writing

What Thriller Writers Can Learn From Horror

What Thriller Writers Can Learn From Horror

So since the title of this is “What can thriller writers learn from the horror genre?” I am going to focus on a thing that is REQUIRED in horror, for it to actually BE horror, but which is glossed over (or missing entirely) from far too many thrillers.

 

Now before I get to the meat of it, I want to say clearly: I’m NOT saying that thrillers aren’t as good as horror, or vice-versa. I’m NOT saying that all thrillers miss some imaginary mark. I’m NOT denigrating any author or any book. Just gotta front that because people tend to read things like “here’s something horror HAS to nail and which thrillers have a bit more leeway with” as “here’s something horror does right and thrillers don’t and also thriller readers suck and thriller writers are morons” etc. etc.

 

I have nothing but respect for both the thriller and horror tropes, and I run back and forth between the two in my own writing with gusto and a real appreciation for both.

 

All right. Caveating and hemming-and-hawing over. On to the meat:

 

There are a number of things horror HAS to do in order to work, to function AS horror. Of them, the one that is most useful when writing thrillers is this simple fact: horror has to matter.

 

Horror, at its core, is something that frightens us (the readers). It does this by putting us in someone’s shoes, and giving us as much (or as little) information as they have. Then, firmly planted in the path of the book (or story or movie or whatever) protag, the reader screams when the terror reveals itself. The terror is real in that moment, not just for the characters in the story, but for the audience.

 

Whenever you go to a horror movie, you’re sure to see a scene where the hero is backing away. The shot is tight, showing her face, the expression of fear, the knowledge that IT is out there, that IT wants her blood. She backs up a step. Another step… turns…

 

AND IT IS RIGHT BEHIND HER!

 

I often hear people talking about this “cheap trick” – as in, “Like we don’t know that there’s gonna be something behind her. What do those Hollywood guys think we are, morons?”

 

The people saying that miss the point. That moment isn’t about a “trick” – no one at the production company hinges their career on the fact that “this time we’ll get ’em with the ol’ ‘Closeup and then she turns and BLAMMO!’ trick, fellas!” No, what they’re doing with that tight shot, that closeup of her face, is PUTTING YOU RIGHT THERE WITH HER. The audience has no choice but to walk in the hero’s path, taking the same steps she takes, and suffering the same terror she suffers.

 

In horror – or at least the BEST horror – the audience must fear. For that to work, the audience must stand in the shoes of a character who fears as well. The character’s terror becomes ours (the audience’s) and voila! Horror!

 

Now here’s the fun part: fear is intensely personal. You get a bit woozy at the sight of blood, don’t you? Not me. I laugh at your weak stomach. Laugh, I say!

 

But you probably don’t freak out when you get in the ocean past your kneecaps. And I do. (Cue your laughter now, because revenge is a dish best served cold… and as a part of the ITW roundtable discussion.)

 

In sum, what terrifies you does NOT terrify me (necessarily). That’s WHY people who write horror novels or direct horror movies take such pains to keep everything in dark places, in extreme closeups: to hobble the audience; to shackle their experiences to those of the story’s characters.

 

Then, thus shackled, when the character runs breathlessly through the airplane-hangar-sized tool shed full of rusty pitchforks and idling chainsaws and dismembered body parts, so do we. When the character trips and falls over an unlikely root, we tumble to the ground and hurt ourselves as well. When the character screams, our own shrieks follow close behind.

 

The horror is real, because it matters to us. It matters to us because it matters to THEM, the characters. Without the twin steps of a) association by the audience with the characters, and b) something that is terrible in a specific and unique way TO those characters, horror cannot be achieved. The movie or book is a bust.

 

And that’s something that thrillers are more likely to miss: a uniquely personal tie between what is happening and the characters in the story. Thinking about the typical thriller series illustrates this problem: in the first book, the detective has to find the Big Bad, because the detective lost his father in a tragic combine accident, and now the police have come to him, stumped, because they can’t figure out who the newest serial killer is. The killer has been dubbed The Combiner by the press, because he chops people up in a combine and leaves them on the lawn of the various towns where the killings occur.

 

The detective resists taking the case. But he will. Because there’s that question: is this how his dad REALLY died? WAS his father’s death an accident… or was it early practice by a blossoming serial killer?

