What Dreams May Come, A Confession

It has begun. The dreams, I mean. Whenever I am apprehensive about something, I dream about it. You know, like the rest of the world. The problem is that these dreams never seem to go well. In fact, the only good part about the dream was waking up and experiencing the relief that it was a dream.

The catalyst this time is I have an important event coming up in my life. On September 15, eleven days from today, I will launch my first novel into the world. Friends and family, along with people I don’t or barely know, will show up at two o’clock at Ashland Coffee and Tea in Ashland, Virginia, to see me and, hopefully, buy my novel, Floating Twigs. I’ve been apprehensive about it for a while now.

First, I worried that I might not have ordered enough books. I’m still worrying about that, in fact. I ordered sixty, and it’s too late to order more without spending a prohibitive amount on shipping. Of course, what I want to do is sell fifty-nine of them because once I sell the sixtieth book, I’ll fret about what to do if someone else wants one. Yes, it will be available at Amazon, and there will be a Kindle version, but the truth is that once the person leaves Ashland Coffee and Tea, he or she might decide not to buy a copy after all. I know that won’t be catastrophic, but it will bother me—for weeks.

Then last night—or rather early this morning—I dreamed I forgot to bring the books to the event. Yes, I know how impossible that is. Then, probably triggered by my happy agreement with a writer friend to allow her to “buy” my book using her book as the currency, I had quite a few people there with used books they wanted to exchange for mine. It was chaotic, as dreams often are, especially troubling ones. And as anyone who truly knows me will tell you, I loathe chaos.

However, even in the chaos of a bad dream, seeds are planted.

I say that because one other good thing besides waking up to discover it was only a dream happened. When I awoke, a wonderful opening sentence concerning chaos, fear, and other “negative” emotions popped immediately into my head. Sometimes it happens that way. I will be doing something totally unrelated to writing when a sentence or idea will invade my brain and settle there, refusing to go away until I can write it down. Once written, the sentence or idea percolates, which is what I call it when an idea takes up residence in my brain to develop. Others call this allowing the idea to cook. Either way it’s a good metaphor.

Anyway, I got out of bed, opened a new document on my computer, and typed the sentence, making small changes to its structure. (Ah! The percolating has begun!) Now the idea it spawned will bug me until it grows roots and branches to become a story or maybe even another novel. If it becomes a story, I will write it in a day or two and be done with it, taking time from writing Hell is Empty, my current novel. If the idea becomes a novel, it will have to wait until I finish this one and possibly the three other novels that have been percolating for a while now. Which one I write all depends on how much a novel is screaming to be written. One is already beginning to knock rather loudly.

I know other dreams about my book launch will invade my sleep over the next eleven days. I suppose if the seed of a book or story is born from the chaos of the dream, it will be worth it. But in all honesty, I’d prefer to come up with the idea and let the dreams be good ones.

Charles TabbComment