Dream Life, Novel Pursuits

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I woke from a dream so vivid, so intense, that for an hour or so after I'd awakened I couldn't decide if I was still alive. My dreams are like this. It is why, perhaps, I rarely sleep, for when I do I am crushed by color or chase, by diving bells, as was the case last night, and deeply distorted perceptions.

It was 1:30 in the morning. I had to decide whether to trust the night again with sleep or to work, in the dark, on a novel.

Novels are like dreams. They crush you differently. You're sure of where you are going—you left that tag for yourself just yesterday. But when you come downstairs to your glass office, something new stirs. A scene you didn't see coming. A sign that the book has turned. You don't have much to go, and still you don't know precisely where you're going.

Do you write against an outline
? I've been asked.

No. Never.

Do you know how your books will end?

If I did I'd have no interest in surviving the crush that is the crush inside which all my books are written.


Melissa said...

A timely post, especially since last night, close in time to that of your dreams, I referenced a blogger friend (who is having difficulties with her novel) to your reflections on the writing life. (Hopefully that wasn't the cause of the nocturnal agita. :)

Lenore Appelhans said...

I have those scary dreams too. When I am alone, I leave the light on when I go to sleep so that when I wake up, I'll know I'm still alive.

Priya said...

Oooh, I love this post.

Vivian Mahoney said...

Beth, You've been gifted with the color of words and with this vision, dreams must surely tease you to write.

Lovely post.

Emily Ruth said...

I always thought it strange how dreams can either inspire a moment or cause that moment to be terrifying- completely different effects from one common cause

I've always thought dreams were interesting :) perhaps I will learn more about them in college... but then, that would take away the mystery. I wonder if it would be worth it?

Sherry said...

Okay, I'm trying to understand the "never" write against an outline. When the book turns, you go with it but at the same time steer the story back to where it needs to head?

I should look to see if you have any posts about your outlining process, as I'd like to know more.

Q said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog!

I'm different--I need to know where I'm headed or else I can't write anything more than a wisp of a story.

Also: I reviewed Undercover on my blog. http://thecurlyq.blogspot.com/2009/03/undercover.html

Beth Kephart said...

B&BM, well, thank you. And I'm quite certain you are the cause of no pain. I've met you! How could you be?

Thank you, the rest of you. Note to self: Leave the lights on.

Anna Lefler said...

Oh, I never trust sleep after a dream that affects me so. I'd rather vacuum than immerse myself in those murky waters again.

(And that's saying something.)

:^) A.

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