Artwork Courtesy bridgemanart.com
“It” happened again.
“It” is the story I presented in this spot several weeks ago. To wit: I awoke quite early after dreaming the beginning, middle and ending of a novel, got up, typed everything I could remember, and started an outline. That work in progress is now titled The Lake Effect and other than for those occasions where I get in my own way it has actually been fun. I am not finished but I am seeing the highway distance signs assuring me that I am headed in the right direction at speed.
However, “it” has happened again. I woke up Friday morning with a dream vividly lodged in my head, a dream that laid out another novel, beginning, middle, and end. I for a number of reasons (none of them really acceptable) could not get up but I had a pen and a notepad at the ready and scribbled a bunch of notes to my daytime self, all of which actually made sense when I woke up for a second time Friday morning with paper all over the place. The novel? It is, as with The Lake Effect, way outside of my writing comfort zone. The Lake Effect is a love story with a bit of science fiction attached. The latest dream —so far unnamed — is a dystopian thriller. I hate dystopian novels, as a rule. I have been able to read, enjoy, and finish two in my lifetime: Dahlgren by Samuel R. Delaney and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. My humble effort could be pitched as “Long John Silver and John Wick team up at the end of time and make one final effort to hit the restart button.”
I haven’t decided whether to set this newly inspired work aside until I finish The Lake Effect or work on both. What I really wonder, however — and this is a rhetorical question — is…why now, as I do the slim, slow slide into age sixty-eight (September 11, if you’re wondering when to send the Amazon gift cards)? Am I the recipient of some sort of precursor to the “check engine” light flashing on, or is a blood clot going to jackknife in the middle of my cranial freeway at rush hour in a couple of months, and is this last-ditch creative spurt is a traffic alert?
I ask because something else is happening as well. I’ve had a major change in appetite (food, that is) over the past five weeks. I suddenly have no desire for what had been my four major food groups: pasta, donuts, french fries, and kettle chips. I no longer find appealing what I had to resist. A friend brought over a large bag of my favorite potato chips — Zapps Mardi Gras Kettle Chips — the other day as a gift. Up until a few weeks ago I would have opened them to share with her as a pretext to doing a deep dive in the bag. They’re still sealed. Glory be, ‘tis a miracle, Father Mahoney. Meat is going the same way. I’m down to eating meat as part of one meal per day, at most. It hasn’t been a conscious or deliberate choice. It’s just what I feel. I’ve eaten more oatmeal and soup in the last month or so than I have in my entire life. My cupboard and refrigerator look as if they have been taken over by Jack LaLanne (well, that is a gross exaggeration, but it’s changed quite a bit). This all occurred after I dreamt The Lake Effect.
I don’t know if this is even worthy of a question, but since we have a bunch of artistic minds out there, and many of them are seasoned, let me ask: have any of you experienced a sea change like this? Was it a precursor to something good, bad, or indifferent? What ultimately happened? Thank you, and enjoy your weekend.