Dreams are powerful things, indeed.
I write this post now nearly 3 months after finishing this story, which took me over a year to write. I tried sending it to several literary magazines and after holding off posting it here to see if they would publish it, unfortunately found nobody wanted it. (I hope that readers of this blog will!) Nevertheless, my dream of being a writer is very much alive, as is this story about dreams and a dream detective. I wrote it with my brother Peter, whom I bounced ideas and plot off of, and who came up with the premise back in April 2019 when the world was burning for us while Mom was in the late stages of a brain tumor. Yet, then the wider world of last year seemed so much simpler looking at it through the 2020 melancholic lens.
Last night I dreamt that I was riding a sort of carousel ride with my fiance. It was old and rickety and was the kind that spins your plastic seats outward on arms that also go up and down. There were no seatbelts and nothing to hold onto except a single, thin, old iron bar and each other. I nearly flew out of the malfunctioning ride several times, but she kept me in by pulling me back down into the seat. One man flew out of the ride in my dream, careened across the mall, and hit a wall, hard. My fiance and I survived unscathed by sticking together. I think perhaps my subconscious is trying to tell me something about life that I already know in such a tumultuous era.
While I was finishing writing this story in April, around Eastertime, my brother, Andrew, the monk, called me to wish me a Happy Easter (they get blessings to do this sort of thing sometimes) and I missed his call. That night I dreamt of him calling me back. We spoke and it was so vivid and so real, and I suppose I had been doing many Zoom calls with students and athletes and that burned itself into my brain, because I could see Andrew in the dream while we conversed on the phone. It was more vivid, more powerful and real than Zoom. Talking to him was a great joy, as I had not seen or heard from him since Mom's funeral in person and Christmas on the phone, respectively.
The next evening Andrew called me back. We spoke and it was wonderful. A true joy. I also felt deja vu. I told the monk, my brother, about the experience. He chuckled and said, "well, you can't always trust dreams."
A week later and I was very near finishing this story about my dreaming detective. I had around 2,000 words to go. I went to check on my other little brother during our COVID-19 lock down, who is living with his roommate and working 2 jobs remotely from his first apartment in town. They were out of food and household supplies, so masking up, we ventured out to the local Walmart. We were about to leave in my car, when both the roommate and my brother brought up strange dreams they'd had the night before, the details of which escape me now. I remarked that I had had very similar dreams with strikingly parallel details that same night. I had been hard at work that afternoon on finishing the story. It did not occur to me until later that they had brought up strangely vivid, even terrifying dreams the three of us had shared on the same night, while I was finishing a story about vivid dreams. I thought of Andrew the monk's words to me the week prior.
It sent a shiver down my spine.
This story is a dream. It is one concocted by myself and my younger brother. We worked on developing the idea into an outline and plot together. I strove to write it but life continuously got in the way. I kept fighting for the story and to complete the story. Now the dream has come true and manifests itself as the file embedded in this website.
I post this in a time where dreams seem to be everywhere for me. I have started my dream job, even amidst a tumultuous time. I have recently asked my dream girl to marry me and she said yes. One of my favorite stories, or collection of stories ever, Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels, have just been released as a wonderful audiobook adaptation by Audible with some truly boss performances from some prodigious actors and actresses. I am writing another new story, that I think may just turn into a novella or even a novel. It heavily involves dreaming, too. It was not until I was several hours into listening to the Sandman audiobook that I realized just how much my story had been influenced by the graphic novels. Without giving too much away, it, too, has a character who is communicated with by a supernatural being in dreams. That being is incredibly powerful but trapped somewhere he does not belong. (I look so forward to sharing that story with you here!)
Dreams are powerful things.
For without them, we could not dream of times prior to COVID, when people were not dying in enormous numbers from a painful disease. When we did not have inconvenient and tedious restrictions we had to follow. When things were more economically promising. We could not dream of a world after the disease when cases are gone and a vaccine eradicates it, and we strive to make better on the things about that old world that were not so great. Maybe we can dream of a world that is not so divided. After all, the world itself with all its problems would be far worse and never become any better if it weren't for dreams. To quote Morpheus, the dream lord from Sandman, what power would Hell have over its captors if they could not dream of heaven?
What power, indeed.
Dreams are far more powerful than even the gates of Hell. I hope together we can dream a dream powerful enough to make good on now, and make a world far better than the one some of us hold onto, the one we've left behind. I hope it is more powerful than the broken ones of this epoch, in its time of social unrest, deathly disease, dying dreams, and cancelled life plans. I also hope you have someone to cling onto that keeps you from being flung from the proverbial fair ride and into the abyss, and you them while you dream your dreams.
And I hope in the meantime you can read and enjoy this story, another one of my dreams.
Dream on, friends. Dream big.
Friends of T.D. Smith