plenty of research to support the value of napping and a list of the world’s great practitioners include Edison, Einstein, DaVinci, Brahams, and Benjamin Franklin. Personally, I believe that Newton wasn’t sitting under the tree when the apple fell, but sleeping.
I try to find a place to nap every day, no matter where I am. If I’m not home, I lock my office door, flip my car seat back, or find a park. I not only know where I can doze around town, someday I’ll write a guidebook “Naps Around the World.” I’ve taken some great ones at Versailles, The Tuileries, the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Chateau d’If. Yosemite, everywhere I’ve travelled.So, when I’m asked the question that almost all writers and artists get, “Where do you get your ideas?” for me, it’s simple. I get a lot of them lying down. If you see me somewhere and it looks like I’m asleep, I probably am. But don’t wake me, I’m working.
Keith Richard's Satisfaction
The Value of Power Naps