Sunday, August 17, 2008


Last night I dreamed a story, full of complexity and nuance and innovative ideas about the nature of reality, prophecy, choice, magic, fire and blood, flight, danger, heroism. As I was dreaming it I came to realize I was actually reading it: I had found some book that was so much better than anything I could ever write. This realization was upsetting but the story was so good that I kept reading, pulled into it like wind into a canyon.

Then another realization crept in as I was waking up: it wasn't some book someone else had written. I had dreamed the dream myself. It came from me! And I thought, I'd better write this amazing thing down before I forget it.

I did not write it down. I did forget most of it. Except for the important part that it came from me in the first place. It's in there, somewhere.

And it was shocking how engrossing it was, even though I had created it. How surprising and unknown it seemed.

Jan Chipchase, who studies usage patterns of cellphone technology from cultural perspective (more interesting than it sounds, see his blog) took this photograph in Kabul, Afghanistan recently.
This is not what I usually think of when I imagine people reading something I've written. But I would love to have my books in this shop someday; I would love for someone to be that engrossed. Look at how it's pulled him in. Look at how it's not a Barnes and Noble or a school library or even a kid on a porch in the States.

Is it possible to write stories that are so rich with shared human experience that they transcend politics, war, distance, even culture itself? I have to believe that it is.

(Image copyright 2008 Jan Chipchase. Used by permission from

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