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Invited To Dream Big

It’s weird how science changes the world and us. Things that had previously been mysterious subjects of folklore, legends, and superstitions lose their ethereal nature and become earthly—logical, manageable, and tangible. Of course, science in itself can unlock new mysteries, create fresh superstitions, and baffle us to no end, but sometimes it can shed light on things we might prefer dark.

Such is the case (in my case) with dreams. Growing up it seemed like no one knew why we dream (or, maybe I’m thinking of yawning…), and I was happy that way. I looked to dreams to tell me stories about the world and myself that I didn’t know I knew. My déjà vu has always been about having dreamt a moment in time. Dreams were an escape to a world where anything can happen, with or without reason; an unlimited form of primitive entertainment—television before TV, storyteller when lonesome, and best passer of idle time.

However, once I heard the Radiolab episode on dreams, my dreams about dreams were slightly crushed. Dreams aren’t wild fantasies bringing messages from the astral plane—no! They are didactic and useful. Dreams are life lessons wrapped in bat wings and swirling colors. Dreams are both an escape from and a practice for life. Science taught us this through tests, curiosity, and a desire to dip into the previously unknowable and prove it wrong.

Look, I’m glad I know in a way. But sometimes I miss it—when a nightmare was just a nightmare, and not practice for enduring an assault; when a dream about winning the lottery wasn’t a how-to of human interaction and coping with the possibility of success. Still, science can’t tell us everything about our dreams…yet.

And to celebrate this moment in time when we have brain worlds that are still our own dank caverns of hazy adventures and inexplicable feats, the Loft and Paper Darts invite you to spend one fantastic night working to capture your weirdest and best dreams and save them for later.


Join the Loft and Paper Darts at Open Book for Northern Spark (June 9-10, 2012) for an evening and morning devoted to discovering, uncovering, pinning down, and exorcising your wildest dreams. We’ll have space for micro-naps, dream interpretations, and plenty of paper to write down what happens in that magnificent brain of yours while you sleep. Paper Darts will be present the whole night, taking written work, photographs, and quotes from the evening and turning it into a beautiful zine.

Over the course of the event we’ll hear stories and poems from guest readers (Eric Vrooman, John Gordon, and Sierra DeMulder to name a few), and there will be one room dedicated to a continuous loop of crowd-sourced videos showing people recounting their dreams.

Speaking of which…We want you to submit!

Participate in our Northern Spark event by making a 1-2 minute video of you talking about a dream you had and send it to us! Please do not interpret your dream, or discuss why you think you had it. We just want the (bizarre) facts. Once complete, please use WeTransfer.com to send your video to LoftVideos@loft.org.

Poet Gretchen Marquette, whose poem “Transmigration” is forthcoming in the next print issue of Paper Darts, shows you how it’s done:

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