Monday, November 28, 2011

Who Would You Have Been…Once Upon A Time?

I don’t watch much television, but recently discovered a new show on ABC called “Once Upon A Time.” Without telling you everything about it, I’ll just say that there’s this cool little town in Maine filled with people who were once fairy tale characters. Everyone still has the traits of their former fairy tale persona, but no one remembers that life. With story based on existing fairy tales, you would think that every episode would be unpredictable. Well, they’re not. That’s what makes it fun for me to watch.

I was thinking. If that really happened—if the world we know was once a fairy tale—which character would I have been? Based on the person I am today, which character do I match in personality?
I think I’m like Aladdin. I know, he’s not really part of the traditional fairy tale character cast, but I’m like him in many ways. I can relate to the kid. So, that’s who I would have been.

What about you? Which fairy tale character would you have been? Who would you want to be?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Make it so

Look under the cover of a great novel and its pages will pull you into another world. There, you’ll experience a fantastic story that changes you forever. Filled with magic, mystery, suspense, action, and love, each carefully scripted phrase will linger in the back of your mind and influence your actions back in the real world.

The real world. Well that sounds boring, doesn’t it? After chasing an imaginative adventure, who wants to drum out their heartbeats in a somewhat boring reality? I do.

Life isn’t dull. I believe there’s a connection between the things we can imagine and the things we can experience. The challenge is discovering what is possible and having the courage to make it so. That part isn’t easy.

In my first post on this blog, I opened with a phrase about crawling out of the Snake River. That day was one of many great adventures of my younger life. As the reality of what I had just survived sank into my system, I promised myself that I would write about it in a book. I never did.

Although I had almost died that day, it turns out that I feared sharing the story more than experiencing the terror of the event. Most people have it the other way around. A part of me wishes I could have been so lucky. Death, it seemed, wanted me badly. As life progressed, my collection of extraordinary experiences grew at such a pace that I was no longer surprised when I faced a mortal challenge. I always survived, though not always unharmed. The old saying is that one could fill a book with everything they’ve lived through. I could fill several.

Still, I never acted on my intentions to write the book. Over time, death grew bored of me and my adventurous reality faded into the expected life of someone who had stopped following their dreams. I had forgotten what adventure was and stopped using my imagination. I even stopped searching for it in books.

The title of this post is “Make it so.” I love the line from Star Trek because it tells us everything we should know about imagination. Don’t just dream about great things; make them happen; search for them. I feel like I’m living again and rebuilding the connection between what I can imagine and what I can experience. I hope you will do the same.

Monday, November 14, 2011

These Dreams

I love sleeping—not for the rest, for the world that opens in my slumber. It’s odd. It doesn’t make sense. And it’s fantastic.

I’m one of those people who have crazy vivid dreams. Colorful moving images filled with magnificent sounds and voices. Sometimes there are people I know in them; other times, I discover new and interesting characters. My mind likes to conjure memories of places around the world where I’ve been and place me into them while dreaming. It adds to the realism and often I wonder if the event was just reminiscence. I remember my dreams and, at times, revisit the same ones after several years.

Last night I dreamed two magnificent stories. They seemed to make perfect sense inside my mind. When I tried to share them, my words smashed together and made a mess of the story. It’s like that with my dreams. Nothing makes sense when I’m not in them.

I’ve read stories of authors who base their books on their dreams. I’m jealous. Although there is plenty to capture and put on paper, these stories just wouldn’t make sense in reality. Once, however, I dreamt about two of my characters. It was well after the story was created, and they were in a place that doesn’t exist inside my literary world. I woke up excited that I was able to see what they looked like and hear their voices. I’ve tried many times to revisit that dream, but alas, dreams don’t work that way.

There are theories about what dreams mean. I don’t think they apply to mine because I know my mind. It’s just having fun with all the information I’ve stuffed in there. It’s kind of like a computer defragmenting the hard drive. It’s trying organize and store things for retrieval and then make room for more. There can’t be any hidden meanings for me. If so, world would be odder than those dreams inside my head. That’s what I think anyway.

So, I’m gonna write some more words, read a bit, and then close my eyes and sleep. Whatever dream finds me tonight, it’s bound to be exciting! How about you? Are your dreams in color? Do you remember them? Do they mean things?

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Lost My Words

Life took me from my dreams, or, I forgot them. Either way, I stopped writing. Long ago, I wrote all the time. I wrote poems mostly. Nothing great, just a few words weaved together to express what was on my mind. There wasn’t a story to tell. There were no characters.
Or were there?
Truthfully, I can’t remember. When I stopped writing, I lost my memory of the words I had penned. There was a little green journal where I kept everything. It was a gift I carried to France with me. I was supposed to document my experiences there, but I wrote poems instead. I lost the book. Somewhere, I hope in my garage, is that little green journal. It might be full of garbage, but it might also have a treasure. That’s the fun of lost memories: their secrets are the fantastic part.
I’m feeling adventurous today, so I’m going to venture into the garage and look for my past. I’ll update this post when I find my words again…

…Found it! After just ten minutes of searching, I discovered my cache deep in the bottom of a bucket. I also found some old postcards from Paris. I’ll save them for another post. At the moment I’m writing this, I haven’t opened the journal. It’s been over fifteen years since I peeked inside. Let’s discover this together.

No dust on the cover—probably because the book has been hidden so well. The first entry is from April 12, 1993. It’s a poem about serving others. Short and to the point. The next entry is about Halloween. It’s somewhat cool, especially since I was living in a place that celebrates Halloween differently than the U.S. Nothing special, yet.
I’m amazed that the written words flood back to me as I read the poems. They weren’t lost, just buried deep inside. This is an emotional experience. Wow.

I didn’t write in order. Apparently, I had taken some of my earlier works with me to France, because some of the dates are before I graduated high school. These are cool to read. I’m going to share one in a moment.

14 Janvier, 1995. “I write to find my secrets.”

That's the last date I've written in the book. There's a few notes in French after that. I must have given the journal to people to read before leaving the country, because they've written me short letters in the pages. Then there's nothing. The rest of the journal is blank.  Here's the poem I promised. It's titled only with a date.

November 5, 1992
Thunder shakes the earth
Beneath my feet
Lightning breaks
The blackened sky
Night awakes my soul
While, as I sleep
My feet stay planted,
My thoughts fly
I am the inner soul of everyone
Could be I resemble day
I come and go with no regard
Imagination is my name
Travel far into the heavens
Into ocean, into sea
Leave the common grounds
Of boredom
Let me in, I’ll set you free

Thanks for sharing this experience with me. I’ve noticed a theme to my writing then that matches the style of my books today. That makes me happy. I’m also grateful that my words weren’t lost. Sixteen years after the last entry, I'm rediscovering myself.