Over a hundred years ago, a guy named Sigmund Freud pointed out that our brains are not as smart and orderly as we like to think. Instead, there’s a ton of weird stuff swirling below the surface—which we see shades of in our dreams about dinosaur dentists and flying bananas and going to school in scuba gear. The crazy ideas we see in our dreams are always right there inside us, but they mostly try to hide during the daytime.
Suppose your brain is like the Earth. On top is the crust, which is the part we can see, that has trees and skyscrapers and giraffes on it. But that’s just a small fraction of the planet. Below that there’s roiling magma and tectonic plates and a molten iron core. And that deep-down hidden stuff cause major happenings on the surface—like volcanoes and earthquakes and gravity—even though we never see it directly. Sigmund Freud suggested that our brains are like that. He called the top layer the Conscious, and the underneath layer the Unconscious (or Subconscious), but the principle is the same: all that hidden stuff we glimpse in our dreams has a big effect on who we are, even though we can’t always see the connections.
One way to find amazing material for writing is to trick that stuff into coming out when we’re awake—to dive below the surface (like brain spelunkers!) and dig out the sparkling buried nuggets. That’s what this workshop is about.
Note: The sequence of activities here is flexible—none of them depends on the others to work, so you can mix and match, or leave things out for a shorter workshop.