Like anyone else, I worry over the things most important to me as I drift off to sleep. As I approach and enter the hypnagogic state – where free association and the subconscious seem to take over – my thoughts take on an entirely different form.
Sometimes odd scenes play out with a voice narrating in my head. Because most people look at me strangely when I say this, I’ve concluded it must not be universal, therefore it must be the aspiring writer in me. I decided recently to begin recording those thoughts when I’m awake enough to do so. Here’s the first one, captured last night.
Pretext – I clearly remember the train of thought that led up to this narrative. Through many winding what-ifs, I found myself thinking of large monasteries and a scholarly lifestyle. Such communities are often closed off, miniature worlds all their own. Those thoughts were the last things on my mind as I began to drift off. Then this came to me, in a low, lamenting voice, as if I were the narrator’s confidant:
Abernathy, our caretaker – his eyes deep and caring, his face hard and disapproving. He was our trusted leader.
Why, then, did he lie to us? What noble purpose justified this deception? We’ll never know – he is lost to us now, and we are lost without him.
God help us, what will we do?
It was haunting enough to jolt me out of sleep, so I set it down on paper before I forgot it. The prose needs work (the first sentence is a fragment), but it’s intriguing enough. To those of you without much creative drive (not an insult, just different wiring), you’ll likely see no value in this. Even if you enjoy the occasional novel, a few dramatic sentences in a vacuum are more frustrating than intriguing.
To me, however, this kind of brief, cryptic narrative is like discovering the entrance to a lost tomb, or a treasure map, or a long-forgotten alien space ship in perfect working order. It’s an invitation to an adventure that promises to change the lives of those involved. It’s drama, adventure, intrigue, struggle, heartache, and triumph. It makes my mind reel at the possibilities and my heart ache for the plight of the characters.
In short, for people like me, this stuff is like a highly-addictive drug. While it’s playing out in my head, few things are important enough to even register, let alone steal my attention away.
I’m going to make it a point to publish the more coherent, flowing bits here … at least those not belonging to my ever-ongoing-but-seemingly-never-really-progressing novel. Maybe it’ll inspire some of you. Funny enough, I think that’s really all any writer truly wants anyway – beyond income considerations, that is.