Every night I have dreams.
Every night I see things that no one else does, and every morning I memorize them so that I can keep them. So that maybe, one day, someone else will see them too.
I could write them down; I often do. I have a dream journal, full of words, full of descriptions, full of things that aren’t the images in my mind. I could tell you all about them. But sometimes, sometimes I don’t want to. I don’t want to write about the river with water that flows both ways. Or the white gate with the crescent cutout, set into a tall hedge, leading down into the forest. Or the plane that just tipped over and is hanging from the ceiling, paper fluttering down through it’s broken body, the dusty light shafts making the pages look like falling doves. I don’t want to tell you something you have to see with your own mind. I want to show you exactly what I see in mine.
But I can’t draw. I can’t paint. I am talented at rendering; give me a photograph or a painting or an object, and I can copy it down to within an inch of its essence. I won’t enjoy the tedious work, but I can do it. But something from my imagination? Never. I don’t know anything about figures, about perspective, about lighting. When it comes to images, I can copy but I can’t create.
I have a good eye. I can take pictures from the right angle, with the right proportions. I can make it look better on film than it did in real life. I can capture the peak of the perfect moment if it’s there in front of my eyes. But how do you take a picture of a scene inside your head? A scene that exists in your imagination, and your imagination only?
I’m afraid. I’m frightened that these images – with their colors and their depth and their utter realness that exists solely in my mind – will one day exist nowhere at all.
I have words. I have more words than I know what to do with, and I love them and I’m grateful for what they give me. But, these dreams. These dreams, indescribably lovely and terrifyingly fragile, make me mourn the fact that words are all I have.