After rereading some of the stories I eagerly read in my youth by the Dutch writer J.M.A. Biesheuvel I noticed that he actually gives clear hints about his ways of collecting material for his stories.
In for example the story Broos’ boze droom from the bundle Slechte Mensen (1973) Biesheuvel tells about a man who writes down his dreams that are a mixture of all sorts of events and combines this with weird stories heard from all sorts of people around him.
Looking at a number of Biesheuvel’s own stories this seems to be a valid explanation for the contents of a lot of his works. The majority of his short stories is packed with anecdotes and sometimes surreal situations with clear autobiographical elements. It creates a wonderful mixture of dialogues, events and images.
Another hint about this way of collecting material comes from the story Het Medaillon from the bundle De Angstkunstenaar where he tells about two window cleaners that visited the office where he worked and that told a lot of colourful stories. He continues by telling that he regrets that he can only remember one of the stories because “In those days I didn’t make notes yet (…)”. This story is also a good example of Biesheuvel’s style as it starts with a situation sketch that is later completely abandoned, a detail that adds to the feeling of a spontaneous and personal way of telling stories.
It seems like a practical way of composing stories that could fit me well as I like to write down all sorts of fragments, dialogues, thoughts and stories from inside my own brain or life around me. Combining some of them in short stories is a good way of using as much as I can.
….osme parts oar also half demolished
and dot liook too goofd.
Dreams are an important source of information about things I usually already know about me. But they make me aware of what I go through in a beautiful and fascinating way. When in a dream state I experience the emotions in a rather direct way and visualize them into images that often can be universal symbols that strike a cord with any human. They are simply great stories or fragments of it.
As I want to write from the heart I want to use these sighs from my inner world when writing.
In earlier days I would try to memorize the entire dream and write it down on paper as soon as I was out of bed or had time to do so. A few days ago I started the computer after waking up as I wanted to have it written down at the right place immediately. How irritating it was to wait for the computer to finish
whatever it does. When I finally could write I
noticed that I had a lot of trouble controlling my fingers, probably because I still wasn’t really awake and occupied by the dream and it’s emotions. They didn’t
go to the right letters and I had trouble concentrating on doing it
right. It was a frustrating experience but there was not much I could do. Luckily I can read sentences like “osme parts oar also half demolished
and dot liook too goofd” and “….bu I can tog to far becuas ei must
get back at some poitn venthoggh I am… “.
In order to remember a dream it helps to go through it right after waking up. Following all the scenes in the story will often bring up already half forgotten fragments and will make you memorize it better.
A few days ago I recorded a dream with my invaluable mobile phone only a few minutes after waking up and after finishing the going-through to find all the fragments. I simply spoke out loudly while rehearsing the dream a final time.
Yesterday, a few days after the dream was dreamt, I transcribed the recording to my computer as literally as made sense in order to preserve a casual and direct tone in the text.
I think this practice helps my writing as I get an insight in my personal world in inspirational story fragments written down in a manner of speaking that I can’t really duplicate when sitting down to write anything like it.
I’ll make it a habit.