My late father was a holocaust survivor who lost every member of his family. He lived this dark nightmare in his teens, and came out of it not only a physical survivor, but also a person capable of deep love for humanity.
When my stepmother asked him how he survived, she was not asking about factual practical details. She was asking about his psyche, which was exceptional in endurance and creativity.
“I dreamed,” he said. “I’m still a dreamer.” I imagine that wherever he is now, he's surely dreaming.
I realize that I’m his daughter in this sense. I have not had to endure the horrors of his youth, but I have had challenging times. From an early age, I, too, dreamed.
When I was in kindergarten, I imagined that I had a real Mickey Mouse for a special friend. My secret pet lived under my bed, where no one else ever saw him. When everyone went to bed, Mickey and I would talk for hours, and he even gave good advice, that mouse.
I continue to dream. Only now, it’s a focused engagement that winds up in the form of manuscripts for young readers. This is part of why first drafting a story is my mental and emotional salvation. The rest of the work is dues I pay for spending so many hours dreaming.
When friends tell me they can’t write fiction, I know they are not focused dreamers. Or perhaps they don’t realize that when they use their imagination to solve problems, there is focused dreaming going on, which they could use in serving a story.
To all you dreamers~~~