 

He gets deeper and deeper, the hunt moves faster and faster. NO! The killer didn’t murder his father. The killer IS HIS FATHER! (cue trumpets)

 

Fast-forward to book seventeen. The cops are stumped. A killer the press has dubbed The Retainer – so named because he wires his victims’ jaws shut and makes them watch old reruns of Everwood until their souls just give out – is on the loose. The detective resists the case… but he’ll come around. Because as was revealed in a fascinating flashback during the prologue, the detective’s favorite niece once had a best friend whose dog peed on a hydrant outside the local dentist’s office, and the dentist threw a retainer at the dog to get rid of it. Trauma for all.

 

So yeah… this time it’s personal.

 

Obviously, I’m saying a lot of the above tongue-in-cheek. But there’s some truth to it. I mean, you’ve cycled through all the protagonist’s most deep-seated fears in the first book. You caught the man who killed his father… and who WAS HIS FATHER! Book two: the rapist who came after his sister. Book three: the trilogy moment where you find out The Combiner WASN’T HIS FATHER AFTER ALL, and his REAL father is being held captive in a grain silo slowly being flooded as a result of the tornado that just hit, so our hero only has two hours to solve the mystery of where he is and who put him there! Book four: I dunno, something about his sister again? Book five: we’re definitely moving from family to friends at this point. Book eight: I think that one’s got something to do with the local grocer.

 

My hat is off to those thriller writers who manage to keep wringing painful memories out of their heroes, book after book after book, and so craft a story that MATTERS to the character. But it doesn’t always happen. Far too often, in fact, thrillers are thrilling only as a mental exercise of sorts: there’s nothing that matters to the detective, or the doctor, or the Everyman at the heart of the story. The thriller becomes more of a crossword puzzle: something to be solved, and the victory to be savored. But the suspense comes more in the form of “Can he/she (the hero) figure this out?” rather than in the nail-biting-knowledge that the stakes are simply victory on the one hand, and destruction on the other.

 

Horror MUST have those kinds of stakes. No one comes out of a horror movie raving about “the movie of the year where if the hero didn’t get away he was faced with the very real possibility of BEING SET BACK A DECADE IN HIS CAREER!” No. That is a FAILED horror movie, and it has failed from the start.

 

I’m not saying that a thriller has to have blood and guts, or even a life on the line to work. But the best thrillers DO remember the lesson that horror imparts: the story has to matter. It has to matter – deeply, profoundly, irrevocably matter – to the characters. It can’t be an interesting mental exercise, or even a question that will bring shame or unhappiness if not answered. It must be MORE.

 

A good, competent, fun thriller will take us on a roller coaster ride. A heart-pumping, blood-pounding, arms-in-the-air-and-screams-on-our-lips adventure that has us smiling as we get off because of the sheer exuberant madness of the experience.

 

A GREAT thriller takes us on that same roller coaster. And reminds us – subtly sometimes, overtly others – that somewhere, the roller coaster is on fire. That somewhere, the rivets are loosening. That if we ride the roller coaster just right, then we will pump our fists and shout for joy that WE WERE THERE… but that if we fail to do it, destruction will follow.

 

Thrillers must thrill. Of course. But there are different kinds of thrills. One is the the thrills-by-proxy we experience when someone tells us of an extreme event, an unusual occurrence. It could be anything from winning the lottery to the time they almost fell down the stairs right in front of the Girl/Boy Of Their Dreams.

 

Another kind of thrill comes when we witness someone escape a situation that could have ended in death or madness or damnation (the extremes of body, soul, and mind).

 

And the third kind of thrill – the best kind, and the ONLY kind acceptable in a good horror story – is the one where we witness that same situation… and forget we are merely the audience. We fall into the story, and become the characters, and the doom that looms is our own. Then, at the end, we feel our wet palms and totter unsteadily to the shelf, where we return our book. We pause. We breathe. We smile.

 

And we pull the next title in the series from the shelf. What has happened in the story happened to us. We survived. And a thrill like that is addictive. A thrill like THAT – one that, like all good horror, is based in things that MATTER to us – is one we will pay dearly and eagerly to enjoy.

 

This article originally appeared as part of an online roundtable discussion for the International Thriller Writers website.

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Writing Advice
Storytelling on Social Media – a Parable of Tanks and Rollerskates

Storytelling on Social Media – a Parable of Tanks and Rollerskates

What to write about… what to write about…

This is the question I face when writing this article, or starting a book, or anything else. What do I write about? What do I DO?

