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Monday, August 01, 2011

Dr. Janece O. Hudson Gets Into Your Dreams

Boxing the Octopus Contest/Dream Advice Exclusive: Ask Dr. Hudson a question about your dreams in the comments below or simply post a comment to be entered in a drawing to take place on Friday, August 5th at noon CDT to win a copy of Into Your Dreams! Beginning this afternoon (Monday, 8/1) Dr. Hudson will answer your dream questions on a first-come, first-served basis in the comments section.

Please include an e-mail address with your comment or check back at the blog on Friday afternoon so we can reach you if your name is drawn.



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Right around the time I sold my first book, I was fortunate enough to meet Jan Hudson, the author of more than thirty romances and romantic comedies. During a shared meal at a writer's conference, I casually mentioned a vivid, terrifying dream that had repeatedly troubled me for months, something about continually being cut off on my commute to work by tornadoes dropping from the sky.

That's when I learned of Jan's alter-ego, Dr. Janece O. Hudson, psychologist, hypnotist, and expert on dreams, who, with a few insightful questions, led me to figure out I was not really afraid of actual tornadoes, but that my stories (ideas that come from above, a.k.a. my brain) were going to cause me to leave my secure career in teaching.

That brief conversation clarified my fears about the decision at hand so quickly and completely, I never had that dream again. (And I really did end up quitting my day job soon after.) My subconscious had finally gotten across the message, and I've never looked at dreams in quite the same way since.

That's why I'm especially excited that Dr. Janece O. Hudson has finally shared her expertise in the form of a brand new book called Into Your Dreams. Recently, I invited her to stop by and answer a few questions.

BtO: Hi, Janece, and thanks so much for visiting Boxing the Octopus. I'm curious to know what inspired your interest in dreams?

JH: It seems I’ve always been interested in dreams—I still remember one from my childhood—but I think it was meeting Elsie Sechrist and becoming part of her study group that really whetted that interest. Elsie was an author of a best-selling dream book, an international speaker, and expert on the Edgar Cayce readings, who became my mentor. My experiences with my own dreams convinced me of how important working with those unconscious messages were.

BtO: Has an understanding of the messages of dreams ever offered insights to your own novel-writing or writing career? Do you feel that dreams can influence waking creativity?

JH: Absolutely! Last night in the U.S. alone, there were a billion and a half dreams by people—all marvelously creative, all unique to the dreamer. That’s enough to convince everybody of their own creativity. Look at all the stories there! And, yes, I’ve used dreams in my own writing. In one particular one, as the scene unfolded, I thought to myself, “This is a terrific plot for a book.” I’ve written it as a humorous mystery, but I haven’t sold it yet. Writer friends tell me it’s the best novel I’ve ever written, so we’ll see.

Several writers have reported using dreams in their work. LaVyrle Spencer once told me that a dream awakened her, one so vivid that she got up and wrote it down immediately. As I recall, it was the basis for HUMMINGBIRD, a much beloved novel.

BtO: What can we expect to learn from a reading of Into Your Dreams?

JH:
You can learn how much interpreting your own dreams can enrich your life and get lots of tips on how to do that. You can learn to understand “dream language.” As I often say: You have a direct pipeline to the world’s greatest wisdom. It’s as close as your pillow.

BtO: Thanks so much for stopping by, but before you go, I have to sneak in our standard BtO Bonus question. What's the last book you've read and loved?

JH: Thanks for having me. I just got home from vacationing and reading a half dozen or more books. My two favorites (can’t recall which I read last) were Janet Evanovich’s SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN and Tess Gerritsen’s THE SILENT GIRL.

For those in the Houston area, Dr. Hudson will be signing copies of Into Your Dreams at Barnes and Noble Champions Village on FM 1960 from 2:00-4:00 PM on Saturday, 8/20. Stop by and, who knows? Maybe she'll help you unravel your own subconscious mystery, just as she did mine.

38 comments:

Christie Craig said...

Hi Janece and Colleen,

Great post. Janece has also helped me understand a few dreams. And I have used what I've learned from her not just to interpret my dreams, but to add depth to the dreams of my characters.

I will be one of the first in line to buy Janece's book.

Thanks Janece!

CC

Jeanna Thornton said...

Colleen, you are have chosen one of my favorite topics: dreams.

