Books as dreams, authors as dreamers

Joel 2

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions,” Joel 2:28 (KJV)

Is a novel anything other than an extended dream, told by a dreamer?

I hope not.

When a reader opens the pages of a book, she says implicitly to the author, “I will dream with you for a while.”

That’s why books are magic.  They cause us to take a step or two back from reality, to forget about the mundane world, to put on a changed view of reality, if only for a little while.

Perhaps I am thinking about this because I find  myself now in the twilight world between the end of my last book and the fleshing out of the next. It is as if I am between trances.

For an author a book is really just that, a trance which consumes him until he expresses it on paper.

BB King

This may sound strange to readers, those who have not enjoyed the rapture of book creation.

We authors often get caught up in the business of books. “Give us an idea and we can write about it,” we say as if the craft of writing were no more than another job.  It is far  more than that, however.  Most authors I know would say that they are in one way or another at the mercy of their books.  They can no  more force a book to take a certain direction that the dreamer can control his dream.  It happens to him.  He does not happen to it.

The biblical quotation at the top of this post in interesting to me for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its age discrimination. Old men will dream, young men will have visions.

If I play with that passage a minute, I suppose I take it to mean that old men are more prone to the cool reflection of life that comes creeping into their minds in the wee hours. Young men, on the other hand, see flashes of light which drive them to strike out on adventures, to conquer the world or be conquered by it.  Jimi Hendrix

So, am I saying that only old people are equipped to write books?  Of course not. But I do believe that the books of the young are not the same as the books of the old. Even if they write about the same subject mater, they will approach it differently.  They have no choice in the matter. It’s like the veteran musician who has learned which notes not to play versus the young one who plays them all, a sustained tone versus a flurry of chord progressions. B.B. King next to Jimi Hendrix.

So, readers, tell me are books like dreams to you?

(Stephen Woodfin is an attorney an author who is dreaming about his seventh novel.)


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Related Posts