Thursday, October 16, 2014

On Being Stuck at the Midpoint of My Next Novel: A True Story

I had a dream last night. I was walking through a forest, lost and alone. I wasn’t scared, though—I knew if I kept walking I’d eventually get to where I was going, even though the forest was so thick I could see only a few yards in front of me.

I’d been moving down a gentle slope for some time. The slope steepened. It soon became so steep that I had to grab onto branches and saplings to keep myself from sliding down. I kept going because I couldn’t face walking back up that long steep hill. I thought I would reach the bottom before long. Soon I found myself climbing slowly down a nearly vertical cliff face, searching for crevices with my toes, holding onto scrubby little trees growing out of the rocks. I looked down to see river rapids hundreds of feet below.

Finally I ran out of hand- and foot-holds. I tried to climb back up to find an easier route, but my arms were too tired to pull me up, and my legs seemed to be paralyzed. I was stuck.

I should just let go, I thought. It's too hard. I'm doomed anyway, why prolong the struggle? Then I woke up.

It was three a.m. I pushed the dog off my legs and sat up and thought, Damn, these metaphors are getting way too literal.


Marianne Mitchell said...

What's even worse is dreaming the perfect solution to your sagging middle and then forgetting it as soon as you wake up!

Pete Hautman said...

Oh yes, so true!

Pete Hautman said...
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