As an honest disclosure, when I’m reading a book and there is a section describing a dream (I believe there was such a section in "The Dogs of Babel," which just so happens to be the last book I read), I usually skip over it. But in my own life, I many times find my dreams more interesting than thing I make up while awake. Perhaps the difference is the visceral experience of having and living the dream, of creating something without even trying - without even consciously thinking. Reading about someone else’s dream, even in a story where you have no doubt been introduced to the characters in the dream, is a bit like reading a fan fiction from a series you’ve never seen. Most people who write fan fiction have a deep understanding, or at least awareness, of the world they are creating in, and so they don’t have to go into detail about “Frodo the Hobbit looks like this - he lives here - bla, bla, bla, back story” (and no, I have not been reading LOTR fan fic!) By diving right in, a lot of time is saved, but for those on the outside (of mind or series), it come off at times as confusing or boring.ANYWAY, that said, here is my dream:
“My two younger sisters and I have been kidnapped by the Japanese mafia, but we are being held in England. We start out at a summer camp, with a lake and cabins and a long administration building. It’s cold; not a time of year for camping. I believe we just stumbled upon the camp and were captured. Both of my sisters have cell phones, and I have a backpack with numerous items in it, but we are under close watch and can’t really use anything to signal others as to our plight, or lead them to where we are. I achieve writing a note without being seen, and there is a magazine lying nearby with a return label with the address of the camp. I stick this to my note.
My youngest sister tries to call out silently with her phone. We decide that our parents have gone to the police, but they don’t know where we are. It is my thought to inform our would-be rescuers of our location by letting them know of a time we will phone out and then they can find where we are via the cell phone signal. I don’t know why I thought we had to set up a time - I think I was thinking of the old way in the movies and on TV when the police have to keep the person on the line for a certain amount of time to triangulate their position. I don’t think it works that way with cell phones, but oh well.
Then we are moved to a library of all places. This is actually the best thing that could happen. Not only do we pass a mailbox on our way in (so that I could mail my note), but there is free internet access at the library. First of all, though, is the fact that I don’t have and British postal stamps. I start thinking that I could just write on there “Deliver to Scotland Yard,” but would it actually get there? Would they think I was just playing with them? I find a newspaper article about our kidnapping and think about making a copy and stapling it to the note. I think about stapling a British pound to the note! Then I decide that the mail will take too long.
It is difficult, but eventually I screw up enough courage to sneak onto the other side of the librarian’s terminal to send an email. I’m pretty sure it won’t be traced by the mafia, but just to be sure, I try to think of a code that I could send my parents and the police that will lead them to us. Eventually (and this has to be one of the cleverest things I’ve ever come up with without thinking), I decide to stick my note in a book at the library, and send a clue to my mom to lead her to it. I think about it long and hard, because I know I will only have a small amount of time to write. The clue I come up with is, “it’s in the book you read to me as a kid, but you had to borrow from Jean.” Then I have to sneak the note into the book without being seen.
So - what is the book? I sure hope mom would know - Linnets and Valerians
by Elizabeth Goudge.