Part of being creative for me means having an overactive imagination. When I was a child I was terrified of the dark. I hated horror movies, because the images stuck with me, and I believed Michael Meyers would spring from the bushes to kill me or that Jaws would erupt from the drain in the local swimming pool. As an adult, I watched the Blair Witch Project and was chilled to the core. Part of my overactive imagination also involves having vivid dreams, in color, where I can feel textures and smell odors.
Recently my best friend and I were at a scrap-booking retreat sharing stories about people who’d pissed us off, especially during pregnancy and post-partum depression, and how we’d contemplated murder. While we laughed, “Stacy” sorted the piles of photos of her pale-haired, hazel-eyed son who was born prematurely. I was embellishing a page on my scrapbook of my father the cobbler, who had thick brown hair and a large nose, like an Italian Dustin Hoffman.
That evening, I dreamt I was a serial killer. There was no rhyme or reason to my killing, and each murder was clean and quick. I propped the dead body in a wheelchair and hid them in a bathroom stall. (The retreat was at an old ski lodge). My last kill was none other than Dustin Hoffman. (For argument’s sake, let’s ignore the Freudian implications.)
So far, I had not been caught, and I was trying to pin the murders on a squeaky clean friend. In the dream, I was suddenly back at my house with the friend and no evidence to convict him. Cops were on their way, and I knew I was going to jail.
My two daughters were in the other room. My son was at his father’s house. My lab/pit bull was nowhere to be found. I turned to my Black lab/newfie Gus and said, “Momma has to go away for a long time, Gussy.” I patted down his ears. “I love you.”
When I woke at the lodge the next morning, I told Stacy about my dream. Then I told her sister and her mother and our friends. Everyone shook their heads. I said, “It has to be all that talk about murder and the barrage of photos of my father.” But what got me was my going to Gus–the first dog I’ve ever owned. Not my two daughters. It must be love.