See that? That’s the blank journal I bought yesterday at Wal-Mart. Daughter and I went to do the grocery shopping and Daughter needed a calendar, which landed us in the office supplies section. I had seen this journal in Wal-Mart before – among the other lovely blank books – and lusted over it. Writers have an unhealthy affection for blank paper, notebooks, journals, and writing implements. With Daughter’s encouragement, I overcame my aversion to spending money on frivolous things and bought it.
The journal, with its 400 blank pages waiting to be filled, is now my goad. My intent is to write a substantial story in it – just one story – and not fritter it away with miscellaneous notes. As I was deciding whether to purchase the journal, Neil Gaiman came to mind, or rather, Neil Gaiman’s lovely Italian leather-bound journal, which he used to start writing The Graveyard Book and which, if you look at the photos of it, show no cross-outs or corrections. I’m fully aware that that sort of perfection is impossible to live up to if you’re me, but why not try?
With thoughts of a goading journal in mind, I went to sleep and dreamt the following:
I was in a house full of children. It seemed to be a daycare and that perhaps I was in charge. The children had made all sorts of tents and hidey-holes out of sheets and blankets. Neil Gaiman dropped in for a visit and began to tell me about fantasy publishing – particular books in the genre, authors, and such-like. At times, he was speaking in a language that I couldn’t understand and I’d ask him to repeat what he had said. It came out in the same fantasy-publishing foreign language. I brought up the topic of AIS, androgen insensitivity syndrome, which rankled Gaiman. His rankling rankled me and I left in a huff and boarded a train. This train was more like a light-rail train than a standard train. The train ran along the very edge of a precipice and the tracks were not straight, but jagged and they weren’t parallel. In the physical world, no train would have ever stayed on these tracks. In fact, at one point, there was a break in the tracks where they had fallen into a hole and people formed a human chain – hands to feet – to create a track to bridge the hole. Somehow, I managed to make a round-trip on the crazy train and returned to the daycare, only to find that all of the children had mysteriously vanished. Neil and the other adults present were searching frantically for them. And I awoke.
Obviously, the journal was working its weird magic on me – not that this dream is going to translate into a story, but at least my creative brain is revving up. The reference to AIS in the dream was taken directly from a conversation with Hubby yesterday. He has a class on the biology of women this semester and is intrigued by the fluidity of gender. A person with AIS has the XY chromosome of a male, but because he has an insensitivity to androgen, develops the outward appearance of a female. Of my dream, this would be one of two elements I’d be interested in working into a story; this, and the disappearing children.
In the meantime, while I’m working up to making a mark in this spankety-spanking new journal, I shall lovingly fondle it and hope that I can eventually do it justice.