17 Dec Awake and dreaming

β€œFor I have always been a seeker, a dreamer, and a ponderer on seeking and dreaming…” -H.P. Lovecraft

I write fiction. I dream up people and journey with them into places I know and places I have never seen, creating stories for other people to read with the hope that we can journey together and make sense of this collective experience we call Life.

When I was little, there was a treehouse in my back yard, at the top of a tall Mulberry tree. I’d climb up there and spend hours alone reading books and daydreaming. There was something about being up high, surrounded by branches and leaves that made life feel magical.

I could look out over our yard and neighborhood. Everything that seemed boring from the ground became a story. People went in and out of their homes, playing out the drama of ordinary lives but I could imagine interesting plots and intrigues from my perch above. Playing in the theoretical and imaginary.
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Down on the ground I liked to explore the physical world, hands on. I’d go on adventures with my siblings or the neighbor kids. We’d play street sports, ride bikes, climb trees and tunnel through tall grass. Somehow whatever we pretended was totally real until the familiar shout to come in for dinner echoed from my house.

I was also that annoying kid who sat in the living room and listened to the adults’ conversations while the other children played. I wanted to know what was going on in the big world and understand it. They knew so much about everything. I wondered what made adults hide their tears behind sunglasses and raucous laughter. I needed to know what the real monsters of life looked like because I knew that I would one day confront them myself.

From early on, I found that writing was my way to explore all the things I experienced in my imagination and actual life. As I write, I make sense of things and learn again and again that we are all alike. I can put myself in the shoes of my characters and see through their eyes, at a world that is theirs and yet also mine. What happens in a story is an excercise or simulation where we train our imaginations and prepare our minds for the plot twists, situations and people we encounter in our lives.

While writing fiction may seem like nothing more than dreaming, it is a concious examining of life, human nature and the great What If. When the stories stop, the seeking ends, dreams fade and that is when we truly fall asleep.

I plan to keep my eyes wide open, dreaming.

 

Jo Schaffer
joschaffer@yahoo.com
5 Comments
  • Roland Yeomans
    Posted at 17:03h, 28 January Reply

    Dreams lend their magic to our waking life. They fuel our novels. They hover just beyond the horizon, urging us to continue to find them in reality. Your post touches upon the dedication to my newest novel (not out yet):

    TO CAMELOT, TO XANADU …
    TO THE HOPE THAT ALL OUR DREAM WORLDS WILL COME TRUE …
    KNOWING THAT FAERIE LANDS HOLD THEIR DANGERS, TOO.
    AS YOU READ, I WILL BE ON THE ROADS TO THEM.
    READ AND BRING them HOME TO YOU.

    I’ve missed seeing your posts. πŸ™‚

    • Jo Schaffer
      Posted at 21:56h, 28 January Reply

      Good to see you, Ro! I have always loved the way your writing is soaked in dreams.

  • Kathleen Seable
    Posted at 23:17h, 28 January Reply

    By literary standards, mortal life would be a Frankenstein of incongruous parts. Rather than a flowing progression of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement, mortal life seems like a sequence of events without story structure or plot development, often chaotic and random, full of unexpected traumas or tedious repetition. The writer, as you imply, rather than just being a dreamer, takes the elements of human experience, even imagined fantastic elements which relate to human themes, and puts them in a dramatic order which provides meaning to the congeries of daily events. That literary parsing provides dramatic impact, artistry and insight that sometime escape us in the midst of the ordinary. The writer says, “Yonder is life experience unorganized. I will make of it a beautiful creation from which others may benefit in numerous ways.”

    • Jo Schaffer
      Posted at 05:01h, 29 January Reply

      Yes. Beautifully said.

  • Kathleen Seable
    Posted at 02:46h, 29 January Reply

    Ha, ha, of course there are exceptions to this analogy such as James Joyce ‘ s Finnagan ‘s Wake…

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