For twenty years I’ve had a recurring dream about a shallow pool of water inside a secret cave. In the dream, I’m under the assumption that this cave can only be reached by climbing a steep and hazardous trail. It’s getting dark, and I want to find the cave before nightfall. I’ve been there before (this is a recurring dream, after all), but I'm unsure of the path. I finally reach the top of a mountain only to see that some assholes have driven there from the other side. They’ve littered and destroyed vegetation, and I can only hope they don’t know about the cave. I find the entrance and crawl on my belly through a tight tunnel, then the cave opens up to reveal a shallow, pristine pool of clear, tranquil water.
I made it. I’m alone.
I always wake up and wonder about the meaning of the dream. I think some dreams are just a way to work through the day or week, but recurring dreams have a deeper meaning. I think the dream either represents death or writing. At first these seem totally opposite, but when you think about it they aren’t so different. Both are solitary journeys. We die alone, and the harsh truth is that we write alone. No amount of blogging or twittering or conferences or lunches can hide the fact that in the end we write alone. We climb the mountain, we pass the crap left by the people who took the shortcut, and we find that perfect pool of water. By ourselves.