I made choices, lots of choices, but it was the dream that was random. I’m talking about a real, actual, sleeping-in-my-bed-goodnight-world, dream. Many things led me to here, right now, point A to point B, but the dream was the beginning, the turning point; and what followed, caused me to splinter into several pieces.
Splinter. Crack. Splice.
As I gathered up the shavings, starting that fateful summer, several doors began to open, doors I thought I had sealed off with cement long ago. Wrong. They opened, unravelling me. The most disconcerting and significant door, the one with the words — WRITER — emblazed across it, opened wide and shined a hard-to-miss spotlight on the path leading me back to me.
Sometimes I wonder, if I hadn’t had that particular dream, would I still have decided to write again? Would I have found me? God, I hope so, but it would not have been the same. It could not have been the same.
The unreasonableness of it all became the reason.
In 2014, a man I never met became my muse. I began writing my novel with the familiar stranger as my muse, and he was a man I did not choose — not consciously. I woke up one morning, knowing the man had been a part of my early morning dream. That dream. The random, unraveling, splintering dream. I recognized the man even though he was a hazy outline, as people often are in slumber-land.
Not clear, but clear. Him. An actor.
I only knew of him as an actor anyway, but that was all about to change. Everything about my life was about to change. The dream was a dream I cannot even recall today, but he was a part of it, and I built on whatever wild emotions I felt that morning, imagining an amazing story inside my head. I told the story to myself over and over without even realizing it was a story, without even realizing I had the makings of a book, and I continued to embellish upon that story inside my head for months, utilizing the outward appearance of the familiar man. He helped my character to come alive, and in the process, I came alive.
The beginning of the splintering, the day everything really changed, was the day the story burst from my heart and bled onto the page. A digital page. I opened the notepad on my iPhone and wrote. Finger-typed. I couldn’t stop writing, and I wondered why I had ever stopped.
I knew why.
I had always written, but I wasn’t a writer. Who me? Not me. Published clips, yes. Poetry, check. Essays, yes. A writer? No, no, no. And so, one day, a long time ago, I stopped. Fifteen some odd years ago:
I. Stopped. Writing.
I had two kids. I stopped. I wrote about the kids in a journal, but I stopped pursuing writing with a passion — my passion. I gave up, and deep down I knew the reason.
It’s ugly little head held me back. Fear ruled.
It became the easy route.
I was raised with fear, told as a child I had to worry, over-worry, unhealthy worry, about someone wanting to kidnap me and take me away from my family, taught to fear the end of the world was near, always on the brink, led by example to fear people were judging me, and it turns out some people were judging me and are judging me. And ultimately, when I began my novel(s), I feared my good girl Christian conscience wouldn’t allow me to write. It wouldn’t allow me to take time away from my family, to do something selfishly.
Just. For. Me.
I initially held back because the story had to be told completely, in every way the characters dictated to me that I write, (awful little buggers.) I had to use language and actions I may not personally choose to do or speak, things others may find offensive. I had to speak the truth of those imaginary beings, and in the process, I spoke my own truth.
I discovered the me I had forgotten.
Fear gradually began to fall away. Scales dropped from my eyes. I began to write the scenes and people I saw in my mind, including the image of the man from my dream.
I spent the summer of 2014 writing and crying and heaving and sighing. I struggled. It wasn’t easy. It was difficult because I feared judgment, not just the normal judgment that comes with the territory of being a writer, but I was afraid because the very words I had to write, the story I had to tell, would entertain ideas and actions I had been taught to shame. I wrote about love and heartache and sex. Gasp! I wrote about sex. My body literally trembled as I typed on many occasions. I cried and cried. I sobbed. I released. I set the girl free who was imprisoned inside of me.
I became me.
And that man, my muse, he is real and alive. He is his own man, with his own life, and unbeknownst to him, he is part of my journey. He is a part of the splintering and the healing. I Googled him that summer, curious to see what he was up to, where he had been. I hadn’t seen him in a movie since I couldn’t remember when. I secretly hoped he would disappoint me, but instead he intrigued me. I learned he is a writer and an artist and a unique human being. He wasn’t at all what I expected. Nevertheless, my subconscious believed something about him I had seen on the movie screen, after all it chose him for a dream. Silly. Crazy. Nuts. Maybe. But still, he was solidified in there, in my mind, waiting. Ha, ha. Poor guy.
Well, in discovering parts of that man he chooses to share, parts perhaps hidden from his characters on the big screen, I continued to discover me. I was inspired. I am inspired by his faith. The man is a Christian, sticking to his beliefs even when it’s unpopular to do so, when it’s frowned upon, and even when he is teased or ridiculed. I am inspired by the art he creates and shares with his fans. The art touched my heart.
The man, his faith and his art reminded me we are all connected.
I believe we are all connected on this planet, and the comfort his art provided came into my life at just the right time. I connected to the vibes and the colors and the emotion with which he painted. I connected to the courage I felt he must possess, sharing his creativity with strangers. It inspired me to stop being afraid to share my own creativity.
Hey there lady, yeah you, YOU have value too. Me.
I do have value. I do, and still, it took me months to get to that place. Months of writing. Months of crying. Months of my husband holding my hand and telling me I wasn’t crazy, telling me everything happens for a reason.
I need to write.
I need to share.
The random beginning was because of a dream, but the writing was finally a choice, a decision.
It could no longer be hidden beneath my forgotten.
I’m excited. I finally, at the time of writing this essay, ordered my very own piece of art the mysterious writer, actor, father, artist created, and I’m waiting for it to come in the mail. I’m excited! Each day, my first set of novels, a romantic trilogy, are on their way to being finished. I’m writing essays again, sharing my crazy, blasted feelings.
That is what is amazing. That is the life … altering … decision. I am writing. If you had asked me years ago if I was a writer, I would have said no, even though I was always a writer. I know, I said it before, but it bears repeating:
I would have said no.
Today, I continue to work on owning the title — WRITER. I work on owning myself. Who I am, what I have to say, who I have to be. I work on it every day. And when I finally receive that piece of art, yay! (I have it now) in the mail, I will own it. I will take a picture of myself and my two children (we did!) surrounding it. Our faces will peek out beside the word GOD, beside the turquoise speckles, and I will send that photo (Lordy, I did) to Val Kilmer with a smile. He may never know all that it means, but I hope he smiles too. That is connection. That is our planets endless, circling energy — vibrating and healing and inspiring.
Life changing? Yeah! I’ll never be the same, but I am the same, only different.
I rediscovered me.
About the Author: A.R. Hadley
A.R. Hadley has been a creative writer since elementary school, however, she all but gave it up after her children were born, devoting herself to the lovely little creatures, forgetting the pleasure and happiness derived from being imaginative.
She rediscovered her passion in 2014, and has not stopped since — writing essays, poetry, and fiction. A.R is currently working on a set of novels as part of a romantic trilogy, and also dabbles in penning short stories.
Day or night, words float around inside her brain. She hears dialogue when awakening from sleep. She is the one who has been awakened. Writing is her oxygen.