Saturday night I dreamed I had a beautiful house, in the woods, filled with happy children … until the bear appeared … inside the house. I was the only adult in the place. It was up to me to protect everyone.
Okay, you say, but what does this have to do with writing? This dream is absolutely about writing, so let me tell you the steps my subconscious took to produce it.
I’ve been thinking about where I need to be to write—both physically and metaphorically. I love the ocean; it inspires me. But I love the woods more. I picture myself living there; I think it’s ancestral memory.
So, there’s the house in the woods.
Many of us, or maybe it’s only the women writers, refer to our work as our baby. We certainly labor to bring it into this world. And it’s not easy bringing it to maturity, either.
So, there’s the children.
I’ve also been wondering how to get around this inner editor that’s giving me fits trying to finish this novel. It’s a problem. Bugabear is the old-fashioned word that popped into my mind yesterday.
So, there’s the bear.
Now put on your dream hat and follow along. In dream symbols, your house represents your true self—your mind, your heart, your soul—however you choose to refer to it. So, in my dream, I am in a lovely house, with large windows all around so I can have a 360° view of the woods around me. There are children in this house, my babies.
Suddenly, I realize there’s a huge bear in the house. It paces. It sniffs. It’s hungry. I don’t want anyone to panic. “Be calm, stand still, don’t run,” I tell them. No matter which way I turn, the bear is there, blocking the way.
I’m almost paralyzed with fear, but I know it’s up to me to do something. As it happens in dreams, a weapon, a rifle, appears in my hands. I don’t want to shoot the bear; but neither can I let it kill anyone. And then—
I am standing inside the house, my children clustered around me, and I’m watching out the window as the bear ambles away through the trees.
So, my friends, I ask myself—as a writer—what is the nature of my weapon?
Photos: (1)“Dreaming Girl” 4Head Garden of Dreams, Chelsea, UK; designer: Marney Hill; co-designer: Heather Yarrow (2) Black bear; Bryan Harry – NPS Photo