My recent one is me, awakened in the middle of the night by my door bell, opening the door and walking into another city, having an adventure and waking up on my sofa...

Hmmmm.

Dr. Hudson, can you tell me about my dream?

April Kihlstrom said...

Love the post! Timely for me since I had a nightmare last night. Plague hits the city and we're all running to escape it--into a subway then highrise building. I'd been on the president's staff and was carrying some of his vital papers. The president and his staff get well ahead of me going up in the highrise. I barely outrun the infected people trying to get us. When I reach his offices I give him most of the paperwork but hold back the most vital one believing that if I turn it over they will kill me because a) there are limited resources and b) reduce the risk if I turn out to be infected. Very vivid dream. Usually I know what my dreams mean but this one has me puzzled.

Barbara Sissel said...

What a terrific post! Dreams (and Edgar Cayce!) are such a fascinating subject. I've always wanted a book about them and am so glad to know of Dr. Hudson's book. I have kept a dream journal from time to time and hunted through the symbols for clues. Recently I dreamed of a large standing, beautiful white rabbit that had several smaller white rabbits in a semicircle between its feet. As the smaller dream observer, I felt almost Alice-in-Wonderland like. I've wondered ever since about the meaning! Thank you for this interview, Colleen, and thank you, Dr. Hudson, for stopping by. I can't wait to read your book!

Colleen Thompson said...

These are all so fascinating. Thanks for participating, and thank you, Dr. Hudson!

My latest recurring dream has been bugging me for a couple of years. I'm looking up with a crowd of people at a stream of parading alien spacecraft. The ships are strange and beautiful, always in a single-file line--and just about to rain some kind of bombing and destruction down on mankind. Often this is followed by some kind of dystopian world where survivors run in gangs through bombed out buildings and I'm imprisoned with other women in this strange new world and can't get home.

Could be, I just read too my science fiction, zombie, and dystopian stuff. :) But I have versions of this dream so often, I sometimes recognize it's *that* dream again within the dream.

sarah said...

I might have to read this book. I keep having a reoccurring instance in my dreams - where I find out that a mistake was made and I have to go back to high school.

Kathryn Paterson said...

Ha, you know me and my trippy dreams! Seriously, I eat this stuff up. Congratulations on the book!

TessStJohn said...

I have very few dreams...and they're usually bad ones. Is there a reason for that? I claim it's because I have such a blessed life in the waking hours!

Ruth said...

Hi Janece.
I'll be in line at the siging to get your book. I still talk about you to friends and tell the story of when you had an allergic reaction on your arm and kept having a dream in which you heard sniff,sniff. I believe it was telling you you were allergic to a lotion or perfume. My daughter wants to get the book so she can try and figure out a recurring dream where all her teeth fall out.

Ruth

Janece said...

Christie, Good to hear from you!

Jenna, glad to hear you love dreams. So do I. To be sure what your dream is about, I'd need to have some details, and everybody needs to remember that dream symbols are unique to each individual. If this were my dream, I think it would be telling me to open my mind to new adventures and possibilities. Are you thinking of a move? Not just a physical move but are you confronted with the possibilities of change? How did you feel in the dream when you woke up on your sofa? What emotions did you experience? This reminds me a bit of those butter commercials. ;-)

Kit Frazier said...

If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Hudson, the next best thing is reading her book--my guy swears he doesn't have dreams, and I'm the opposite, I dream several dreams every night.

Dr. Hudson's book has opened his eyes (or, shut them in deep REM), and now he actually realizes he dreams every night, and that those dreams are actually helpful in his wakeful life.

For the most part. He is a redneck--so he's a bit limited on how much info he can take in at one time . . .

Janece said...

Wow, April. This is a scary one. Again, with the same caveat I gave Jenna, dreams are unique and you are the best interpreter of your dreams. That said, it's been my experience that disturbing dreams are often about threats to our basic need--those defined by psychologist Abraham Maslow.
The most basic needs are physiological ones, then safety and security ones. I would guess this is about something in those areas. A good way to approach dreams is to relate the dreams basic premise--and to find the moral of the story.
This story is about a woman trying to escape a threatening situation (can be all sorts of things). The moral of the story is: you have to take care of yourself.
If this were my dream (and I had a similar one recently), I'd look first to my physical health so that I didn't catch something. Or you might have already exposed to something and your body is responding to a threat from germs. If not germs or allergens, then this could be some sort of stressor that can overwhelm you if you don't look to your own needs. Does this help any? Feel free to explore these ideas along with current events in your life and write back. Thanks for sharing this.

