Before you read this post, listen to this song (or at least the first minute or so):
Whenever I hear this song, I get this vivid feeling that it belongs to a story I’ve yet to write. That feeling comes through unsure, like a voice crackling through an old radio. I see a girl. She’s blonde, slight, and she’s sad. She’s looking out a window as sunlight pours through the lace of dirt and grime. I know she’s waiting for someone, or missing someone, but I’m not sure who.
I know there’s more, I can sense it in that split-second image, like there are conflicts and emotions on the outer edge that I can’t yet see. And I want to see. I want to see so badly.
I’ve talked about sensory triggers before, from a character’s perspective, but those were tied to memories. This girl is completely made up. So why do I feel so strongly about her?
Sometimes I wonder if writers experience the world differently than others. I’m not trying to sound better than non-writers (oh no, we writers are crazy, we are not better in any way!). It’s simply introspection on what it means to be a writer.
Whenever I’m on the beach, and it’s windy, and the waves are crashing against the shore, I’m reminded of this reoccurring dream of mine that goes like this:
I’m running down the street. It’s pouring. I catch flashes of the ocean to my right in the alleys between houses. I know where I’m going. I need to hurry. Hurry. Hurry before he leaves.
I reach my destination---a house on the ocean with cornflower blue siding and crisp white trim---and push through the front door. I see him in the living room in full military uniform, a beret in his hands. He looks at me. Regret and sadness pinch at the corners of his eyes and I want to yell, Why didn’t you tell me you were being deployed? But I’m just glad I caught him before he left.
His name is Jordan. And still to this day I miss him, this boy I’ve never met, who deployed for some nameless war and never came back to dream-me.
There is a story there. My emotions are so strongly tied to that dream that just being near a stormy beach makes me sad. Do non-writers ever feel this way? And if they do, do they ignore it? Discard the feelings as insignificant because they were dream emotions?
I have no thoughtful or provoking conclusion to this post. I wish I did. I merely wanted to examine this sort of thing, whatever it is, and see if there were other writers out there with similar experiences.