Okay, so we all have anxiety, and without turning this into some sort of my-life-is-harder-than-yours contest, let me just say I’ve got a lot on my plate, and I worry about all of it. My short list:
Am I being a bad mother to my 2 year old?
Will I ever actually graduate? Seven years seems extensive…
Will any of my writing endeavors actually lead to something more than “I loved your book, honey” from my mom?
After I do graduate, how will I get a job?
My short list sure makes me think I wouldn’t win any of those my-life-is-harder-than-yours contests, and you know what? That’s great news for me. Still, I spend a lot of time worrying that I’m wasting my life on things that have marginal value. And so much of my life is out of control. I perceive I have little control over major, career affecting moments in my life. And like any good homo sapien sapien, when my back is up against a wall, out come the crazy anxiety dreams.
When I have bad dreams they come in exactly three flavors: snakes, nuclear reactors and natural disasters (usually volcanoes, but earthquakes and tsunamis are a close second). What spawned this tour of my crazy-@55 dream factory was a dream I had two nights ago. Most of my dreams are pretty easy to interpret, from a psychological standpoint, and I won’t waste anyone’s time on the easy ones. No, the ones I find intriguing are the weirdos, where I wake up and shake my head. Did my mind really just make that up?
Two nights ago, I dreamt I was typing on a type writer that spit out words in 180 point type. Only the type writer made objects out of the words. A sentence was larger than a 2 by 4. As I typed out my novel (literally), the words filled the room. I noticed water was coming in from under the door, and I thought, “Oh my god! It’s a tsunami!” I leapt from my chair and headed outside to find higher ground, but it was already too late. The tsunami was approaching, and instead of debris and cars like we are seeing out of Japan—my most sincere condolences to all who are suffering there—my novel rushed towards me in a jumble of giant words. To escape, I climbed aboard an apostrophe (not the punctuation mind you, but the word) thinking that it would float better than other words lying about. The reason for this line of thought is that there are numerous closed circles, as anyone who has ever used the paint bucket tool to color in will notice right off the bat: two Os, two Ps, an A and an E (in lower case in my dream).
Yeah, weird, I was saved by apostrophe.
Then there was the time I had a dream where someone stole my printer. At the time it wasn’t much of a printer. In fact, it was free after the mail in rebate, and I had printed more on it than any other printer previously. I’d printed and bound six books from that printer. In my dream I was riding on the train from the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, you know, the circus train? Well in my dream there was a passenger car on the train. Sitting in my seat, I noticed someone carrying a printer. I realized it was my printer and I jumped up, yelling, “Hey, that’s my printer!” The guy carrying it turned around, and I saw he wore a gorilla suit. But it wasn’t a good gorilla suit with real hair, or anything, he was wearing a felt gorilla suit. Yeah, I know, I can’t even have my stuff stolen by a classy gorilla suit wearing dude. I take off after him and a chase scene right out of the Indiana Jones movie ensues. Mr. Gorilla suit did make it off the train and into the wilds with my printer.
An interesting side note is that my printer, which had been long in telling us of its eminent demise, died the very next day. I guess the gorilla got it after all…
And then there’s the agent dream. I’ve almost written about this one before just because it gives me a feeling of empowerment over the process. In that dream, I’m standing before an 8’x8’x16’ block of marble. In my dream, I know that it’s marble from Pietrasanta, the quarry that Michelangelo got his marble for statues such as David. And then I begin to carve. I carve out 7 figures from the marble so the top halves are almost free of the rest of the marble. They are carved in the neoclassical form, and after a while, I realize that the seven people are actually literary agents with offers (ha! Seven agents with offers, what a gas!).
Again, I like that one because, while it is strange to carve ones offers out of stone, it made me feel like maybe I could. Sure it would be hard, but everything worth doing is hard. Yes it would take a lot of work, but in the end, maybe I’d have David.