I dreamed that I published a book. It was a real book too. Not one of those eBooks that arts and crafts, macrame-superstar moms seem to be putting out by the thousands, or one of those Japanese cell phone novels that become best-sellers lord knows why. It had character and looked gorgeous. It was printed on real acid free paper and the first few copies that had been delivered to my house smelled like a delicious combination of recently printed ink and the unique sensation of success. The logotype of that famous publisher shined in glossy black, and on the dust cover, three of my favorite authors had written reviews praising it as some of the best writing they had ever read.
Of course, since this was a dream, it did not strike me as odd that at least one of those authors had died long before I was born. “How nice of him,” I thought, “to read my humble prose from the other world.” I wondered if they had sent him the manuscript or if they had done the whole thing over e-mail. It was my first book, after all. I did not know what was common in those cases. Dead reviewers must be difficult to reach. That made me appreciate all the hard work my editor had put into the project even more. I had been lucky I had found her… Or had she found me? I didn’t know for sure.
I knew one thing, though. The book was damned heavy. I estimated it at around four hundred pages, which meant that I probably had a lot to say about that topic. In dreams, people usually don’t read–it has something to do with the brain functions that are inactive when you are sleeping, or something like that. (From this explanation, I assume that it was not on cognitive science). What was it about, then? I picked it up from the box and looked at the neatly designed cover. It looked beautiful indeed, but I could not believe that I did not remember what the book was all about? It didn’t even cross my mind to open it. That brought me back to my initial line of questioning. Who was my editor anyway?
“Amazing,” someone interrupted my wondering from behind me in a female voice. “I just finished reading it and I can honestly say that it is one of the best works I have read in this genre.” I turned around and it was my mother. Okay, she did not look anything like my actual mother. The woman in the dream looked more like Candice Bergen, but in dreams someone can look completely different and yet one knows exactly who they are. I innocently asked her what it was about and she burst into laughter. “As if you didn’t know dear,” she said making a slapping motion in the air. “I am so proud of you.”
I have to explain that I have had the idea of becoming a writer ever since I was a teenager. I have done the exercises and read the classic books on how to do it well. I have also written my share of things on topics I care little about, and I have read my heroes a thousand times, hoping that some day I will get the inspiration to write about something I love. In the meantime I have taken a detour into modestly satisfying lines of study and work that involve some writing. The problem is that the quest for the perfect topic to write about has yielded nothing, and so I keep having an excuse not to write that book that will give me the right to call myself an author. That is, when people ask me what I do for a living at dinner parties, preferably in Manhattan.
So back in the dream, recalling all that, I started to get anxious about everything that I seemed to ignore. How could I write something apparently so good and not know what it was about? And who was this mysterious editor that had been so helpful; how had I met her? That seemed like an important moment to remember. Why couldn’t I just read the book, and why did my mom looked like Candice Bergen? One cannot ask oneself so many rational questions in a dream and not realize one is being a victim of the subconscious. I began to become aware that I was dreaming.
From then, I knew that I had only a few seconds before the conscious mind hit the reset button into awareness and I struggled to find out the the theme of the book. I turned to my mother and asked in a casual way, “what was the single passage you liked the most?” She looked at me with those Candice Bergen squinty eyes and said, “oh, clever boy; good try, but you have to wake up now and actually find out yourself in real life”. She started waving as a bright light came over everything in the room and I woke up. I still didn’t know about what I should write a book, but I certainly knew the essence of this little story.