Pin It I spend a lot of time daydreaming. I know, you're SHOCKED, right? Mind blowing.
Life has been really stressful for the last year or so and I've reacted in two ways - 1) eating everything in sight, and 2) daydreaming even more than I usually do. Whenever I'm alone, unless I'm really concentrating on something for work, (and sometimes even then) I drift off into a daydream. And I like it.
Nice things happen in daydreams. You are in control over what happens. Things CAN turn out perfectly. There is always enough money for everything you need. Bill collectors never call. I have no crows feet starting in the corners of my eyes. I always know the perfect thing to say and I'm not the least bit socially awkward. Oh, and I'm a size six.
Sometimes I get just as much satisfaction from an imaginary success as from a real life success - even more, because in a daydream, there is no messy reality to deal with. Don't get me wrong, my life is pretty good. Even though I've been stressed out, I am still very, very fortunate, and I know it, and I feel it. So it's not like it's an escape from my life, but it IS an escape from the stress in my life.
But I often feel guilty about wasting so much time daydreaming. As an internet friend once told me, "I believe people are put on this earth to interact with it, learn from it, and leave some kind of positive mark (no matter how small), not daydream their lives away." Yeah. What she said. More importantly, I sometimes struggle to be really present with my kids. I'm saying, "Mmmhmmm, sure, Sarah, sounds good honey," and yet I have no idea what she's said to me because I'm busy thinking about the speech I'll give right after I receive my first Academy Award.
So I made a deal with myself a while ago - I could daydream, but I had to try to restrict it to moments when I had enough time to write my daydreams down. That way, at least I was accomplishing something (becoming a better writer? at least in theory?) at the same time that I was daydreaming. As a result, I've written a lot of stuff in the past year.
When I tell people that I write a lot of fiction, but I don't want to be published, they sometimes think I'm just being modest, or a chicken, but they're wrong. I don't want to publish THAT stuff. It's too personal, too real to me. I would never be able to take the criticism - the criticism of people and characters and things that feel real to me. I prefer for my daydreams to stay in my head or in my own private written space. That way, everything stays the way I want it. There are no editors telling me to change things, no people misunderstanding the motives of characters that, even in their faults, are dear to ME. Whether the writing is any good or not, I like reading the stuff I've written. And then writing more, and then reading again and then writing more. It makes me happy.
Anyway. That leads me to what happened this week...
The portable hard drive I keep all my writing on just died. The compact flash card inside it is corrupted and can't be repaired. I asked a tech guy at work to look at it, and when he told me it was dead, I could feel myself going pale. I felt like throwing up. Because I'm so paranoid about someone actually finding and reading it, I rarely backed it up to my computer (or even to FTP space - WHY didn't I do that?!), so most of the stuff that I've written in the last couple of years is gone. Gone.
I know I never meant to publish any of it, but it is a loss all the same. All of the characters that I loved, all of the stories I loved, literally thousands of pages of stuff - gone. Now I know how Jo felt, "crying in a passion of grief and anger," except that I have no Amy to blame.
"It seemed a small loss to others, but to Jo it was a dreadful calamity, and she felt that it never could be made up to her."
I know what you mean Jo. I know what you mean. R.I.P. little flash drive. R.I.P.