Saturday, December 30, 2006

Flickr Fiction: Dream in Color

Ida dreamed in stories. Not flickers of images like the switching of TV channels, or half-remembered childhood memories, or partially digested daily events mish-mashed together into an incomprehensible soup.

Stories. Complete plots with characters and an arc that rose to a dramatic climax and then, always, always, stopped at the most absolutely crucial moment. If these had been actual written pieces, then she would never get to the end of the key scene, never experience a character's epiphany, never find out the moral of the story.

Like this, from her dream diary dated October 2, 1992: She was a girl working in a tavern somewhere in 1800s England. A soldier came in. The soldier was her brother; their mother had taken ill with a fever after helping their sister give birth to her first child, a boy. She--Ida--rushed home to find her mother in a state of delirium. She bathed her face gently with compresses of cool water, but the situation worsened. In a rare--perhaps her final--moment of lucidity, her mother reached out one trembling, careworn hand to touch Ida's face and opened her mouth to speak, at which point Ida woke up, sweating, frustrated, angry, crying.

Or this, dated just last Monday: She was a young man--sometimes she was a member of the opposite sex in her dreams, though at the same time, curiously, she remained herself--a young man living in Chicago, alone in a cramped but sunlit apartment. He had moved there just a few months before to study with a world-famous tap dancer, jazz-tap style, and life had not been easy for him, working odd restaurant jobs at late hours and falling into bed exhausted after practicing until he was ready to drop. But the very next day, he received a visit from his teacher at the world-famous tap dancer's school, and the teacher asked him to dance right then and there, in his apartment, because the teacher was considering suggesting him for a key role in an upcoming performance. The young man pulled on his shoes, excitement warring with trepidation, his hands shaking but his feet steady. He stood in the empty, wood-floored living room and began to dance. After several minutes, he stopped. The teacher opened his mouth, raising one hand to emphasize what he was about to say.

Ida woke up.
***

This week's piece was inspired by To the dancers in the sun by Flickr user dejon. This is another sort of unfinished piece, playing around with a character who might work her way into a short story... Check for more Flickr Fiction on the sites of The Gurrier, Isobel, Elimare, Chris, Mina, TadMack, Linus, and new members Neil, Valsha, and Dermot, who's still getting set up.

6 comments:

Elimare said...

i have a dream journal. It's full of horrible scary things for the most part though. I like the snippet, could turn into something alright.

Donal said...

It sounds like half my attempts at Flickr Fiction. I just get to the good part and then, damn, I don't know what happens next.

Ida sounds like an interesting character to develop.

I have a notebook by my bed but inevitably it gets covered in piles of coins, keys and receipts and I forget it's there.

TadMack said...

I should have a dream journal. Then I wouldn't have to go looting about trying to find paper when I want to write out some of the more fantastical ones at 2 a.m. in a puddle of moonlight on the floor. I actually HAVE a blank book next to my bed, but get this: I'm so anal I don't want to write in it because it's a PRETTY ONE.

Sigh.

I like this. I want Ida to finish a dream so I know more about her. It's saying something about her state of mind that the dreams are never finished...

a. fortis said...

Thanks!! Yup, I have a dream journal, too (a pretty one which I had to work up my courage to sully) but I only fill it in in spurts. I feel like, because it's so pretty, only the most interesting dreams should go in there. As a result, I don't write in it for months at a time and then forget about it completely.

Teaandcakes said...

I have a really nice notebook by the bed that I don't want to ruin by writing in too.
A nice piece, I liked the description at the beginning of different ways of dreaming.

Valsha said...

I guess I'm the only one who doesn't have a dream journal! But I do dream like that, in story arcs without endings, so this piece really hit home!