Stephenie Meyer had a dream, wrote a book and became a billionaire. Why can’t I do that? I’ll tell you why – I don’t have the right dreams. (That’s what happens when you don’t sleep much, I guess.) Oh, I’ve had some doozies (especially when I was pregnant) but none of the glittering vampire kind. I did have one that was so Alice-in Wonderland-ish that I wrote it down. Think Alice in Wonderland meets a Dr. Seuss jibboo meets C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy. When I remembered the dream it was apparent to me what had been on my mind: the book I was reading and my younger brother. I’d also been having thoughts about my son needing to…well, I’ll keep you hanging about that. You might not read this otherwise.
The “This is Not a Stephenie Meyer Dream” Dream
I am standing in a glaringly sunny, sand-colored, barren field. I look up at what I think must be an art tree, something like the ones described in C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength. The tree is a gigantic fir tree, but the smooth tan trunk is all bare except at the very top where there is half of a red and brown plastic cone. The cone sits atop the peak of the tree like an open Indian tepee.
I turn from the tree because I know I’m in that place for another reason, and I’m aware that some of my children are with me. I approach the steps of an arena that reminds me of the weathered wooden fairground grandstands in the small town where I grew up. The white paint is frayed and chipping on the battered steps, but before I can ascend them I must pay an entry fee to a dirty elf with an evil smile. I know that my two oldest daughters have already paid their fees, along with my youngest son’s fee. They are already in the arena. With my youngest daughter by my side, I stand at a table behind which the dwarf is sitting. I take a five dollar bill out of my wallet to pay our dollar entry fees. The dwarf teasingly refuses to give me my change. Even though he scares me a little, I boldly grab the oval money basket out of his grubby little hands. I rifle through the bills, searching for the correct change. I discover that while all the money has the color of real species, some of it is over-sized and obviously fake. Some of the bills have pictures of rabbit heads instead of presidents.
Next, I find myself seated in the shady grandstands. I am looking down at what is a racetrack, but I can only see one sunny section at the far end. As I wait for the race to begin, male announcers make comments about the entrants. To my surprise, they announce that my younger brother is in the race. I am confused because even though my brother lives in Virginia, they announce that he is from Talladega, Florida. They wonder aloud why he would be in the race since he has a newborn baby at home. (That part was a fact.)
I never see the race, but my brother apparently wins it. I see him, clad in blue denim coveralls and looking like someone who should be part of a pit crew, doing a victory lap. He is walking around the track, waving to people in the stands. Someone comes out of the crowd and hands him a bunch of over-sized electrical wiring. He drapes it around his neck like a gym towel. One strand is silver metal, twisted like rope; other strands are black, red and blue plastic tubing. A stranger next to me explains that this mass of wire and tubes is my brother’s trophy, comparable to an Olympic laurel wreath in ancient Greece.
I leave the grandstands and follow my brother and the crowd to the victory “circle,” a square of concrete outside the fairgrounds. My brother is told he can have one person be in a photo with him, and he chooses me! But when I start to walk up to be with him he decides he wants other people to be in the photo, too. In the end I am part of a group around my brother. I look out toward the crowd of celebrating on-lookers, and I see my 18-year-old son. He’s playing hacky sack in a circle of guys. He had gotten his hair cut.