Monday, August 13, 2012
I will steal your dreams
Usually the story is kindled by an image, and I have gotten used to having pictures haunt me until I figure out how to tell their stories. (I have been wanting to tell a ghost story inspired by wreckage from the tsunami floating ashore on the West Coast ever since seeing the first wave of that salt-crusted, rust-corroded flotsam.)
Tonight though, a friend told me a dream he's been having after taking heavy-duty pain meds. It was a horrifying story that made my scalp prickle. And he'd hardly finished telling me when a story flashed into my head--complete and entire.
Two hours later I'd finished writing it down, and had edited and proofed it.
I'm going to reread it tomorrow and then send it out into the world.
I told my friend I was doing this because it isn't nice to steal someone's dream and just ... re-use it for your own purposes.
And although what I have written is only about 25 percent inspired by his account of his nightmare, the broad outline of the tale is his.
He never would have written it.
And it was just too good a story to waste.
Like most writers, I use bits and pieces of my own life in my stories. I mine my memories and comb through my past, and I did not experience those memories in isolation, or live that past alone. So sometimes, there are bits and pieces of other people's lives in my stories.
I change things to protect the innocent and guilty alike.
But still there are traces of reality that can be used like forensic evidence to identify the source of a story if someone is interested enough.
I can't be the only one who does this.