You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.
My name is Dreamer.
Oh, sorry, that’s inaccurate. Hold on…
My username is Dreamer.
That looks much better. Honestly, I would have to have pretty crazy parents for my name to be “Dreamer,” wouldn’t I?
Yes, they would be patients from a lunatic asylum. My parents and Dreamer (a close friend of my dad’s, named such because of his tendency to recite every dream he had ever had since birth) escaped after a terrible fire broke out. The sun rose to find three patients cowering against the asylum’s high wooden gates as the flames licked at their feet.
The fire seemed ravenous, as though devouring the entire east wing was not enough to satisfy its enormous appetite. The leaping inferno closed in on the three figures.
At that moment, when death was almost welcome, the gates gave a mighty shudder and collapsed from the blistering heat. My father uttered a grateful cry and stumbled out of the fire’s reach, my mother close behind.
Suddenly, they heard a terrible scream. They turned and saw that Dreamer had not followed them. The short, balding man was engulfed by the flames. My father started forward, but then stopped. He knew the fire would not give up its prey so easily.
My mother called his name softly, and they turned and began to walk away from the terrible scene, their hearts heavy with horror. Dreamer’s screams followed them for miles.
When I was born, my mother expressed her determination to forever remember their dear friend.
“She’s perfect,” she said, gazing down at me with an intent expression.
My father nodded his assent.
“She’s Dreamer,” my mother said, and that was the end of it.
(Note: The above story is completely false and has absolutely no basis in reality. My parents are perfectly sane people. And even if they aren’t, they never had a friend named Dreamer.)
At this point, you’ve probably guessed why I chose Dreamer as my username.
My mind is a bit like a vacuum cleaner. Anything I see or hear is immediately snatched up and turned into story material.
Here’s an example of my thought process during the bus ride to school:
Hmm. There’s a guy out the window who has this determined look on his face. He looks like his name might be George. Wow, those are very bushy eyebrows!
Those are the eyebrows of a serial killer.
George is probably heading over to his elderly uncle’s house to murder him right now. Last night, George convinced him to sign his entire fortune over to his nephew in the event of his death. He’s been working on softening his uncle up with careful flattery and extravagant gifts for over a year. Now his efforts will finally bear fruit.
He has it all planned out. His uncle will be in the kitchen at this time of day, drinking a cup of tea. George will open the front door with the spare key his uncle once lent him, being careful not to step on that creaky spot on the left. The old man never puts on his hearing aids this early, so George should be safe…
Here’s the same scenario in the mind of the average person:
Look, a guy out the window with seriously bushy eyebrows. Funny!
It’s kind of fun, coming up with a story for every person, store, or car I happen to pass. The only problem is that, after coming up with this fantastic story in the space of ten seconds, I’m hit with the tremendous urge to write it down and record it for posterity.
This is usually impossible, for several reasons:
1) I am (fill in one of the following): on the bus / walking / in middle of davening / in the ice cream store with my friends / in any situation in which it is highly impractical for me to pull out a piece of paper and a pen and commence scribbling for a half-hour.
2) As I type very quickly (97 words per minute) and write infuriatingly slowly, I generally prefer to type up my stories on my computer. This is not very practical (see reason 1 for elaboration).
3) There isn’t enough time to write them all down. By the time I write the first ten words of one story, I’ve thought of five new ones.
4) Honestly, if I would’ve saved every story I ever imagined, I would have long ago suffered death by drowning in a sea of paper/electronic files.
Of course, this talent of mine can sometimes feel like a curse. I’m so melodramatic it scares even me sometimes (I’ve described people as having “a sprinkle of freckles” and “brown eyes with specks of gold”).
If you ever have the very great privilege of having a conversation with me, you’ll also notice that sometimes, as you speak, my eyes will glass over and get that faraway look that means I’m totally not listening to you and am somewhere very, very far away.
So I guess the punch line is that dreaming is great in convenient times and locations. But I’ve found that there really is no such thing as a convenient time or place, and I’ve been searching for over seventeen years. If you find one, please let me know!
Until then, I’ll just keep on dreaming.
(Have I mentioned my username is Dreamer?)
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