I had a dream... I was an author at a book-signing event, waiting to give autographs and sitting next to a man who was obviously a successful writer. He appeared to be in his mid-fifties, tall, thin, and wore a close-cropped, peppered gray beard. He wore a cardigan sweater pulled over a button-down shirt and reading glasses perched at the end of his nose. His smile was warm and genuine.
The line of people waiting to get signed copies of our books spanned the entire length of the store and out into the parking lot. The first person in line was a petite, elderly woman who clutched both of our hard-bound books in her wrinkled hands. The book store attendant gave her permission to approach and she floated effortlessly to our table without moving a muscle (it's a dream, remember?).
She placed the author's book on the table, and asked what inspired him to write such a compelling and beautiful novel? He told a story of how he decided as a young boy to dedicate his life to the betterment of mankind. His voice captivated the audience as he described his journeys as a doctor, a lawyer, a professor, and an astronaut. The crowd hung on every word as he recalled his humanitarian work with Green Peace, Amnesty International, the Red Cross, and Save the Children.
"I wrote the book," he told her, "so that you could experience the joy and happiness that I found through selfless giving."
The audience erupted in thunderous applause. A tear ran down the elderly woman's face as he signed her copy of his book titled, The World Is A Better Place Because Of Me. The elderly woman thanked him graciously. She placed my book on the table and said, "I don't think I've ever heard of you, young man. What do you write about?" To which I replied...
"I write about farts."
That's when I woke up. That was my dream, or my nightmare, depending on how you look at it. It bothered me and I could not stop thinking about it. My wife noticed, and on the drive home from our Easter brunch, she said, "Why aren't you talking to me?"
"Huh?" I said, "I'm, uh... stuffed with food."
"You're always stuffed with food. And you usually talk, even while you're stuffing yourself with food."
"Sorry. I was thinking about a dream I had."
"Was I in it?"
"Then it's not worth thinking about."
"But, you don't even know what it's about--"
"I don't want to know what it's about if I'm not in it. I know what kind of sick perverted things you men dream about."
(Awkward pause, lasts about two miles)
"I had a dream about writing," I said. "That's what it was about."
"About writing?" she said. "Well, why didn't you tell me?"
"I... aw, never mind. Look, in my dream, I was sitting next to a guy who had practically saved the world with one arm tied behind his back and he wrote a book about it and everyone loved it. And there I was sitting next to him, and all I had to show for myself was fart jokes."
"So, in the dream, your book was about fart jokes?"
"You think it was a sign that you need to write a book about farts?"
"No. I don't want to write about farts."
"That's kind of limiting your material, isn't it?"
"I'm trying to be serious here."
"I think I know where you're going with this, and it reminds me of when my second-cousin Waylon brought home and married a Vietnamese girl from the war."
"How... how does that even compare?"
"Well, people back then weren't as open minded as they are now and Waylon and his wife used to get funny looks. I mean, nobody could pronounce her name and she couldn't speak a word of English. Made it real awkward around Christmas time. But Waylon didn't care, he loved her with all his heart. Eventually, everybody got to know Waylon's new bride and welcomed her with open arms."
"I'm missing your point and how it relates to my dream."
"My point is... fart jokes is a metaphor for your writing. Not everybody likes fart jokes, but some people do. And if you really love writing the things you write about, then all you have to do is give it time and everybody will love it."
"Okay... I kind of see what you mean. Thanks, I feel a little better. So, how come you never told me about your cousin Waylon and his wife before?"
"Oh, 'cause she divorced him and run off with her English teacher. Took every penny Waylon had. Made it real awkward around Christmas time."