Ah, the power of dreams. I usually dream about stilt-walking and piglets that look like pugs. This morning I dreamt a complete short story. There was even a twist at the end, making me wake in tears. As I scrabbled through my not-yet unpacked suitcase for my notebook, I was desperate to remember as much of it as I could. I found my trusty Doctor Who notebook at the bottom, and wrote down the narrative in note form before I forgot it.
Yesterday was an exceptional day. My journey home from holiday took one and a half days, involving two ferries, several buses, train, plane and car. Several hours in an airport is enough to drive anyone rather bonkers, but for someone who only encounters a dozen people a day (at the most), sitting by the thoroughfare for the security check-through was fascinating. So many different faces and cultures, from a girl wearing eight-inch sparkly pink stilettos, to a gaggle of women in hijabs. Not to mention muffin tops of both genders, the mandatory screaming kids and old people shuffling (then stopping with no warning) causing mammoth tailbacks to that of tractors at rush-hour. Going through the duty-free department, I came out wearing a perfume which cost more than I’d pay for a pair of jeans. Husband and I later agreed that my wrist smelled like the nappy bags we use to clear up the dog’s poo. That kind of sensory overload was bound to have an effect on my subconscious.
My desired lie-in at home was rudely interrupted by husband’s alarm on his mobile phone at seven o’clock, the time we got up the previous day to catch the train from Oban to Glasgow. My betrothed has the knack of maintaining blissful sleep despite the electronic shriek. It takes several shoves from me to wake him and get him to disable the din. I’m certain that if World War Three commenced, he’d sleep on oblivious.
Having managed to doze off again, then came the half-sleep when anything is possible. In previous dreams, I have ridden on top of tunnelling trains, fallen down stairs, found the ability to fly, and told jokes so funny I’ve woken up laughing. Most times, my dreams are fragmented, too small to do anything useful with in a creative sense.
This time, I dreamt a short story and the ending was so bittersweet, I woke in tears. How can my own brain have the power to surprise me like that?
I first dreamt the idea for a novel, when I was at university. When I woke, I went to my Brother typewriter (I could hardly call it a computer, it didn’t have the internet or even a mouse) and wrote until midday. This led me to write my first novel, and like all first novels, it was terrible, loaded with clique and depression. Of course I thought it was brilliant, and who wouldn’t snap it right up? It got rejected by many agents, but I’m glad I dreamt that morning, or I might not have gone on to attempt a second novel, a crime thriller. That still sits unfinished in my computer. I’ve since written my third book, an autobiography about our smallholding and I’m determined to get it published one way or another.
I’m a novel girl. I like to read a novel, not bite-sized narratives, but I had underestimated the power of the short-story genre to my shame. I am converted. Now I just need to see past the piles of holiday clothes washing, and a generous shell collection from my beachcombing efforts, so I can actually do the dream justice.
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