Today I wake up a writer. The jumble of my morning dreaming ends with a short narrated dream. It has a male narrator, maybe in his late thirties, and the dream is almost whole when I wake. I know if I doze it will be gone, so I run it through my mind again, kiss the black ball of fur beside me, and reach, stretching, for my dreams notebook on the nightstand. I embellish the dream as I write it down. It grows three, maybe four times as long. A surprising thing happens on the page, a thing I didn’t plan, something that wasn’t in the dream. He is on the beach with a woman, and he ends up spelling “cunt” in the sand between them with his big toe. The reader doesn’t hear the whole word but knows it is a four-letter word that begins with “C” and ends with “T.” The reader knows it’s an ugly word. I don’t know how much of what I’ve added I’ll remove again. But I know the arrival of the four-letter word was magic, even though it shocked me a little, even though I am embarrassed to write it here. It isn’t a word I want to use, but I understand what drove him to write it. I don’t know if she sees the word or not because he erases it with his foot. Then he bends down and leaves a small shell in the smooth sand between the two of them, and he walks away.
I was so pleased to get the dream down on paper. It was a funny mix of recording the dream and letting more of the story come. I knew before I was fully awake it was a good candidate for flash fiction, a genre that appeals to me but which I’ve barely brushed against. And I loved waking up a writer, having fiction pour out of my dreams onto the page, propped up in bed with Sable warm and solid against my hip, the morning sunlight angling across the kitchen. There was something so comfortable, so cozy, so reassuring about it. I really am a writer. Today I know it beyond doubt. I have touched so many different things, but this is who I am at my core. And it turns out I love being who I am. Who knew?