THE SWEETEST DREAMS
When it comes to supine inspiration, it’s hard to beat these ten people and the genius ideas that came to them in their sleep.
● Paul Mccartney “Yesterday” ● Robert Louis Stevenson
The Strange Case of
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: During a drug-induced nightmare, the writer screamed so loudly that his wife, Fanny Stevenson, woke him up. Startled, he said, “Why did you wake me? I was dreaming a fine bogey tale.” Fanny later burned
her husband’s first draft— she thought it was nonsense. He feverishly rewrote the 30,000-word tale over a three-day period. The book sold so well that it lifted the Stevensons out of debt.
● Dmitri Mendeleev
Periodic table of elements: “Only in one place did a correction later seem necessary,” Mendeleev wrote in
his diary of the table of elements he saw in his dream.
● Elias Howe
Sewing machine needle: Frustrated by his attempts to develop a machine that could stitch together fabric, Howe dreamed that he was about to be executed for his failure. The guards escorting him to the executioner’s block waved
spears—and each spear had a hole at the sharp tip. That was when Howe got the idea to pass the thread through the point of the needle instead of the blunt end.
● Mary Shelley Frankenstein ● Jack Nicklaus
Perfect swing: During a slump, Nicklaus dreamed that he was owning the links in a way he hadn’t been for some time in real life. After analyzing the dream, the six-time Masters champ realized he was gripping the club differently in the dream from how he normally did. “I tried it the way I did in my dream, and it worked,” he said. “I feel kind of foolish admitting it.”
● Samuel Taylor Coleridge “Kubla Khan” ● Keith Richards
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”: Here’s how he described the historymaking moment to NPR: “I go to bed as usual with my guitar, and I wake up the next morning, and I see that the tape [in his cassette tape recorder] is run to the very end. And I think, Well, I didn’t do anything. Maybe I hit a button when I was asleep. So I put it back to the beginning and pushed play, and there, in some sort of ghostly version, [were the opening lines to “Satisfaction”]. It was a whole verse of it. After that, there’s 40 minutes of me snoring.”
● Stephenie Meyer Twilight ● René Descartes