Saturday, May 30, 2009


I started writing a book when I was in college, before I even began to think of a career in writing – which, at this point, is still just a thought. I was writing a fiction novel for fun, as a hobby. I had all these beautiful descriptions that I was trying to knit together into one story. I stopped writing it and destroyed all evidence of its existence. I stopped because it was bad. It was a horrible story; it was a horrible, hackneyed love story. Boy meets girl. Girl has problem. Love blossoms amidst it all. Tragedy occurs. Sad ending resulting in a moment of clarity follows. Cue music please.

There’s nothing wrong with love stories, I suppose, but the trouble was I was writing about things I had never experienced – things that I had hardly even dreamed about except through silver-screen colored glasses every once in a while. I was writing about romance and love and adventure and heartbreak – all things I had no understanding of in the slightest. Of course I had thought about these things, I had dreams of my own adventures, but I wasn’t writing my dreams, they were fabricated dreams that I was dictating. (It is of my very critic-esque opinion that this is how movies like Maid in Manhattan are created.)

No, fiction is no place for dreams. Dreams have their place, of course, but not in fiction. Dreams should be examined and realized. Dreams are life’s inspiration – to be pursued and conquered, even if they are absurdly wild and fabulously malleable. Fiction should be the result of experience enhanced. Change the names, certainly – to something poetic, or even symbolic. Have an ending that’s all wrapped up and clean, maybe. Perhaps combine a few moments to fit nicely into an outstanding climax. But they should all happen and be lived. I feel that I write best when I am living or hurting or healing the most. These are the experiences that should fill the books that I will one day write.

So perhaps it’s a little backward from standard thought, but to me dreams should be a quintessential part of reality, whereas reality should be the ever present insight into fiction. So, in the oh-so-philosophically brilliant words of Aerosmith, “Dream on, dream on. Dream until your dreams come true…” (I am so not ready to be a writer yet, clearly.)

And may I just point out that the most tell-able dreams are typically bizarre and unexpected.