Sunday, 4 January 2015

Flying and Failing Exams - 2 Things That Led Me To Becoming a Writer

When I was younger I used to dream that I was flying. Every night would be the same. Well, not exactly the same. The scenario was always different, but at some point in each dream I would become aware of this innate ability, and then up I would go. Into the clouds.

I remember reading somewhere that flying in a dream represents the search for an impossible goal. Maybe I had lofty ambitions that were unattainable. This makes sense because in all of the dreams I remember taking off, but never landing. Whatever my subconscious mind was searching for, I did not find it.

Then one day the dreams stopped. It was as if my dream self had forgotten that I could fly. Or maybe I had simply stopped chasing the impossible and woken up to reality. This coincided with the time I left England to travel the world so it could also indicate that I had finally found my destination. I was content. Living the dream. But like any dream – one day you wake up.

When I returned to England the flying dreams did not come back. They were replaced with an altogether different dream. Again, the scenarios would differ, but the overall theme was always the same. I was late. More specifically, I was late for an exam. Sometimes it was English and sometimes it was maths (my 2 A level subjects. I actually did 2 maths A levels so the full course was English, maths and maths!) Sometimes, it was art too. In fact, it was probably art more than anything else. It would be the final day of term and I would be a dozen artworks short of completing the course.

Like the flying dreams before it, I knew there had to be a reason that my thoughts kept returning to the same thing. In the original dreams I had been searching for something. It was a longing, a yearning – for something external. These new dreams were different. This time the longing was not external, it was internal. Something inside of me was missing. From these dreams I deduced that I needed to achieve something before time had run out. Actually, achieve is not the right word. I needed to create something before time had run out.

At the time I was working within the Civil Service. In no other job would you find creativity more stifled. These are the rules, they are stupid, they do not work, and they will change for nobody. Dissenters will not be tolerated. You get the gist.

So with no outlet for my imagination at work, it was at home that I began to get creative. Since returning from abroad I had been typing up my travel journals, but this was not enough to sate my inner need. The worse the job got, the more I turned to fantasy, to fiction. I started writing a novel and the dreams changed once more. They became simply dreams. Random and incomprehensible as they should be.

Occasionally the dreams of being back at college return. There is a pattern to it too. I have these dreams when I have gone a prolonged period without writing. This brings me back to my earlier analysis. Creativity is an essential part of my psyche and when I am not fulfilling this need my subconscious mind punishes me. I am a writer and I must write.

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