Posted by: jeannineatkins | March 18, 2009

Measuring Dreams

A few days ago Lorraine lorrainemt wrote about trying to fit short stories into her busy life, but how she missed the longer sorts of time some writing demands, time to dream her way into and through a novel. I love the way she phrased that, and hope my memory isn’t messing up her evocation of the time to linger, make mistakes, find your way back and around and wherever. I can’t claim that sort of long wide time every day, but I’ve been getting a taste of it lately, and it is, not to make sweet Lorraine and others jealous – I hope you get your turn – delicious.

Well, mostly. Of course a long time in the twilight has its uncomfortable moments, too. I’ve been known to trip. We’ve been hearing about some of that from Lisa’s reports on lisa_schroeder drafting a way “through her forest.” Sometimes you smell new leaves and loamy soil. Everything looks soft in a vaguely green and gold light. And sometimes you’re just lost or tired and sore and wonder: can anyone follow me here? These notes I’m taking, will they make sense when I get back home or reach a candy house with smoke coming out its chimney?

We can count words, and see a bit of progress, but you can’t measure dreams. The past few days, to hold myself at least slightly accountable with numbers, I’ve been watching the clock, telling myself to do whatever it is I’m doing, what I like to call writing but can’t be sure, until, say, three o’clock. I plod along, meander, hack out a way, then finally brush off the prickers, stamp my shoes, and wonder – will this make any sense to the girls I have in mind as readers? Will this move from dreams to words to someone saying: hey, this sounds kind of like me! Or, I know what you mean.

Uncertainty. A writer’s friend, or we at least try to claim her as one.



  1. Ah, I love that last line. So true!!

  2. Oh, those words. That, “Yeah!” you want the readers to have. That’s the thing we all want waiting outside the forest. Hard to think of uncertainty as my friend–more like the scary thing I try to push back into the closet, but maybe I’ll work more to let it out and say it may stay, if it plays nice. 🙂

  3. I love seeing your thoughts on dreaming! And I find it interesting how you bring in uncertainty as a writer’s friend. As hard as uncertainty can be, I think you’re so right about this. It seems that it’s in the space of not knowing where inner inspiration meets discrimination to find the story’s true path.
    Great post–you’ll have me thinking about it all day.

  4. Thanks for the inspiration, Lisa! Good luck with your journey.

  5. Let us know if you find the trick to making uncertainty show a pretty face!

  6. You got me thinking about dreaming-thinking so how nice it’s coming around!

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