Thursday, May 19, 2005

Writing the (sur)Real

Now it's getting a little weird. I dreamed last night of a way to revise my book. Of course it was couched in terms of a conversation -- can't remember with whom, probably some subconscious version of my agent, who's kind of like the Good Mother archetype, even though she's younger than I am. Anyway, I was listening to whoever it was tell me, with some enthusiasm, that I had finally gotten it right. I had understood what it is I have to do as a writer.

Yes, this dream is a little like those in which you awaken in the middle of the night because you've dreamed the meaning of life, and you scribble words furiously on that little notepad you keep next to your bed -- then in the morning it's gibberish. Only this time it wasn't gibberish at all. It was a good, clean concept for revision that I remembered when I woke up. I took notes, put it in the file folder, and still think it's a good idea.

The weird thing is when writing begins to absorb so much of your life that you dream about it. I mean, why aren't I dreaming anymore about being able to fly, or suddenly coming into a great fortune, or those odd dreams I used to have of being at the high point on the Golden Gate Bridge and having the whole bridge tilt? Why am I no longer dreaming ... but editing in my sleep?

It must be a writer's disease of some heretofore undiscovered kind. I should probably buy that book, The Midnight Disease. It tells you why writing really is an aberrant state of mind, hypergraphia in varying degrees -- a pathology. Of course, the ancient Greeks knew that. They thought of the artist as possessed by a madness. Only they thought it was a divine one. Now we give people pills for excessive visits from the Muse.

How far we have come.