Yesterday I had this strange dream. The pope was dressed in his full ceremonial regalia. Seated in a lavish office at beautiful desk, he was reading the novel I am writing right now. When he was finished, he stood up, walked outside of this office, down a hallway and into a small and plain looking office where I was sitting. He stood by my left side, leaned over and with a smile on his face said: “Your novel is very nice.”
This is but a sample of the many puzzling dreams I have these days. Why the pope? What does the dream mean? Should I put a dream sequence in the novel involving the pope? … that would be funny … right? Or maybe dorky? Perhaps I am neglecting the religious yearnings of my protagonist. Until this moment, she didn’t have any. On and on the thinking wheels churn. There is no obvious answer.
Writing a novel starts with a slow and dreary crawl through the mud. It feels like you are riding a tricycle up a steep hill dragging a dead elephant behind you. Abstract ideas float in the air but who knows if a story will ever emerge out of it. It’s one thing to say: “I want to write a novel inspired by traffic.” And a whole other thing to actually execute it. Many novels have been written with the “food as a metaphor for life” trick, but I don’t know a single novel that uses traffic in that way. Frustration and doubt begin to creep up and then there is a trickle. A faint narrative begins to form. A shadow of a conversation pops up in my head. Now I am riding motorized wheel chair in a shopping mall. Suddenly there is hope. Yes! Maybe a story is in here. And then begins the flood. All the tributaries begin to pour into a single channel. I am now in a car cruising down a four lane highway with no other vehicles in sight. Everyday I sit down and a significant chunk pours out of my fingers into the keyboard. This is a satisfying feeling. An electrical buzz can be felt in the air. Yes! Yes! definitely there will be a novel at the end of this. There is no maybe. No room for doubt there is only the practice of sitting at the keyboard. Day in, day out. Everyday. Until the work is done. I find myself thinking about all sorts of bus stop conversation. I imagine the most hilarious situations that can happen while riding a bus. A plethora of characters materialize right in front of my eyes. I ask myself most unusual questions: “What would cars look like if they were designed by women?” “What is the most usual thing that can be placed in a glove compartment?” I ask people I meet in my daily life these questions and they look at me like I am from a different planet. And then there are the dreams. Vivid and exciting. Futuristic cars, the pope, a continuous drive around a round and many more that ignite my imagination.
With the last novel, I went out and purchased myself super awesome shoes when I finished the first draft. I need something super cool to buy to celebrate finishing this new one. I sense a shopping spree will take place in two or three months. If you have a choice suggestion, please leave it in the comment section.
As it happens, my husband and I decided to sell both our old cars and buy a new one. The kids grew up and two moved out of the house. My daily routine as their taxi driver to and from activities are behind me. We decided to see if we can share a car. Which means that I need to get adjusted to using the bus more frequently. I look forwards to familiarize myself to bus routs. This will be good for the novel. I think once a week I will choose some unusual bus route and spend the day bus hopping from one bus stop to the next to build up inspiration for the writing. This is exciting. This is adventure. Watch out public transit passengers in Vancouver, you might end up being a character in my next novel.
On the other hand there is this emptiness. This heartbreak. I have placed the center of my being into parenting for so many years. Now they are growing up, becoming independent and doing their own fun and exciting things. It is strange to be grieving when nothing bad has happened. In fact, it’s all good. Just the other day I was sitting in a shopping mall doing a bit of people watching when I noticed a pregnant woman with an energetic toddler by her side. This was me just a few years ago. Mother hen with her brood. Where did the years go? What is this water coming out of my eyes? Where is the paper tissue? What is wrong with me? Great! I’ve become the sad pathetic woman who tears up in a shopping mall. I have to put a stop to this before it gets any worse. I am searching for a gesture. A type of ceremony to reclaim my life. I am not sure what. It doesn’t have to be big or public. Small and private is totally fine. But I need to invent something. People have a wedding ceremony when they announce to the world that they will share their life together. I need something to declare to the world and to myself I am now living live for myself. Selfishly. With full self possession. No more mopping around. If you have a suggestion for a suitable gesture please leave it in the comment section.
My friend Huda sent me this picture of her meeting with the Pope. Apparently he didn’t just like my novel, he loved it. Now how did he receive a copy of a novel that’s not even done? …. Well! I think the man has connections with the higher up place.