So I thought I’d write about that process – and about something that so few of us think about: the power of our words. As writers, we all kinda-sorta-maybe know that. We know that words matter, but many (most? all?) of us think about them in terms of, “I have a story. The story matters. People will like it. People will buy it and I will have a pool of golden duccats that would be the envy of Scrooge McDuck.”

To be sure, I think most people do have that kind of story in them. The trick is finding it, bringing it out, putting it down, and getting the word out (and those are a whole SERIES of blog posts/articles/book, so I won’t try here).

My dad once said (wisely) that talking about important things on social media is like trying to teach rocket science using bumper stickers. To which I would add: with the only difference that we would all agree that the latter is insane.

But not the former. We talk about “important” things all the time, never minding that they a) usually AREN’T that important in the grand scheme of things (and if you think they are, I’d invite you to tell me what you Tweeted last Tuesday), and b) the most important things merit our greatest care and attention.

I’m not telling people here to stop social media. I’m not encouraging silence. I’m saying that we live in a time where communication is possible on a greater scale than would have been imaginable even twenty years ago. I’m saying that this means words are flying around constantly.

And words, I am fond of saying, are the single greatest inhibitor of communication ever invented.

Before words, it was easy. You either hated or feared a person – in which case you ran away and/or beat them with your club made of T-rex femur – or you loved them, in which case you ran TOWARD them and shared your T-rex meat and/or went to the nearest cave to make sweet caveperson love.

Now, though… so many words. So much complicatednessosity. Even that last word is needlessly complicateder than it has to be. But I’m leaving it. BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT.

Ultimately, we created words that allowed us to exercise the single greatest power in human history: the power to tell stories. That’s the thing that differentiates us from every other creature, because there’s no other creature capable of telling Beowulf, or creating a sonnet, or writing out blueprints or mathematical equations (which are how science tells ITS most important stories).

We are creatures of stories, you and I. We meet, we converse, we share… and, fundamentally, we spend much of our time misunderstanding.

That’s one of the pitfalls of being a writer: you become convinced that not only are you telling a good story, but that the people for whom you write are hearing the same story you intended to write. This is rarely the case, though, because we all bring ourselves to the stories we hear. The audience is as much a part of the finished product as is the “original” storyteller.

This is even more pronounced on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it. A smiley-face or heart means something vastly different to me than it does to you. Sure, they mean “happy” or “love,” but those words themselves are two upon which oceans of writers have expended infinite words, so obviously there’s a lot of wiggle room there.

“Don’t just write a short story. Start out with an epic, because you gotta build to a short story.” I said that once in jest/not-jest, and there’s truth in it. Writing something short that matters, that’s punchy and interesting… it’s hard. Not least of all because, again, the chances of the audience reading the interesting, cool, deep thing you tried to write is infinitesimally small. They’re going to read the words, but their lives loom larger when the picture is smaller. They’ll bring more of themselves to a short story than they would to a novel, because the author of a short story necessarily leaves more blanks for the audience to fill in. An eight-book epic spanning twenty years of a family’s lives, well, that’s something where the author gets to put a pretty sturdy cage around what he intends, and keep prying audience members from messing with it too much. But a twenty-page short story? A five-hundred word flash fiction piece? Those are really written by the author, interpreted by the audience, and the interpretation disseminated to the masses.

So what, then, a Tweet? A line under an Instagram picture.

Again, this isn’t to condemn those forums. This isn’t to tell people to stay away. But as a writer, I’ve seen far too many times where I thought I was telling one story, and ended up telling one completely differently. I take great care now not just to tell the story, but to make it as close to impossible for the reader to misinterpret it as I can… and I still only succeed a fraction of the time.

