Have you ever had a dream in which some truth was revealed that you really needed to hear? I’ve had many a vivid dream in my day and most are just a jumble. They may affect me emotionally, but nothing positive settles in once I’m awake. However, if the dream tells me something important about myself or the way I’m going, I wake up with the understanding that “this is the truth.”
Well, I had a dream a few nights ago that told me something important about my writing, and I woke up getting the message clearly.
Dreams often incorporate bits of reality and so did this one: the Dept of Highways is building a road not so far away and we’ve seen gravel piles where they are preparing to fill a low spot. My imagination worked this into my dream.
In my dream, my husband and I were driving a large pickup truck down a two-lane highway when some lady told us, “If you take that road you’ll get to a fair. (Or amusement park?) She gave us directions and we decided to check it out. So we took the turn off she indicated, and the graveled country road was easy for awhile. We made the turns as she instructed — or thought we did — but our road petered out to more of a trail, with scrubby trees close on either side.
Did we miss a turn or did she tell us wrong? At any rate, our trail ended abruptly at the edge of a ravine. We stopped and got out to survey the situation. This ravine — perhaps once a brook but now dry — wasn’t deep. A 20-ft drop maybe? But impassible.
Half a dozen truck-loads of gravel had been dumped in at our side, obviously an abandoned effort to build a road across. I thought, “If we had a shovel we might smooth out some of these mounds of gravel, maybe make it flat enough to drive on for a bit, but where would that get us?
There was no fair or amusement park in sight. We saw a clearing on the other side of the ravine, an acreage with a house, a large grassy area, a couple of horses grazing. Not where we wanted to go. Looking uphill beyond this yard we saw a highway curving past. We watched a few cars and realized that’s where we SHOULD be. On that highway.
So near and yet so far, with no way of getting there from here!
We were negotiating a rather difficult U-turn when I woke up, still with this sense of being in the wrong place, on the wrong road. A person could apply this many ways, but the thought came to me just as I awoke: this is where my writing has been going lately.
For over a year now I’ve been into writing flash fiction and have really enjoyed it. You learn a LOT about being concise when trying to write a story with a very limited word count. I don’t regret having taken this route. But I woke up with the sense that this is becoming a dead end for me. I need to get back on the main road again.
Unlike the road in my dream, writing flash fiction is an easy road, takes an hour or so, as opposed to “nose to the grindstone” book writing and editing. Though I did use some of my flash fiction stories in my recently published book, Silver Morning Song, most of them were done just for fun and a bit of exercise.
I started writing with the goal of producing stories for children and teens, for my grandchildren. I did publish one book, The Rescuing Day, and have several others half done, sitting in my “soon, soon” file. But writing time is limited; I’ll need to devote myself to the main goals or it will be used up on side avenues.
Yes, I’ve enjoyed the scenery but, it’s time to turn around. I’ll still write some short fiction for this blog, but it’s time I got back to working on the stories that initially inspired me. Otherwise I could spend many more hours pursuing something amusing that won’t, in the end, take me where I want to go.
That’s what my dream said to me. Road closed ahead. Turn here.