So, I’ve been having that dream a lot lately. You know, the one where you’re back in high school with your big ideas and your bigger hair, wearing nothing but a plastic…wait a second.
I mean the one where you can’t remember your locker combination.
It’s funny, because I never worried about forgetting those three secret numbers when I was actually in high school. Sure, there were a couple of times when I couldn’t get my locker open — like when I was sharing it with one of my equally disorganized BFF’s, and our books, folders, and industrial hair spray bottles were so jammed inside that we had to get a Brother (of the Franciscan variety) to find a crowbar, and help a girl out.
But this week, my dreams turned to those dimly-lit, musty-carpeted hallways, and ended with me staring at my locker in cold fear. Can. Not. Remember.
Now, I dream about high school quite a bit. Maybe because that’s where I met my husband and many of my (still) closest friends. Or, maybe because for me it represents an easier (note: I’m not saying “better”) time. When my current days have been spent trying to fit in the extra’s — like eating and sitting down — my nights can be spent lounging in English class, making dioramas out of shoe boxes.
But the locker dream is a different beast.
According to dreammoods.com (which, for our purposes, we’ll assume is the Webster of dream dictionaries), “To dream that you cannot open a locker or that you forgot the combination, suggests that you are unsure of where you stand in a particular situation.
I do have a lot of questions about my writing career right now: About finding equal time for fiction and freelance work, and whether certain stories are ready to go. About potential job opportunities, and keeping up word counts when the kids are home for the summer. And about figuring out who ate my last Mother’s Day toffee?! (Because in case you’re wondering, chocolate and writing are totally related.)
I recently picked up The Productive Writer by Sage Cohen in hopes of answering some of these mind-shattering questions. It was a good read, and suggested some great ways to stay on track and make better use of your writing time. The magic formula here is a matter of organization and drive.
In fact, maybe that’s the combination I’m looking for as I stare at that metal rectangular monster of my dreams. I’m not searching my brain for the right numbers to open a locker, but for the right plan to unlock a successful balance. To find solutions. To discover where I stand within this crazy writing life.
Looking at my dream in this light, it’s not really scary anymore — it’s intriguing. I may not have all the answers, but the tools and desire are there. And that cumbersome storage unit may even eventually open.
I mean, if I kick it hard enough.
Or find a crowbar.
Here’s hoping for sweeter dreams tonight.
Do you have a recurring “stress” dream? When wearing different hats (writerly or otherwise), how do you find balance and measure your successes?
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