Our words are magical. Our words are lovely. They are the brightest of suns. But they also burn, they cut, they corrode. So powerful, and it behooves us to use them wisely and well. Our society has little place or use for hermits; we interact with each other and expect others to contribute to our lives just as we contribute to theirs. But we must remember: we are creatures not of concepts, but of stories. Every word we say, or write, or type, is part of a story that goes into the world, and changes it a bit. We bear every bit as much of a responsibility to do our best to change the world in a good way with every word as we do the responsibility of leaving a world behind that has food and air and water for our kids. But though most of us wouldn’t blow up a dirty bomb in a mall amongst thousands of strangers, we think far too little of lobbing potentially dangerous words into the atmosphere of social media. Then we shrug and say, “Hey, I’m being honest,” or, “Hey, that needed to be said,” or “Hey, I’ve always stood up for what I believed,” without ever asking the more important questions: how does that honesty benefit the world? Did it “need” to be said, or did I just really really wanna say it? And in standing up for what I believed, did I help others, did I harm them, or did I care less about that than I did about just getting something off my chest?

The world is magical. It’s so full of stories, so full of words. We talk, we smile, we laugh, we play. I love all those things – they make me smile myself, and (selfishly) I enjoy stealing others’ stories so I can reshape them in my own image.

But we also stand up and tell people things “for their own good” without getting to know them. We condemn groups as a whole without regard for whether that will actually change their minds or lead to any kind of change. We spit into the wind, because we are ANGRY, DAMMIT, and then are shocked when the wind changes and the person who gets the most spittle on their cheek is not the intended victim, but we ourselves.

Words are important – and there are definitely those that must be said. But we have to be careful. We have to think.

We are storytellers. That is what it is to be human: to experience things, then to take those experiences and boil them down into stories we can tell to (hopefully) make our future experiences and the future experiences of others into something more meaningful and pleasing. But as storytellers, as the most powerful of creatures, we also bear the tremendous responsibility of using that power wisely. If Superman went out and murdered someone – even just once – we would toss him out as our superhero. I’m not talking “I got into some kryptonite and did something over which I had no control,” I’m talking about a day where Supes just gets tired of it all, throws up his hands, and heat visions his frickin’ neighbor who constantly plays house mixes with full bass to death. At that point, we are done with him. He is no longer not a hero, he is forever unredeemable.

But we can lose control. We can post in the moment, because IT MUST BE SAID IT MUST BE SAID NOW IT MUST BE SAID THIS WAY BECAUSE I FEEL IT MUST BE SO.

I am a storyteller. I am a human. So are you, those of you who read this. So let us tell good stories. Let us tell kind ones. Sometimes kindness is painful (ask any child who just had a tetanus shot or got a cavity filled what he or she thought of it). But kindness is never unthinking, or motivated by my feelings of the moment – it is motivated by plans that will benefit someone’s future.

The best stories are these. Whenever someone asks me to write an article or a guest post, and I always try to think of something useful to write. There’s story tips, there’s craft how-tos. I can talk about making a relatable villain, or dealing with suspension of disbelief for a zombie story. All that’s important, but all it boils down to at its base is the fact that the story that matters deserves a well-crafted vehicle.

So craft your own vehicles well. And remember that Twitter is just as much a storytelling venue as is Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Remember perhaps as well that when we use social media as a vehicle for our stories, it’s not a rollerskate; as often as not it’s a tank with a single devastating shot. Let us take care to shoot only things we’ve really thought about, and really aimed for; collateral damage is horrid in war, but for some reason it deserves no notice when I’m posting on “my” wall – a wall of “mine” that is bought and paid for and designed and maintained by other people without any input on my part, which is the strangest definition of “mine” I have ever heard.

And maybe we should sometimes not shoot at all. Perhaps we should get out of the tank, and take a walk. That’s how we actually meet people with whom we’d like to share our T-rex meat and make sweet caveperson love.

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Life Advice, MbC Must-read

I guess I’m not a writer

Readers of my articles will know that as a rule I tend to eschew profanity. Not judging those who use it, just it is not part of my personal style.

This article is going to use several Family-unfriendly words. Be warned.

I recently read a Facebook post encouraging someone to write a story that the author was worried might offend people. The advice boiled down to, “Write what you want, follow the story wherever it goes, and never worry about offending people. Anyone offended has the problem, not you.”

This is unmitigated horseshit.

The greatest, most important power a writer has is to create communities. Writing — indeed, any artistic form —IS  emotive; one of its strengths is to create emotion where none existed before, or to strengthen pre-existing emotions. But that is not its primary purpose; it is a tool through which its purposes are achieved.

Writers wield the extraordinary power to tell stories which (when done correctly)  weave themselves into the DNA of our psyches. They become a part of us in a way no less real than our eye color, or the shapes of our cheekbones… and in a way that is far more influential in our lives then a great many chromosomal markers.

