Every once in a while I will dream the perfect story. Have you ever done that? You know in your dream that it is a gem, sure to be a hit, so perfect it will write itself. But then you wake up and jot down what you remember and see cavernous holes in your plot - like nothing happens, or there is no antagonist. Still I love those dreams, because like the NY lottery commercials say, "Hey, you never know."
Last night my dream took on a new and disturbing twist. Yes, I did have the perfect story. In my dream I became the main character. I was yellow -- not afraid -- but head to toe a golden hue. And I could fly.
But as the writer, I could not write it down. I felt the lift of air beneath my glowing body, and remembered a few heroic deeds, but I could not capture words on paper. To save the flimsy wisp of storyline before it evaporated I tried to give it life by speaking it out loud. "What if a genie...." (I know it sounds as lame as Tiny Tim, but that's what it was, and let me tell you it would have been a best seller!)
More words would not come. I had to solidify this flimsy form on paper. Clutching a ragged scrap of paper and a pen, I hurried from room to room in a mansion with white floors, white walls, and white furniture looking for a quiet place where my fading fiction would show itself. But this girl kept interrupting. "What are you doing?" It was no one I know and no one I ever want to meet, because she popped up everywhere. I locked myself in the bedroom and she opened the door. I hid in a corner of the bathroom and she appeared instantly. She even found me perched on the highest shelf doubled over near the ceiling.
In the nanoseconds that I had to myself before the girl would appear, I'd scrawl a word or two, but my useless hand gripped the pen like a 6-month-old trying to hold a spoon. My illegible letters dribbled away and dissolved with each attempt.
Then miraculously my husband appeared. Surely he could write the story down if I dictated it to him. So I began. "What if a genie...." But he wasn't writing. Instead he was checking out something on his giant poster board computer. "Why aren't you writing this down?" I cried. "I am," he said and held up the poster board. On it was a list of random words. Cabbage. Doorstop. Porous.
I awoke depressed and exhausted. Never in my 20 years had I had a writer's block writing dream. It disturbed me. I don't have writer's block. I'm writing this blog and this morning I worked on my elephant book. Then I thought about my fictional story that I've been working on for several years. I hadn't worked on it all summer. I was blocked on that. I haven't nailed down my character yet.
But nothing in my dream was helpful. I know that my character is not and cannot be a genie. And I know he shouldn't be yellow. I also know that I don't want to linger within those white walls. I guess the dream gave me a nudge. No answers, but a nudge to keep going. And one more thing that popped into my brain a few times today and made me smile -- I love that flying feeling!
Follow your dreams!