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I had a dream about writing the other night that was very peculiar. There was a boy sitting at a table in a diner in what appeared to be the nineteenth century. He was a writer. He chose to write about what he wanted to be the most – an outlaw. He described becoming a police officer, only to acquire a gun so he could become said outlaw. I say gun, but in my dream it was described as some sort of glass tube, which in my dream version of the nineteenth century I knew to be a predecessor to the gun. His plot and setting for this story were laid out in a glass tank in front of him at his table (looked like a fish aquarium). This was normal to me in my dream as well. He spoke of his story aloud and an old man at a table behind him overheard. He too was a writer and chose to give the boy some advice. He walked over to the boy’s table and pointed out that his plot and setting were too constrained, gesturing towards the glass tank. The two argued for a bit, and then the man decided to teach the boy a lesson in writing. He pulled out a small model of a lighthouse and placed it in the tank. He told the boy to imagine entering this lighthouse. He was more or less asking him to create a story based on entering said lighthouse. The boy obliged and began imagining it.
I then became the boy. The man and I were then standing in the lighthouse. He showed me around, after which I realized that it was the setting of the man’s worst nightmare. He told me that at the main entrance there was a large, ghostly knife that if unsheathed would kill the person whom unsheathed it. He was very nervous just talking about it. In any case, I took the man’s advice and tried to come up with a story based on the lighthouse.
I thought of different ideas, such as - what if a person awoke in this lighthouse and there were no windows? What if there were only a single glass pane at the main entrance where they could see nothing but water, as if the lighthouse were at the bottom of the ocean? As these ideas raced through my mind, the man showed me to the top of the lighthouse which for whatever reason lead to outside. I could see beautiful scenery – trees, the white house (odd, I know), and a footpath. I told the man about my ideas for the story, but he had no interest in it. He simply asked why I couldn’t just explore that world with him – almost as if he didn’t want to be alone and needed a friend. I brushed this off and told him I wanted to focus on the story. I told him that this exit leading outdoors was the only thing that wouldn’t fit into the plot (as the lighthouse would be inescapable in my story). Soon after this, I woke up.
What I gather from the dream was that the man was trying to tell the boy not to write about what he had always wanted to be, but to instead write about what he feared the most. Later on, the man simply wanted a friend to accompany him in his own nightmare. This dream was very detailed and amusingly bizarre, to say the least. Perhaps I will write a story based on the lighthouse after all, just as the man requested.