I’m reading Bill Browder’s memoir, “Red Notice”. Partway through, I’ve just finished the part of his life when the Asian markets tanked, tanking his Russian-based fortune in his company, Hermitage Capital Management. At this point, still in the first third of the book, he considers his options. It would be easy to sell off everything for what he could get, close the company, and leave Russia, but he disliked the impression.
His thinking reminded me of Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Habit Two is “Begin with the end in mind.” It’s my favorite habit. When I used Covey’s book in team building, I led an exercise to imagine what you want others to say about you when you’re finished, when you finally say, I’m done. It’s one of those things that provides extra motivation when it seems like your tank might be empty.
I feel like I need to remind myself of this today. My muses are tearing me up with their pace. I’ve been reading a lot, which is a catalyst to dreaming. Dreaming fires up my imagination, and imagination stimulates my writing. Or something like that; I don’t know the exact connectivity between these activities, only that they seem to act on one another in me. Simultaneously, I sometimes worry that I’ve gone off the tracks and have begun pursuing a delusional folly somewhat like Professor Grady Tripp in Michael Chabon’s novel, “Wonder Boys”. Michael Douglas played Professor Tripp in the movie.
Intellectually and emotionally, I know that doubts like these aren’t uncommon among writers, especially while you’re an unknown author and working on a long project. Personally, I know my rhythms and understand this is part of my modus operandi and my untamed impatience to get done and move on to other activities.
You probably get tired of reading blog posts like this. As it is part of my normal cycles along my personal spectrums, I end up thinking, writing, and posting about them. I share it as much to help me think through my situation, but also to let other unknown writers out there that they’re not alone. Every writer that I know goes through these doubts. Some let their doubts stop them from writing. Others take Professor Tripp’s path, figuring that if it’s never done, it’ll never be read nor criticized, creating Schroedinger’s novel. Is it brilliant or garbage? Nobody knows because he won’t let anyone read it.
Looping back to the post’s beginning, though, I don’t want that to be me. The end for that is a writer who never finishes or publishes. Good or bad, I will finish and publish despite myself and my fears, worries, and neurosis.
Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.
Floofish (catfinition) – a cat who pretends to be another creature or fakes doing other activities to take advantage of others or a situation.
In use: “She was a little floofish, pretending to sleep when the plate of chicken was put out, but once she was alone in the room, she leaped up, grabbed a piece, and scurried away to enjoy it in private.”
A dream began and ended. I slipped between the cracks of being asleep and awake and considered the dream.
My muses rode in our horses. There were five, all women.
And David Bowie’s song, “Heroes,” began playing.
I’ve been having a series of nostalgic dreams about being happier and more contented. These dreams reflect my wry private observation about my life’s trajectory. I’d followed an upward curve for decades, the kind that’s part of the mythology of working hard and being rewarded when really, it was partly being a beneficiary of being a white male with a modicum of sense in modern America. Sometimes there was a brief drop, and there were a few sharp spikes. Overall, it’d been up and steady. Now, I ride a plateau.
This dream was like that series, but sharper. It centered around me opening a business. I’d picked a location but was having buyer’s remorse and self-doubts. I walked around thinking, what to do, what to do. Was this really what I wanted to do? More, it didn’t seem like a good business idea. Friends, family, and business associates were present. As it grew clear that I was dissatisfied and bothered, they offered alternative ideas for the space and my business.
That triggered fond thinking about going to coffee shops and bakeries. I thought the space was perfect for that. Into the dream comes one of my old CEOs, enthusiastically reminiscing about life at a start-up, and coffee shops like this. Everyone was excited about that idea, and I awoke on the verge of a decision.
After thinking about that dream, I reordered myself to sleep.
Then the muses rode in.
The five muses rode in and stopped. I had a profile shot of them in a line. They were looking straight ahead. I don’t know what they looked at it. It was then I realized they were my muses. I recognized the setting from the scene I’m working on in my novel.
Bowie’s “Heroes” began playing. IT would play on a continuous loop in the background for the rest of the dream. The song was a live version from one of Bowie’s last shows.
The woman in the center was on a light brown horse. She dismounted. Her horse and the other muses went away. She transformed into one of my novel’s characters. The story-telling commenced. As her story spread out like I watched a movie, she said, “No, further back. This series of scenes needs to begin further back.”
So back we went, resetting the start of her part in this series. She began telling it again. It was like I was in a movie watching her.
There’s a lot to write today.
As a final part of the dream sequences, I dreamed a dragon flew through me. Huge, it flew through my body and breathed fire, burning out any diseases in me.
As far as I know, I don’t have any diseases.
“Champagne Supernova” by Oasis was one of my top twenty songs of 1996. My first year of retirement after the military, I was working Palo Alto for a medical device startup. “Champagne Supernova” resonated with me because the words didn’t always have a cause and effect relationship; I saw the same lack of cause and effect in my life. I was just floating along, and things were happening.