The Writing Police

Posted on 15 April 2011

Last night I dreamed that I got pulled over for running a red light. The cop and I got to talking and it turns out he was an aspiring writer. He was thrilled to hear that I write and started asking tons of questions. I found myself saying things like “learn the craft” and “if you want to publish more than you want to write, that’s a problem.”

Then his wife mysteriously appeared and thanked me for giving her husband some advice. Seems he’s been tortured by this writing thing for quite some time, mainly because he desperately wanted to write but was too afraid to begin. He was paralyzed by his fear of failure. I kept telling him that no matter what else he did, he must commit to simply sitting down and putting words to paper.

Gee, subconscious sleep-brain, I wonder what you’re trying to tell me?

I woke up before I could learn whether he would let me out of the ticket for that red light, but I’m pretty sure I had it in the bag. In the dream, I was perfectly confident and knew exactly what to say to him. The mere thought of writing fiction excited and terrified him all at once, and I knew enough to tell him to just begin.

Do you dream about writing? Are you afraid to begin? When was the last time you were pulled over?

Photo: ElvertBarnes


8 responses to The Writing Police

  • Lyra says:

    I’ve been pulled over twice, been requested to get out of the car, and after complying have in fact lost my temper after being harrassed. Both times I walked away without a ticket, but there were dodgy moments where I thought I had gone too far and would be thrown in jail.

    I don’t harrass easily.

    • Yikes!

      I’ve never experienced anything like that, but I did have an officer pull me over, run up to my window, and start frantically asking if I was “wanted for anything.” Huh? I was driving a car with out-of-state plates on a quiet back road in an industrial area (I was lost). But he seemed to want me to tell *him* if I had done something wrong. I was so confused. And, um, if I was indeed a criminal on the run, why would I tell him that?

      Another time, I was only about a block from my home when a cop pulled me over because my headlights weren’t on and I hadn’t noticed. This was late on a Friday night and he’d assumed I was drunk. Once he saw I wasn’t, he was quite jolly about the whole thing.

  • Averil says:

    I’m not afraid to begin; I’m afraid the words will dry up and leave me filling my bucket with dirt. (I dream of blindness all the time – a photography-related fear made worse by a recent diagnosis of macular degeneration. I can hardly write that, it scares me so.)

    • Oh, Averil. I had no idea about your diagnosis. I’m so sorry. I hope your case is mild/slow-moving/manageable (not sure what the right term would be!). Macular degeneration is in my family, so I’ve always feared it.

  • lisahgolden says:

    I don’t dream about writing, but I could use you to visit me in my dreams to remind me to write.

  • Teri says:

    I was in a waiting room last week, writing in a notebook, when some guy across from me said, “You look deep in thought.” Here’s what transpired.

    – I am. I working.
    – What do you do?
    – I’m working on a story.
    – You’re a writer!
    – (nod, do not look up)
    – I want to be a writer! You wouldn’t believe the stories I could tell. I’ve had a crazy life.
    – (nod again, brief grin, certain he’s hitting on me)
    – Seriously, I wrote, like, 6 pages the other day and when I looked back at them they weren’t too bad. Hell, if Grishman can do it …
    – (now fully ignoring him)
    – Or maybe I could tell you stories and you could write them for me. I bet you’re good at it.
    (yep, this asshole is hitting on me – I’m not sure if I can describe how much I hate this stranger with all of my being)
    So I put my notebook away and say: You know what my husband says? He says that just because he can use a hacksaw doesn’t mean he can perform brain surgery.

  • Paul Lamb says:

    I’ve never dreamed about writing, which is surprising to realize (for me) since I’ve been working at it for decades.

    I’ve been pulled over a few times for speeding (though not recklessly), but I’ve never had a jolly, rambling conversation with the cop as a result. Might have been interested and mitigated the sting of the tickets.

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