Monday, November 06, 2006

Fictive Dream

There’s a TV spot on right now for a sleep aid that features a chess playing Abe Lincoln, a space man, and a talking ground hog. The premise is that, due to insomnia, your dreams are missing you, so take Sleep-O (or whatever) and get back to dreaming.

As a writer my life is populated by many of these dream characters and I feel them similarly longing for me to get back to it, to get back to writing, and stop leaving them hanging, anxiously waiting for the next act.

My very first character was a plucky ten-year-old boy named John. John feared nothing. John could do anything. He was a scamp; stealing the farmer’s plums, throwing snowballs at passing cars, and he was a hero, who through cunning and daring do, discovers and brings to justice the oddball neighbors who where actually diamond smugglers. I was seven when John, the most awesome boy of all time, filled my imagination.

In adolescence I had a pair 16-year-old Austrian twin princes. Handsome, of course. They were living an undercover, commoner’s life here in America where one was earnestly pursuing his academics while the other was a wild, bad boy partier. Bruno and Francois were, in their own way, preparing for their role as King of Leslestonia. And I was destined to be queen, but who would be my king?

I used these stories as a way to escape boredom. I ran them like movies in my head whenever I felt the press of dullness. When Mrs. Restori said: “Today we’re going to diagram sentences.” I slumped back in my chair, dimmed the lights, and said: “Roll ‘em.”

Currently, in my fictive dream, I have Sandy. An albino pre-adolescent, Sandy is rebelling against her mother’s application of hair dye and thick foundation and trying to fall in with bad company. I often join Sandy as she imagines her adoptive parents’ surveying a dim room of bassinets and selecting her, a bright halogen bulb of baby, from all the other available infants.

And though writing appears to be a solitary pursuit, it’s actually teeming with people, people who miss me and wait for me to move them forward, to meet their destiny, to complete their stories.

I have to go… Sandy’s at a sink in junior high, washing Cover Girls’ Malibu Morning from her face while at the sink next to her a classmate is applying the black eyeliner her mother has absolutely forbidden. What’s Sandy going to say to her kohl-eyed peer?
Pat Hart


Nancy said...

At the junior high where I taught so briefly, she'd ask, "Got a joint?"

Rebecca Drake said...

I'd like to hear the story of Sandy, too! What an interesting character!

In one high school I attended the other girl would have said, "What are you staring at, Pink-eye?"

Annette said...

Actually, that's a beaver, not a groundhog (I only know this because of the great white hunter to whom I am wed).

I had (and still have) my imaginary friends. When I was a kid, my best friend lived in one of the barns on our farm. She wore orange eyeglasses. Maybe she was related to Elton John, I don't know. Did I mention that no one but me could see her?

Lately, most of my fantasy inner movies tend to star Johnny Depp...

Roll 'em!

Tory said...

So, Pat which of the princes did you end up marrying? Which became the king?

I do think fantasy characters keep us from becoming lonely. Sitting in my office this morning with very little to do, wondering why my boss is not including me in her meetings with an out-of-town colleague (which I imagine to be much more exciting than they probably are) it would be nice to have some fiction to write.

Instead, I'm being dutiful and reading interviews of our pilot data, trying to get into the patients' heads.

Pat said...

Well, Tory, I married the studious one, the Prince of Latrobia, a local duchy. However, sometimes his evil twin, Prince of Party, does come back and haunt me.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I don't think I could go to sleep without Trevor Wolff and company to entertain me. Much, much better than counting sheep!

Cathy said...

I love to take real people and fashion them into characters in the novel. In this way, I've worked through the agonies of old boyfriends who've dumped me. I always get the last word (and the last paragraph).