I found this very inspiring yesterday: “Leap and the Net Will Appear.”
Last night, feeling worn out in anticipation, I slept. I went to bed at ten o’clock. While I was sleeping, a text message came in from someone who’s been so supportive of me and my writing over the months in surprising, wonderful ways. Her text showed she’d been thinking of my book. It was wonderful to wake up and find it this morning.
But first, I slept.
I slept longer than I should.
I slept, telling myself this is the last Sunday I could ever sleep in.
I slept as if my whole world was about to be shaken up and I’d get tossed around with it. Which I guess it is, and which I guess I will.
While sleeping, I had a dream in which I decided to go swimming in a pool. In daylight, naked. And everyone was watching—my family, and the gang of outlaws we were somehow trying to get away from—and it wasn’t until I’d walked in up to my neck that I realized the water wouldn’t hide anything. That it was broad daylight and the water was crystal clear. I felt so exposed, the perfect target. And I kept my back to them, and I wondered: How will I get out now?
I woke before I did.
I had another dream, the kind of waking dream where you’re in bed but not fully asleep any longer, and so your conscious mind sticks its fangs in you and gets you thinking. In this dream there was this writer I know of in real life, a writer whose success I’ve been aware of. In the dream she didn’t speak to me. I watched her from a distance. I thought: Good things have started to happen to me, but nothing like that. And I thought, So I’ll just have to work harder. Like we were in a race she didn’t even bother running in. She was so sure she’d made it, she didn’t have to run.
And when I woke I wanted to smack myself for the thoughts. For comparing. For even thinking her life has anything at all to do with mine. Because it doesn’t. The worst thing you can do is compare yourself to other writers, the things you’ve been given to the things they’ve been given. She is not me, I am not her, my book is mine, and her book is hers. I hate to think I have thoughts like that, that they fill up my mind and enter my dreams.
But there are some things I thought while dreaming and half-dreaming this morning that I want to take with me: I do feel exposed now, the perfect target. But I feel all the more determined to work harder.
Now back in to this chapter I’m writing, where—funny little coincidence—my character is about to dive into a pool. Should I let her keep her clothes on?