The Gravy. Gotta Have the Gravy.

“Gentleness is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things: through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music and books, raising kids–all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through.”Garrison Keillor

I received another rejection of one of my short stories. It sat out there for the longest time as “under consideration” at Narrative Magazine, and I was hoping it would be at least a finalist; but no, got the rejection this morning in an email. The positive sign is that this story did outlast the last one, which was rejected much sooner. So, now to look the story over again, perhaps change the name and refine it a little and send out again. And again. And again.

In this quadrant of my life I have more resolve and tenacity than I had when I was younger. These days I take the “no’s” as part of life, and not as a definition of who I am. That may sound rather fatalistic to some who had higher self-esteem than I had when I was a child, but when I was just a small child I did allow quick judgments to sink and and applied the defining words of others to who I thought I was. When I was in my teens and 20s it was easy for me to just give up on something when I received the first “no”. Now I look for ways to get a “yes”. And, if the “yes” does not come, that is okay too. I move on.
As part of moving on, I have been asked to write an essay on how dreams influence my writing for an online publication. This will come easily for me. This is like the gravy that Keillor talks about. Gravy, like a dream, soaks into our unconscious and appears in surprising ways.
Dreams have influenced writers throughout history and continue to influence writers, including Stephen King and Anne Rice and William Styron. Having completed about 35 short stories, I would guess that more than half of those were influenced by an event or a character that appeared in my dreams.
Where have interesting characters appeared in your own dreams, and have you written about them?

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