‘A Writer is By Nature a Dreamer – A Conscious Dreamer’ – Carson McCullers

‘Okay, Class, that was it for today. Please don’t forget to read pages 39 till 41 for the next lecture’ said the professor, letting out a sigh. The clamor of everyone getting ready to leave was now filling the room. The silence that Malak had loved  immensely during the lecture was fading away.

She always found herself lost in a delirious wonder. Indeed, day dreaming was her guilty pleasure. Being absent minded was a constant state she was in, it was so natural to her that it started to become her normal. She never knew why she always felt the need to escape this world and dive into another. And why the lecture was her favourite time to do it was still a mystery to her.

She always waited for all hustle and movement to settle while everyone rushed to leave after the professor had taken their attendance. Malak never understood people’s need to leave in such a hurry. If they had stayed any second longer in the room you’d feel like they’d suffocate. If, God forbid, the professor ever came late they’d use it as an excuse not to attend the lecture.

Suddenly, her mind drifted off to the weirdest thought, clothed with the witchery of fiction. A waking dream overshadowed her as she imagined all the students in her class crawling on the floor begging the doctor to let them leave ‘Please, Professor, let us go!’ they screamed in agony and pain, being overly dramatic as always. A smile had found its way to Malak’s face, clearly amused at the thought.

However, she was snapped back to reality when her friend said ‘Come on Malak! The buses won’t be waiting for us’.

They both said their goodbyes as they left the building, going off into opposite directions. Malak had found her bus at the same spot it always parked at. She was early, so the bus was still empty. She had the freedom to choose wherever she wanted to sit.

As she sat next to the window, a fever of enthusiasm had overtaken her. The story that she’d been preparing, planning, and plotting finally had an ending. It appeared to her in class as she was once more luminous with great thoughts. She absolutely loved the world and characters she’d been developing for almost two years now. She was proud of herself, after so many years of reading books by other authors, to have finally come up with her own novel.

It was all ready! The story, the plot-line, the climax and the conflicts the characters will face. She had their names and their whole lives figured out, from start to finish.  The events of the story were all well thought out. None were tacky, sloppy or felt fake to her. This newly-created world was realistic and perfect in every way. So there was only one thing left to do. ‘I will do it once I get home’, she said illegibly, while chewing on her bottom lip.

Malak got home and knew what she had to do before it went away. She always viewed writing like surfing; you had to catch the wave and ride it as fast as possible before it was gone and you’d have to wait for another one.

For Malak, the urge to write came in fleeting moments, which disappeared too fast. Her worst enemy was a blank page after having prepared such a wonderful and glorious scene in her head. It had already taken place, she just had to put it on paper.

Blank Pages

‘That’s it. That’s all you have to do. Put it on paper’ she said ‘How hard can it be’.

Malak, however, never went to her room like she should have when she got home, but instead spent time with her mother in the kitchen telling her all about the ending she had figured out for her story.

She felt an unaccountable dread, however, because she knew if she went to her room she’d be bound to disappoint herself again if she couldn’t do it. Dropping her bag on the bed she glanced over to her messy desk with an extraordinary meaning ‘I’ll clean up first’, she said, ‘Clean desk, clear head’. After another half an hour had passed, her desk had finally been cleared. Now, there was nothing standing between her and her writing.

Her heart fluttered with a vague terror. That scary feeling if you were ever going to jump off a cliff. A leap of faith. Always afraid that you’ll fall and not fly. She was empty of thought; when the frame and mind alike seem unstrung and listless, full of dreams and refinements and intense abstractions.

An unpleasant and heavy sensation sat at her heart; what if she will never be able to do justice to what is happening in her mind with her writing?

What will she do from now on? She felt like the pen had turned against her. The words, which she could always rely on getting, were now slipping away. So as oddly disappointing and fickle as it was…she gave up and went to bed. Until sleep overtook her at a stride with a heavy conscious.

Sleep wasn’t peaceful, though. She set her dreams adrift and opened to the doors to welcome those from her fickle imagination: the characters created by her own mind. The world they lived in and the lives they lead. Among them was she, running along with them, exploring the world by their side. And with a faint smile on her lips, she drifted off into the world of her creation. Living through what her characters were living and seeing what they were seeing, for once, she was part of their universe the way she had always wanted to.

With steady breaths two worlds morphed into one another. Until one had overcome the other whilst the morn kissed the sleep from her eyes. Conjuring up scenes of incredible beauty and terror from the dream she’d been having, she slowly realized that she was awake. With everything that happened still very vivid in her mind, she sat herself in an upright position, her hands stroking her face.

‘There’s no way…’, she hesitated, ‘I have to write this book…I owe it to them’, she said decisively. Her face lit up with a glow of inspiration and resolve; a new and overmastering impulse.

And in the early morning, when everyone was still sleeping, the tumult in her mind found sudden speech. She took the pen between her fingers and started writing…

The End.