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Translating Dreams: The Difficult Job of the Writer

Translating Dreams:  The Difficult Job of the Writer

The other night, I was already asleep when my fiancé got into bed. “I have two important things to tell you,” I murmured, my eyes still closed.

“OK,” he said. (In the morning he recounted this conversation to me… I do not remember what comes next.)

I took a deep breath, as if gathering up my energy. “Cory and… um… Cory and Melissa,” I managed to say. (Cory and Melissa are two of my best friends who are about to have a baby.)

“What about them?” At this point he still thought I might be lucid.

“The seeds,” I whispered.

“What seeds?”

“The seeds are…” I drifted off.

“Did you send them some seeds?”

“No!” I was growing frustrated with my inability to communicate what was obviously very important. “Cory and Melissa are sad.”

“Why are they sad?”

I sighed and rolled over in the bed. He wasn’t getting it, and I wasn’t saying it right. How to make him understand? I tried again. “Cory and Melissa are sad. Because they can’t come with me on the Skyway.” Then I fell back into a deep sleep.

Cory & Melissa and Eva.  (In real life.)

Cory & Melissa and Eva. (In real life.)

In the morning, I vaguely remembered having this conversation, although I did not remember the specifics of what I had said. I remembered that I was struggling to tell Paul something I felt very strongly about, but I couldn’t make the words come out right. It made sense in my head, but when I tried to say it out loud I lost my train of thought. Each time I tried to explain, I got further and further away from the point, and I just couldn’t seem to make him understand. I remembered being frustrated and exhausted. I don’t remember what the “two important things” were.

This is the way writing can feel sometimes. In your dreamlike, creative state, you find a story, but getting it from the depths of your mind and into the real world can be a struggle. It makes sense in your head, but once you start to explain it out loud, or write it in words, or, god forbid, create an outline for it, the confusion sets in. You lose the thread of the story, it doesn’t seem to come out right. What seemed like such a great and important idea starts to crumble.

That’s why the job of the writer can be so difficult. We try to find ways to translate our dreams into stories that make sense to others. We struggle to speak the truths of the unconscious mind and to write words that just might awaken the sleeping soul.

This is what I look like when I'm asleep.  Charming, huh?

This is what I look like when I’m asleep. Charming, huh?

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About evalangston

Eva Langston is a writer, among other things.

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