I’ve decided to start a new novel. Well actually, my dreams have decided that for me.
I’ve always been intrigued by dreams. By the environment, the security they provide. Plus, the chance they offer to start over.
When I first became ill, I began dreaming in indigo. What did it mean? I’d never really considered colour in dreams before that. The content was the important thing. Plus the way they made me feel. But a blue so vivid I could hardly breathe? Blue people, blue hills, a blue sky (of course), it was all a bit surreal. But beyond the surreal, it was comforting. In some small place in my life, I was cosseted. I was being rocked. Someone, something was lifting me up and away from the inexplicable fear, the meltdown of illness.
So when I started dreaming of being high up, looking down through what appeared to be an intricately crafted ball of spun sugar at the world below, I knew. And when my view through that sugar ball changed minutely so that I had a slightly different take on that world, I knew some more.
Something was shifting. That was the way it always began. I got to see the big picture first before the detail came flooding in.
The voice of a character came next. Persistent, volatile, more than a touch frenetic and I couldn’t shut it down. Then came another character’s dress down to the tiniest detail. These people, their lives, their hopes and dreams became a regular feature of my dream world.
Does that make me lucky? Probably, yes. But in some ways I consider it a balancing act. Everyday life with illness is tough. There are days when it’s a constant barrage of pain and irritants with only the odd smudge of half-light as comfort. So it seems only fair that to compensate there should be a certain calibre of richness to my dreams.
I have many questions, many concerns. The first being, just how am I going to write this novel with such limited energy and resources? For write it, I must at least try, if only to appease those beautiful people in my dreams.
I will just begin. That is my only answer. Each and every day, I will begin and begin all over again. Some days will inevitably have less beginnings than others. Some days I won’t even manage written beginnings, instead I will create a breathing cherishing space inside my head, something like a life pod where my story, my characters can sit back, take in some sun.
Ironically, I have more of the time in the world than many struggling to write, but much less of the energy. But isn’t it always about balance? About finding a way to walk the tightrope so you never look down, you just shuffle along, small, infinitesimally small steps? And if you do happen to fall off, you just dust yourself down and hop right back on again, if hopping is your thing. Or perhaps you glide, shimmy in from the west, turn a pirouette or two…..