Familiar Faces, Unmet Friends

Twenty years ago, I had a dream that has stayed remained with me. I don’t often remember my dreams. When I do, they feel important so I pay attention.

In this dream, I am wandering the halls in a big, empty house with no furniture. I come to an open door and enter a large room. The room is crowded with people and creatures. Many are mundane. Some are fantastic. I have never met these people, these creatures, but they recognize me, and they are glad I am there. They smile and make me feel welcome.

I woke from that dream feeling like this was a roomful of not yet imagined characters, relieved to be finally discovered. They were glad and patient. No one spoke. They just smiled and nodded, as if they had all the time in the world.

I was thinking about this dream after writing this morning. I was working on a piece of improvised fiction from a prompt. The writing itself didn’t go especially well but I was struck by how much fun it is to write sometimes and find entire people living inside you with their own thoughts, feelings and ideas about things that seem quite separate from you. It is a powerful feeling to discover these other lives inside of you, unseen and unobtrusive, waiting for their turn to be discovered through words. Just like that roomful of unmet friends from twenty years ago.

This is a very powerful feeling that arrived like a gift. This is a happy reminder of why I ever bother writing at all.

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