Interview to Evelyn M. Duesbury

Interview to Evelyn M. Duesbury, author of the book Writers’ Guiding Dreams

How much time have you been writing? Why did you start writing?

I have been writing since 1991. After I prayed, “Please, 100% spiritual work” I began to notice nighttime dreams. Yet, when dreams first came I thought, “No, dreamwork isn’t what I meant!” Then my husband’s question, “I wonder if Ev’s dreams could be helpful to her?” persuaded me to pay attention. Later, in a dream, a many-colored cloth is thrown over my shoulders. I had no thought before that dream of my possible innate talents with dream interpretations. Astonishment at my “Joseph’s Coat” dream has inspired me since, in my work with dreams and in my writings.

Why did you decide to write to encourage writers to use their nighttime dreams to guide their writings?

The most universally experienced nighttime activity is dreaming. Next is an excerpt from my 2010 book to show why I decided to encourage writers to use their nighttime dreams to guide their writings. (Excerpt from The Counselor’s Guide For Facilitating The Interpretation Of Dreams: Family and Other Relationship Systems Perspectives (Duesbury, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, New York and London, 2010).

During dreaming the cognitive sensor is locked away from bowdlerizing the dreaming mind’s creative explorations into the vast, vast territory of the psyche’s rich accumulations. By cognitive sensor, I mean brain structures that somewhat maintain our attention on directed thought during waking life, but that are relatively inactive or blocked during sleep and dreaming. Consequently, associations and memories (often in symbolism) are frequently far more extensive during dreaming than during waking life.

Now we are talking about the neurology of dreaming. Our brain’s activities during sleep and dreaming differ in various respects from our brain’s activities during waking life.

Next is a very brief exploration of what occurs in our brains during sleep and dreaming that opens our inward view to wide vistas. See Appendix A, The PMID Model Researched and Explored, to support references that I make to individual PMID steps.

On the one hand, some brain structures are either completely or partially deactivated during sleep and dreaming. For instance, the dorsolateral prefrontal and parietal cortex that somewhat confines waking life thinking to directed thought and voluntary control is shut down during dreaming (Braun, et al., 1998). Material entering the dream can thus extend beyond waking life thoughts. Waking life thoughts frequently prompt dreams (PMID Step 2). Earlier experiences (memories) are reflected in dreams, often in the same dreams that connect to similar current waking life experiences (PMID Step 6).

On the other hand, some brain structures are reactivated during sleep and dreaming; for instance, the limbic and paralimbic systems, seat of our emotions (Braun, et al., 1997; Nofzinger, et al., 1997; Maquet, et al., 1996). Emotions felt in a dream reflect the dreamer’s emotional responses to waking life issues symbolized in the dream (PMID Step 4).

The anterior cingulate is also reactivated during dreaming (Nofzinger, et al. 1997). Results include connections to waking life concerns and even possible suggestions for waking life actions. PMID Step 5 supports finding suggestions and solutions in dreams.

The flow of natural chemicals (neurotransmitters) through the brain structures also affects dreaming. Brain chemicals reported to be active during dreaming, their pathways through the brain and to what extent each affects dream contents are the subjects of research with very interesting results.

Who are the writers that inspire you? And why?

Cyprian Smith inspires me because of his insightful book Spiritual Life As Taught By Meister Eckhart, The Way of Paradox, Darton, Longman & Todd, 1987.

Ernest Hartmann, M.D.’s article “Making connections in a safe place: Is dreaming psychotherapy?” Dreaming, Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams, 5(4), 213-228 (1995) was the first of Hartmann’s writings to inspire me. Then his books that cover his research and writings about dreams inspired me. One of Hartmann’s inclusive books is Dreams And Nightmares, The Origin and Meaning of Dreams, Perseus Publishing, 1988 with later edits in 2001.

Louis M. Savary, Patricia H, Berne, and Strephon Kaplan Williams’  book Dreams And Spiritual Growth, Paulist Press, 1984 inspired me for their integration of dreamwork and psychology.

Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. inspires me because of his long-time research and professorship on the study of dreams. A favorite book is Dreamworking, How to Use Your Dreams For Creative Problem-Solving, co-authored with Joseph Dillard, Bearly Limited, 1988.

Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D. inspires me because of her writings about the wide scope of professional activities that are guided by problem-solving dreams. Book: The Committee Of Sleep, Crown Publishers, New York, 2001.

Anthony Shafton, inspires me because of his most resourceful book Dream Reader, Contemporary Approaches to the Understanding of Dreams, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995.

Teresa DeCicco, Ph.D. inspires me because of her support for relationships between dream content and physical health, mood, and self-construal.

Morton T. Kelsey, inspired me in his God, Dreams, and Revelation for his revelation of his discovery of the omission of Synesius’ works from English texts. That omission, and other philosophers’ pejorative assertions about dreams, had diminished respect for dreams. (Among the practical applications of Synesius’ philosophy was his conviction that people should explore the personal meanings of their dream symbols–a practice that is gaining momentum in current times–instead of consulting dream books for interpretations.) Augsburg, Minneapolis, 1991.

Rosalind Cartwright, Ph.D., inspires me because of her sleep and dream research (Book Crisis Dreaming, Using Your Dreams to Solve Your Problems, written with co-writer Lynne Lamberg, HarperCollins, ASJA Press, 2000).

Naomi Epel inspires me because of she stimulates writers in her book Writers Dreaming (1994). “Epel’s book is primarily about other writers’ guiding dreams, and primarily about fictional writing” (page 75, of this current Writers Dreaming).

Edward Bruce Bynum, Ph.D., writings use intellectual language beyond common writing language.

Houston Smith, for his The World’s Religions, a comprehensive presentation of, as the title reveals, the world’s religions, HarperSan Francisco, 1991.

  1. B. Jeffrey, for his teachings about the divine. (Books: Coordination of Spirit, Soul, and Body (1948) and The Principles of Healing (1939), books published by Christ Truth League.

Swami Sivananda Radha because of my respect for her teachings about dreams as spiritual. Her book is Realities of the Dreaming Mind, Timeless Books, 1994.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain. Mark Twain inspired me because of his fine natural storytelling abilities.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, because of his demonstrations to trust individual intuition.

Henry David Thoreau, because of his emphasis on living in natural surroundings.

How should we begin to read this book?

Begin with the Purpose and continue straightforward throughout the book. Answer each Self-Study Quiz at the end of each Section and each Chapter. Those Self-Study Quizzes are meant to imbed the information to meet our purpose, which is to encourage professional people to use their nighttime dreams to guide their writings.

What is the most important thing for you in a book?

The most important thing for me in a book is its benefits to the reader.

What can we find in this book?

You can find lessons in this book on how to use nighttime dreams to guide your writings.

Can you tell us about your writing process? What’s a typical writing day for you?

My typical writing day is to review my computer files of dreams and interpretations I have selected for a particular book. Each day as I write the book, I sort and review each dream and each interpretation. Though I never change my recorded dream itself, I do review my original interpretations and rewrite those interpretations as my intuitive (what I call “knowings” occur to me) guide, or as subsequent dreams guide.

Along with writing I am always alert for articles and books on the value of dreams. I belong to American Counseling Association divisions, and to American Psychological Association divisions.

Why should we read Writers’ Guiding Dreams?

The book’s purpose is to “encourage professional people to use their nighttime dreams to guide their writings” (p. 17). Thus, writers who do or will have inspiration to work with dreams should read the book for assistance to use their dreams to guide their writings. Even writers who have no interest in guiding dreams, should read the book to find the many suggestions in the book for how to write well. For instances, read Chapter 1, Dreams Bring Tips for Beginning Writers, and Chapter 2, Pathways to Writing Well.

Readers who are curious about dreams should read this book to expand their curiosity into knowledge. Research shows that all people dream.

Readers who are interested in more than one book about dreams should read Writers’ Guiding Dreams because this book contains guiding dreams for articles and five books, including books written by other writers in addition to Duesbury.

Do you have any new Projects?

Yes, I have another dream-guided book in process. I also continue marketing projects for my other published books.

How would you define your experience with Calíope editorial?

My experiences with Calíope editorial were: First, grateful the company from Spain was interested in my book. Next, pleased and delighted with their masterful enhancement of my painting for the cover. Throughout I admired Calíope editorial’s rapid responses to my requests and onward to preparation of the book for publication.


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