I’m generally self-effacing and prefer to hang around the edges, watching and observing. Being the center of attention, praised, or honored, is something that provokes all manner of winces from me. So last night’s dream is one of those that made me wince, not just for those reasons, but because it bumped up against my impostor syndrome.
Not surprising. Many writers feel like they’re on the verge of exposure, that they don’t have talent or much to say that others would find interesting. The dream pushed me against all of that.
I was at a huge writing conference. I guess over two thousand people were present. We were in chairs in a ballroom. I was in the front row in a seat of honor. As the conference began, the organizer took a moment to note my presence and thank me for attending, and said all sorts of wonderful things about my writing. I was the only one she did this with. The rest enthusiastically cheered and applauded. I stood, gave them a quick wave, and returned to my seat as fast as I could.
We’d brought writing projects to read to the rest. Before reading them, we were being given time to make final edits. The woman beside me was nervous and asked me if I would mind editing and revising her work. I agreed and set upon it.
Well, anyone who writes knows how often writers feel the urge to change whatever someone else has written. It’s rare that I don’t feel that, even with many published books.
So it was at the conference. I made multiple changes to her manuscript because mine was finished and didn’t need changed (ha, ha). When the woman returned to me, I explained what I did. She was surprised but delighted. We agreed that the two of us would read it together, that she would read the female parts while I read the male parts. This made sense in the dream. She was one of the first up, and that’s what we did, to great acclaim.
Time skipped past. I knew others had read. It was my turn. Again, I was given an elaborate introduction. The praise made me uncomfortable. I got up to read.
People weren’t paying attention, though. A hubbub swelled through the room as others stood, stretched, and generally milled about.
I was perplexed, because I thought I was about to read. What’s going on, I thought, waiting for the others to settle.
Wearing shorts, I suddenly felt something amiss. Looking down, I saw my pecker sticking out of my shorts’ leg. Glancing about to see if anyone was observing me, I hastily turned away and made my adjustments so the devious creature was back in the house and concealed, as God intended.
Then I turned back around. A moment later, everyone quieted and returned to their seats. I was introduced again and asked to read. Great applause followed. I began by giving a brief summary of the history of what I’d written, and the dream ended.