Storytelling is the oldest non-biological practice in which humans have engaged. The religious speak of the origins of our species as outlined in holy writ. From a scientific standpoint, the earliest examples of humanity survived and thrived not because of their hunting prowess or their physical attributes — people are quite clumsy and weak compared to other apex predators — but because they could tell stories of where to find food, how to build weapons, and the like.

Eventually those stories grew to include great questions — where does lightning come from? Why does this animal attack us? Where did the world come from? And from those questions grew mythologies, creation stories, and more. Stories that did more than influence cultures, they CREATED them.

Storytelling is, without doubt, the greatest human power.

Even today, the greatest decisions are made based on stories: we should attack such-and-such country because we are Good and they are Evil. We marry this person instead of that because this person has stories similar to our own, or that complement our own in ways we deem important. We send a child to a particular college, because it has an important place in our own story, and we will wish that story to live on in our children.

The greatest power we wield. Bar none. And to quote the great poet-philosopher, Uncle Ben: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Writers MUST think about what the effect of their stories will be.

And, like it or not, that includes questions of whether or not others will be offended. If for no other reason then because an offended person is less likely to listen to our stories, and certainly less likely to believe them. Alienating a person literally means we make of them The Other — the outsider; the one we fear and, if we feel threatened enough to buy them, the one we kill or who will try to kill us.

More than that strictly pragmatic consideration, however, is this: writers are storytellers — every last one of them, for what it’s writing if not a means to convey information: the important stories we wish to have passed around, and those most likely to outlive us?

And again, the greatest power of the storyteller is to create community, which means they CREATE THE WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE.

It then behooves us to consider every possible result of the stories we tell. Sometimes offending is a necessary part of telling a story… but that should not happen as an unthinking or unintended outcome, rather as a predetermined part of our purpose in telling the story. It is not nearly that we should consider whether others will be offended, it is that we MUST do so. Because that and other results, again, forge the path not only of our world, but that of others. To say we deserve to hold that power without considering its effects has the moral equivalency of saying anyone with the physical ability to hold a gun deserves to pull the trigger at any time, on any whim, to any effect.

Actually, the above comparison is wrong. It is a far MORE reckless, negligent act to toss out stories without considering the result or the effect on other people. Because ultimately, if I go around shooting a gun, I WILL run out of bullets. I WILL only be able to hurt or kill a certain number of people. And that number is relatively small compared to the potential effect of a story loosed.

A story loosed can hurt or kill MILLIONS. Anyone who doubts this need only look at history, filled with powerful men and women who slaughtered millions in pursuit of whatever mad story they peddled. “All Jews are evil, and they caused the damage we suffer here in Germany.“ “Those people are all enemies of the state, and to let them live will result in our way of life disappearing.“ “That religion is full of heathen, evil creatures who deserve death because they refuse to acknowledge the power of our God.”

A story loosed could destroy all of us: “If we don’t nuke them, they will do it to us, or perhaps they wouldn’t, but they deserve it” (the words “they deserve it” always carry with them and implicit story meant to validate our assessment of their punishment).

If your only intention in writing a story is to write it, and you burn it immediately after and never tell that story again, then you have much greater support for your claim that the offensiveness or other effects of that story need not be considered — though even then I would argue that it’s a reckless behavior. Cemeteries are full of the bodies of those who told horrible stories about themselves until the only rational response was to destroy the life those stories taught had no value or was a blight upon the earth.

Whenever I hear someone who says, “I never consider what this story will do; it is my art, and I follow my art for its own sake,” I cannot help but think that that is someone who either does not know or understand how powerful they are, or who simply is an asshole.

And yes, I use that last word purposefully. I use it knowing its possible offensiveness, and deeming that offensiveness necessary for the purpose of the story I here tell. Which purpose is NOT  to offend for its own sake… but the fact is that anyone who blindly holds to their “principles” (artistic or otherwise) without considering its resultant effects is a zealot. And such a person, willing to inflict harm because of no better reason then their own desire and determined never to control themselves, is someone whom I believe should be clearly labeled as something anathematic, so that others will know to avoid a rabid wolf in their midst.

Writers can change the world. We do that with infinite possible stories. No tool is off-limits, but some outcomes hurt the world, and should be avoided.