Janece said...

Hi, Barbara. Interesting rabbit dream! The first thing you need to ask yourself is, "What do I associate with rabbits?" (Particularly very large white rabbits.) One way to do this is by role playing a rabbit. (People and animals in our dreams are often parts of ourselves or represent some sort of abstract concept.) "I am a big rabbit. I..." This can give to clues as to what the rabbit represents.
You mention feeling like Alice, who fell into a topsy-turvy world. Have you felt that way about your world recently? How did the dream end? Endings very often reveal the message, moral, or direction being suggested by the unconscious.
Feel free to write again and expound.

Janece said...

Colleen, you mentioned earlier that you've had recurring dreams before. Such dreams are like messages in bold letters with explamation points. What started happening in your life about the time these dreams started? What's going on with you when you have another one?
This sort of Armageddon dream is a common one and often happens during a time of transition and/or growth. (It's scary to leave the safety of the known and comfortable.) This reminds me a bit of your tornado dreams. Do you in any way feel a "prisoner" of circumstances (particularly w/some other women)?

All, more questions or clarification of your dreams are welcome! And anyone else can jump in if you have some comment or insight.

Janece said...

Hi, Sarah. I hope you do read my book. Your dream of having to go back to high school is a variation of a common dream theme of finding yourself back in some (usually unpleasant) situation or circumstance (a former job or relationship). Always remember that dreams are about current events. What was high school like for you? For many of us, it was a time of insecurity. (For you, it might be something else entirely.)
This sort of dream usually crops up at times of anxiety of the type you experienced then. Are you a worrier type?

Colleen Thompson said...

Janece,
That makes a whole lot of sense. Around the time the dreams started, I was forced into an uncomfortable change, along with a number of other women writers I know. But the ideas (the alien spacecraft maybe) just keep coming, so wildly outside my comfort zone that my security-loving soul fears even more change.

Thanks for helping me figure it out. Maybe now my dreams can go back to their regularly scheduled programming! :)

I'm loving reading about other people's dreams as well. This is fascinating!

Janece said...

Hi Kathryn! My dreams are pretty trippy, too. Thanks for the congrats on the book.

Janece said...

Hi, Tess. Everybody dreams several dreams each night. I suspect that you only remember the bad ones -- sort of like writers and their reviews. As I've mentioned before, the bad ones often remind us that we need to look at some unmet needs (or sometimes they scold us a bit for some behavior). How marvelous that you have a wonderful life!

Janece said...

Hi, Ruth. That dream you mention is one of my all time favorites, and I included it in INTO YOUR DREAMS (under an alias, of course).
I'm looking forward to seeing you and others in Houston on 8/20.

Janece said...

Kit Frazier, m'dear, what lovely things you say. Glad to hear you're educating the redneck in the wonders of the dream world.

Janece said...

Colleen, glad to be of help. Change is often scary. Sometimes experiencing such situations in our dreams is a way of mastering our waking apprehensions.

All, I've noticed some typos in my responses after they're published. Please excuse those I didn't catch. I hope you can figure out what I meant to type.

Colleen Thompson said...

Janece,
I promised to send you a warm hello from Vikk Simmons, along with a congrats on the new book!

Barbara Sissel said...

Janece, Thank you. Topsy turvy seems to always be my world! As for associations with rabbits, they're adorable and cuddley, but this rabbit struck me as in charge as if he had the answers and all of it was under control so maybe it was a sign. No matter how it appears, it's all orderly and ultimately fine?? I can hope anyway. Another one I had recently was that my hair was falling out. I've heard of dreaming that your teeth were falling out, but your hair? I bought the book and can't wait to read it.

April Kihlstrom said...

Janece,

I'm thinking it has to do with my transition into epublishing getting my backlist into ebook form and having some rights back and letting the publisher have others (hence the paperwork I held back from the President and his staff and heck don't we often feel--as writers--as if publishers have huge power?). The plague might have to do with finances and/or the changes in publishing. But I'm paying attention to everything--physical or otherwise--just in case my subconscious is trying to warn me about something else. (Oh, and since that day I'd watched an episode of Fringe in which characters had a plague that might have influenced the imagery....)

Janece said...

Barbara, I like your interpretation of your rabbit dream. I thought of Harvey, the rabbit.
What do you associate with your hair? Or hair in general? Power (like Samson)? Thinking or thoughts (that which comes out of your head)? Have you been having any physical problems that could cause hair loss? (hormones?)
Hope the book helps.

Janece said...

Colleen, give my best to Vikk. I was just thinking about her the other day.

Kathryn Paterson said...

Okay, I'll bite. What about this dream:

http://www.boxocto.com/2010/02/of-literary-agents-and-magical-goats.html

It has been recurring, until recently. Now it seems to have been replaced by a dream where I'm wandering through a large hotel ballroom at night. The floor is littered with all sorts of writers, some in sleeping bags, some on blankets, and some in cots, mattresses, or fully framed beds. I'm wandering among them, trying to find my "bed." It's sort of like a big writer slumber party, except I'm terrified and I don't know where to lie down. Then I finally find a nice "bed" in the corner, and get into it, only to find someone else already there. And I say "oh, it's you!"

And then there are the dreams where I'm standing in FRONT of the hotel naked and wrapped in a blanket, and surrounded by a large group of drag queens--but I think I've already given you quite enough to work with! :)

Colleen Thompson said...

Already have, Janece.

Thank you so much for spending the day with us. I so appreciate your willingness to sharing your fascinating insights. Can't wait to read the book now. I hope to make it to the signing for an autographed edition.

If you have the time to continue in the comments section, we'd love it. If not, I hope that everyone will check back Friday when we'll announce the winner of the autographed copy!

Janece said...

Sorry, folks. After dinner, I sat down to watch TV and fell asleep. Kathryn, I loved your agent and goats dream. That one would require a lot of dialogue and questions, but I think you answered it in your dream: In some way, at some level, you didn't feel ready. In the other recurring dream among the writers in the hotel ballroom, it sounds as if you're trying to find your writing niche and frustrated about it.

Your being naked among drag queens is a variation on that theme. Our clothes can be our identity, our persona. I've always said that writing is like flashing the world--you sort of "bare" yourself to everybody.

I love your dreams. See? I said dreams are marvelously creative--and yours are especially so. Examine your dreams as you would a highly symbolic poem or short story. What theme is the writer trying to express?

Janece said...

I'm open to more questions or dialogue, either here or on my website at www.janecehudson.com.
I've loved spending time with you. Thanks, Colleen, for inviting me.

Sandra Spicher said...

Hi, Janece and Colleen. What a fascinating discussion! I don't know that my latest dream needs much interpretation (or that there's anything to interpret), but it's fun, so I'll share it. Yesterday morning I woke myself up laughing because I was dreaming about excuses to call in sick to work that day. "I think I might have gotten too much sun." "Or maybe I'm dehydrated." "Okay. I admit it. I'm just tired."

I did make it to work, though.

Janece said...

Hi, Sandra. Sounds like your need for more sleep was really "talking to you." Go to bed earlier tonight! ;-)

Linda Warren said...

Hi Janece,
As I get older I seem to dream more and more. Is that common?

Love this topic. I'm definitely buying your book to find out why I dream so much. And then can't remember half of it.LOL

Linda

Nancy J. Parra said...

Wow- this is wonderful reading. I can't wait to get your book, Janece. If you're still talking dreams- I keep having reoccurring ones where no matter how big the house or hotel is there is still not enough room to put people- there are so many I can't even find peace in the bathroom. Ideas?

Janece said...

Hi, Linda. I can't recall offhand studies that may have been done about dream recall and aging. I've heard anecdotal reports on both sides of the issue. Some seem to recall more, some less. It may be a matter of attention and time. Many of us have more time to slow down and "smell the roses" as we get older and have less hectic lives with children and other demands. My dream recall seems to be about the same.

Janece said...

Hi, Nancy.
Remember that dreams are about current events in your life. What's going on when you have these dreams? In some way you're feeling crowded in on. (Hotels may represent temporary situations.) Are you an introvert who needs some privacy and alone time? Are demands or ideas overwhelming you? Take some time to yourself.

Hope you'll find INTO YOUR DREAMS helpful.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Thanks, Janece!

sarah said...

Thanks for the analysis! I'm a worrier. Even more now with baby taking up my time.