I dreamed last night.
It wasn't just that I had a dream, but it was one of those dreams full of symbols. Normally, I abhor symbolism, especially in books. When teachers tell you that this and that is what the author meant when he wrote it. How do they know? Usually the author is dead and can't give input. Why couldn't the author simply be writing a wonderful story? Sometimes the symbolism is there and means something to you and sometimes I think these teachers are trying to hard.
But this dream of mine, allowed me to see everything in a clear light.
Especially when I'm not one of those people who put a lot of stock in dream reading or whatever it's called.
So here it is:
I was in a town--a very Grimm-type of town--not freaky-deaky scary, but odd. The first evening the town walks to this steep hill, more like a cliff, to watch some other people attempt to climb it. It was straight up with two sets of stairs, one 'normal' set and one rickety set of stairs. Most of the people who tried to climb up didn't make it. I go back to my room and tell my mom about this cliff.
She looks at the clock and says that I have an hour before sunset, so why not give it a try?
I go back to the cliff. Most of the crowd had disappeared, but when they see that I intend to climb the cliff, it grows again. Do I choose the easy set of stairs, no. I choose the challenging set of narrow stairs, because I'm stupid in that way, always choosing the hard way. After nearly falling off a couple of times, and having someone try to pull me off, I reached the pinnacle. The crowd goes wild.
I had made it.
But then I had to follow the path that was set out. I don't remember much of this path, except that it wandered here and there over low low hills. In fact, you could see the path from the top of the cliff. I knew it wouldn't be an easy route, but the tough work was finished, right?
Then the path moved into a forest. The trees started crowding me on either side of the path. A cold fog had moved in, blocking the sun. Darkness gathered and the path was getting difficult to see.
I had a decision to make, go forward or go home.
I had the tools to make it through the dark woods, but did I have the courage?
I turned back.
Only a few feet later, I met a family of four hurrying into the deep, dark, foggy woods. I asked them where they were going. The mother replies, "But we have to get to school. This is the only path." Soon they disappeared into the eerieness.
Undecided, I make my way back to the safety and comfort of the familiar, but while in the forest I run into three men. Two seemed to be of suspicious character, while the third one seemed a little naive--in a Jack Black sort of way. I decide to tag along for some company.
We stopped at one point and lit a campfire. Jack Black offers to pay the men to guide us on the path. He opens his coin purse and removes one coin, but letting all of us see how much was in there. I'm thinking to myself, "Don't do it, you idiot! Now they know how much money you have and will take it all away!"
My dream gets a little blurry right about then. I don't know what happens to the thieves or Jack Black, but I remember what my mom said when I got home.
Mom:"That was quick. You've only been gone for a few minutes."
Me: "But there was a heavy fog and the forest was dark and there were thieves."
Mom: "So what? I never said it would be easy. It takes courage to forge your way. I guess you didn't have what it takes."
Ouch! Moms can be brutally honest like that.
And I woke up.
This dream was so obviously about my writing journey. I've always said that it's a path we follow, but no one's path is the same. Some paths are straight and easy, while other paths go every which way . . . some even go into the dark recesses of our minds to test our courage.
I chickened out because the path became difficult. I had the tools to move forward--a flashlight on my Android phone, but I didn't have the courage to take chances, to see if the sun would still be up on the other side of the woods.
One thing I do know is that I'm going to take the challenge again. Why? Because I'd been there before. I'd already climbed that cliff of learning the craft of writing, of writing those million words of crap, of digging deep, but this time I'm going to walk into those dark, dank trees of uncertainty, insecurity and fear.
I don't know what I'm going to find, maybe nothing, but at least I made the effort. I attempted to make the writing journey.
This time, I won't turn around.
What about you? Will you quit when the going gets tough? Or will you dig deep and find the courage to move on?