Please tune in on Monday,  July 21st, 2014, (using the link above) for an interview of me by Joan Gelfand (pictured here) on Awakening Zone Radio, Kelly Sullivan Walden’s D-Spot Show,  a show devoted to the subject of dreams.

“In this segment of the D-spot meet artists who have used their dreams in their chosen work. Meet painters, poets and musicians who have received images, words and musical scores in dreams and who have practiced the ‘art of recollection’ to turn their dreams into reality. Hosted by Poet and Writer Joan Gelfand, this show will include a call-in period for questions and answers. Today’s special guest is Claire Ortalda! ”

The time is Monday, July 21st,  at 11 a.m. (Pacific Daylight Time). The topic is how I use my dreams in my creative writing.

Here is what I wrote to Joan regarding my use of dreams in  my work:

I have been writing down my dreams in a journal for more than three decades. I first began when I read Man and His Symbols, a compilation and condensation of the work of Carl Jung by his closest associates.  At that time, I lived in Silicon Valley, did not write, and was bored, bored, bored.  Jung said a study of one’s dreams would reveal that each person’s life was an adventure.  No one, I thought, needed adventure more than I did.  I immediately began “courting” my dreams and they came.

Below are some lines from a fictional piece I wrote that describes this courting process:

…This habit of thinking in symbolic images she had developed as a result of writing down her dreams — every one of her dreams, every night, and she had many. She found that dreams were like feral cats: they had to be coaxed out of the mists, but once persuaded, they brought the whole family.  At first, she could only remember fragments, but, in a very short time, the dream responded to her cooing encouragement, and showed itself whole – an entire story, like a movie, with Trice as the star. She was enchanted, though, as “star”, she certainly encountered a number of difficulties every night and was frequently lost, late, frustrated or found herself climbing dusty mountains for obscure reasons. But soon the mother dream brought her kittens: Dream 2, then, a little shyer, Dream 3 and so on, until Trice routinely wrote down five dreams upon awakening.

Thus, the dedicated dream transcriber is, in fact, regularly involved in what Jung described as “adventure.”  Certainly, many dreams are organized like mythic journeys…a problem to solve, obstacles, often physical, strange transmogrifications of creatures: thus, each night we live our own Odyssey, with ourselves as the Odysseus-hero.

It was soon after beginning this dream-work that I returned to a childhood love: creative writing.

Yet I almost never use a “dream plot” in my fiction though dream images do appear in my poetry and in my fiction.  My dreams are like a fountain of riches bubbling in my subconscious, a reminder of the mythic wholeness, the magic of life, its symbolic symmetry, all of which aspects inform my work.


For more about Joan’s work, go to her website at:


For a review by me of Joan’s most recent book, go to: