Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dreaming in Words

A long time ago, when I was learning how to speak Spanish, I dreamed in Spanish. Not just the dialogue, but the narration too. Magically, the dreams were never constrained by the dry vocabulary in my Spanish II textbok. I was able to form sentences without stopping to think about conjugation, tense, or prounouns. Best of all--my accent was flawless.

An even longer time ago, when I was learning to type, I dreamed in key strokes. I learned on a Wang (not an euphemism). The interface was primitive--a black screen with bright green, Hal-like characters. In my dreams, though, as long as I typed the action, it played out in vivid color. I was a faceless narrator, clicking away, asdf jkl;, at about 100 wpm.

Lately, though, I've been dreaming in words. I see paragraphs and pages of text, and like an interior designer walking into a bachelor pad, I'm tsk, tsking. I want to fix it. I can fix it. Instead of moving the couch, I'm moving a scene. Instead of scouring antique shops for the perfect accent piece, I'm searching for the perfect word--the one that will take a humdrum sentence from whatever to wow. Metaphors, fresh description, and snappy dialogue are indexed and catalogued, like fabric samples and paint chips. When I wake up, I'm stumbling to the computer in my pajamas so I don't forget.

Revisions are going well. In the words of Stephen Tyler, Dream On.


Keli Gwyn said...

Anne, how fun that you're dreaming about your story and waking with insights that send you sprinting to your computer. I'm thrilled that the revisions are going so well. I'm eager to read this story.

Anne Barton said...

Hi Keli! Yes, it's a little weird, but fun I suppose. The true test on how well revisions are going will come in a few weeks when I forward the file to you. *gulp* As always, thanks for being there!

Vince said...

Hi Anne:

“Dreaming in Words” really caught my attention. Once when I was proofreading for days on end, I actually had two dreams that I had to read! The words scrolled by on one line like on Times Square and I had to read the whole dream. It was even in black and white. I felt very deprived. I'm glad it only happened twice.


Anne Barton said...

Vince, first off, I have to apologize--your comment went into moderation for some reason, and I had no idea it was there. Call me clueless!

Your proofreading dreams are so funny--what a perfect example. It's like when we get really absorbed in a specific task, our brains begin to process things differently. (Of course, I have no idea what I'm talking about, but it sounds good, no?) Anyway, having to read your dreams would be annoying!

Thanks for stopping by!