The life of a writer from the eyes of my 7 year old, daughter:
“Jeez, you deal with us AND write in your tiny office all day? No thanks. When I grow up, I’m going to be a wife so I can just go to work!”
I’ve started jotting down my dreams and thought I’d compile them into a series of posts. They’re not stories - not in the logical beggining-middle-end kind of way. Honestly, I’m not sure what they are but Freud would certainly have a field day. So here’s Dream 1:
I stand in a sea of frogs, millions deep, miles long. Their low-groan cacophony envelopes me. I begin to sink into them as they squirm out from under my feet. Just inches from going under, the croaking roar ebbs as the billion-fold frogs retreat through time: frogs to tadpoles, tadpoles to eggs. I find a vile of something in my hand. Poison, or a drug, maybe. I uncork it and pour it onto the eggs. Under my hand, they desiccate, finally turning to black paste that holds my weight. With the poison, I build a rotted path through the eggs and begin to walk.
Sinkholes open around me, eggs collapsing down to the abyssal plain miles below. The voids quickly fill with wallowing lava. Within the lava, massive slugs writhe in ecstatic fervor. I begin to run as the gaping maws of lava and life infest the egg sea.
Finally, I reach the shore. Before me, mountains spring up. I begin to climb. As I do, twining, coral-like spires rise around me, sequoia-tall. I move faster to keep from their web. Up and up.
I reach a massive cave. It wriggles before me, edges quivering in reaction to my presence. I enter. Behind, the cave grinds shut.
Black crushes in on me. And silence. I inch forward, hands outstretched. Then light. Dim at first. I burst into a vast room. A man (naked and lose limbed) stands at its center. His face has burrowed in on itself, pocks of bone gleaming through. He is old beyond old. And he is me.
Terror grips me. I plead with him to come with me. He refuses. I can’t let him stay. Not here. Not like this.
“Useless,” he mutters. It’s my voice, but husked and pitted with age.
I grab him by the arms but he will not come. Waves of panic slam into me. He claws at me, hits me, but he is old and tired. I let him pummel me until he has lost all strength. He crumples to the floor, skin and bone. Mostly bone. I grab his hands and drag him from the room. We re-enter the darkness - so thick it takes on weight. I strain and pull, the man fighting me, gasping out pleas I don’t heed. Can’t.
Finally, we reach the cave’s mouth. Don’t turn to face it. I know I mustn’t. Instead I back against the cracked lips and push. The man whimpers. I press harder, legs straining. I feel some give. Then, release.
We spill out into light - but no ground. The mountains, the coral, the lava - all gone.
Only air greets our escape and we plummet faster and faster, forever accelerating through roaring sky. The earth appears - nearing - impact. It swallows me and I continue to fall. The dirt grinds me down, ripping skin from bone. Pain decimates any sanity I’ve got left. The man is gone. No. That’s not right. I have become the man.
After an eternity, I land in a room. Tight and dank gray. It is my prison cell - one with no no key because there is no door - no exit at all. I stay. Forever? I don’t know. It’s hard to cut the vast swath of time into pieces. Into the time, I speak a mantra: “This is my cell.” Over and over. Sometimes a shriek, sometimes a whisper.
Time trickles past and with it, a realization begins to take hold. This is my cell. I’m am not its prisoner. I am its creator.
The room grows whiter and wider. Finally, it bleaches into pure void.
I break into a run, faster and faster through the nothing. Lost in action, I don’t notice my pursuer, not until a crossbow bolt slams into my back. With the pain, time wrenches down. I watch the arrowhead burst from my chest, drenched in gore. Rage fills me. I rip the bolt free, my own viscera tugged with it.
I whip around to confront my attacker. She does not match my fury. Instead, she gazes at me - a study in calm contrition. She wears the garb of an amazon, but there is a familiarity to her. I know her, and I don’t.
Looking at her, reality warps. I know suddenly that I am dreaming and lost in a world of my creation - my own painting that drew me down.
Knowing this, I rise up. Out of my canvas world - up into the body I know, lying in bed. Next to me lies my wife - whom I know, and I don’t.
I sit up, trying to lock back into reality. A night light spills soft orange light into the room. When did we get a nightlight? It illuminates a picture, hazy at first, then details begin to condense. It reveals a sea of frogs. A falling man. Poison and pain. Running. On my wall, the painting rebuilds itself.
It locks me. I can’t turn away. An itch to return becomes fire. I rise from my bed and put a finger to the painting. As I do, it extends into a third dimension. I pull my hand back and take the painting off the wall. I touch the wall - normal. I flip the painting over; it’s black, smooth and flat. Only a signature mars the surface. It might be my own.
I sit back on the bed, painting on my lap, riding sleep’s edge. My wife, whom I know and I don’t, throws a hand onto my thigh, hooking me to this world. But the hook slips. My head falls back, imprisoned within the pillow. Eyes close. I can’t stop them.
I taste vinegar. Poison. A drug, maybe.
The tang of it rips me from sleep. My eyes snap open, my mouth all cotton and bile.
I stand in a sea of frogs, millions deep, miles long. Their low-groan cacophony envelopes me…
I’ve been writing, rewriting and then deleting the same scene for a week and a half. At this point, I’m ready to kill ever character involved.