To anyone who says, “Someone who doesn’t follow their art for its own sake isn’t a real writer,” (something that I hear often in conjunction with the “follow your story” idiocy), I guess I am not a real writer. Which will probably come as a shock to the hundreds of thousands of people who have read my books and articles, seen the movies I have written, or who voted to make me a finalist or semi-finalist or the like in things like the Nicholl Fellowship (arguably the most elite screen writing competition in the world) or the Bram Stoker Award.

And if being a “writer” means sacrificing my responsibility to leave the world a better place than it was when I entered it, then I am and always will be PROUD to not be a writer.

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Life Advice, MbC Must-read, Writing Advice

Writing is Magic

I’ve been scarce on social media (including this site) as of late… building up my identity as a Western Romance writer has been much more time-consuming than I thought it would be. Which is probably funny for most people, considering the assumption of most is that I already have at LEAST seven or eight other personalities rolling around in my little brain, so what’s one more?

 

I thought it would be tough to shift to that from a position in the “darker arts” of horror and other spec-fic. But it turns out I’m a sappy romantic at heart. Or maybe not… I just got told for the tenth time that my writing reminds folks of The Man From Snowy River and its sequel…

 

And oh, boy, will I take that thankfully. Because I can remember standing up and CHEERING as a young kid when I first saw The Return Of The Man From Snowy River. And remembering that, I also remembered how AWESOME it was when the hero of that movie faced folks down in Old West Tyme Australia with a FRICKIN’ BULLWHIP.

 

And guess what the hero in my first Western Romance has instead of a gun?

 

All this goes to show you how important stories are. They become more than entertainment, they become the stuff of our lives… part of our laughs, our cries, our shouts of triumph and tears of despair. They meld themselves to our DNA, and make us into new – hopefully better – people.

 

To the writers out there: remember that. The first job of a storymaker was to create community. To turn Many into One, and to give that One the tools to imagine marvelous things… and then turn those marvels into reality. You now hold that mantle, and I always plead that you will wield your powers in ways that make the world better, more beautiful, more MAGICAL.

 

To the readers out there: remember that you change every time you read. You cannot choose otherwise. But you CAN choose the works you patronize, the people you support with your time and money. Not all story has to have a happy ending – indeed, some of the best tales are cautionary ones, and you can’t caution anyone without showing the danger that threatens – but they should all MAKE the world a happier place overall. They should bring smiles, either in the moment of reading, or in the moment of satisfaction when the reader (you, me, and so many others) realizes there are things that are WRONG out there… and then fixes them.

 

Write. Read. Live.

 

And make that life magical.

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Life Advice, Writing Advice

Hope is a Dream, a Time Asleep…

After my recent retirement announcement, a few people have stated that my situation is discouraging, given that they have always hoped to make writing a career and here’s a guy (me) who HAD it as a career, but couldn’t hold onto it. A few have lost hope in their own talent, their own futures. Here’s what I said to one of them, and what I now say to ALL who feel this way:

 

Don’t lose that hope. This kind of “turn” hits almost every writer out there, successful or not. Some of them have banked enough millions that it just doesn’t matter – who, for instance, believes that Dan “DaVinci Code” Brown is going to have a writing career in ten years… or that he’ll even notice the money not flowing in any more. The rest of them, when they have downturns, work as pizza guys or notary publics or any of a thousand other things. And that’s okay, too!

 

Don’t hope to be a pro writer and to have all be roses and sunshine forever. You want to be a pro, then WORK YOUR ASS OFF FOR THAT. Then, when it happens (and I have no doubt you WILL make it happen), just know that this life, this creative world… it’s all based on dreams. And the one thing that every dream has in common: they all end eventually. And that’s not a bad thing, because “real life” is what supports and informs the dream, and what makes it worth going to again and again. And the dreams are scary, fun, thrilling, horrible, ugly, beautiful, hateful, and lovely… which means they are, in fact, just one more facet OF that real life.

 

Live. Live your best, and you will find your dream, whatever it is. And then, having found it, you may realize that your dream is not the perfect thing you thought it would be, and that real life – the waking world – is also a pretty neat place.

 

And, having experienced both, you will be all the wiser, all the stronger, all the better for it. Having experienced both, you will be able to enjoy either, and excel within the bounds of whichever reality in which you find yourself.

 

Posted by mbc@writteninsomnia.com in Life Advice