The story behind this vignette is pretty straightforward: my wife had a dream I thought would make a fun story. She does that on occasion. We’ll wake up in the morning and she’ll tell me about a dream she had and I’ll think one of two things: 1) that would be a great story or 2) dream Craig is an asshole. Dream Craig is always doing something shady in my wife’s dreams, cheating or telling her he doesn’t love her and all sorts of other untoward things Real Craig would never do.
Normally when she tells me about her dreams it’s because of the latter. In the case of Nightmare / Dream, Dream / Nightmare it was the former.
So that’s where the idea came from. But the events of her dream gave me the idea to experiment with the form a little bit. I have a small obsession with how different people view the same events in different ways. I’ve explored this concept in a lot of my stories, particularly in my novel The Inhabitors. Dreams, though, were something new. What if there were a shared dream space? And what if, in that space, one person’s dream might be another’s nightmare and vice versa? What if that all happened within the space of the same dream? With that, it felt natural to write the story from each perspective side-by-side.
I think it’s a fun story (despite its dark subject matter) and may be something I explore in more detail in the future.