Dream of: 31 October 1997 "Fairy Tale"

I was riding in the front passenger seat of a car which my father was driving. We appeared to be not in the present, but in colonial America, before the Revolution. Tall ornate red-brick homes with sparkling white eaves lined the quiet street which we were traveling. An atmosphere of orderliness and cleanliness pervaded the pleasant town and its well-tended yards.

Our enjoyable tour had consumed much of the day. When we finally stopped to pick up a young woman who was my sister (not my actual sister), I stepped out of the car so that she could sit in the front seat. Before I boarded the back seat, however, something caught my eye: sitting next to the car was a trash can, empty except for two paint-by-number pictures lodged in the bottom of the can. Giving over to my affection for these folksy paintings, I reached into the trash can and pulled out both pictures.

The paintings were rectangles – perhaps 50 centimeters wide by 30 centimeters tall. I set both flat on top of the trash can and perused them, finally focusing all my attention on only one. The painting was at first difficult to grasp. It was the kind of picture which when viewed from one direction shows one scene, but when viewed from another direction depicts a completely different scene. This effect had been accomplished by the surface structure of the painting – hundreds of tiny pyramids had been painted a different color on each side. Thus different scenes were revealed when viewed from different angles.

The overall picture was in the shape of a circle. Within the circle were the faces of many different men, all changing, depending on my viewpoint. However, the only face I was able to recognize – the face right in the center – was the face of Jesus Christ.

I knew immediately that I wanted to keep the pictures. I picked up both and put them in the car with me, adding the two pictures to four other paint-by-number pictures lying on the back seat, pictures which I had found earlier in the day. That I had been finding so many paint-by-number paintings was surprising; I knew paint-by-number was no longer in vogue, but I thought perhaps children in this town had taken up the art. I didn't say anything to my father about the paintings – I knew he would frown on such trivial interests.

My father did see the pictures, however, and he became angry about them. It appeared that to my father the pictures symbolized the way I was wasting time, failing to accomplish anything with my life. He even began comparing me to my sister, describing her as a hard-working woman who was always trying to make money. He complained that a person could be measured by what he did with his day, what he produced in a single day. He was trying to say that my sister was working and producing something every day, whereas I was doing nothing with my time, as my idle gathering together of paintings demonstrated.

To a certain extent, I could agree with him, and I understood what he was saying. But at the same time, I knew he didn't know what he was talking about – he didn't know what I was doing with my time, or what I was trying to accomplish. In the past I would have continued to listen to what he had to say, but things had changed – it seemed as if I had revolted and broken away from him. I told him I simply wasn't going to listen to him.

That infuriated him. He raved that my not listening basically summed up my problems. The more he talked, the angrier he became until finally he was virtually ranting.

Ignoring him, I sat back in the seat and pondered what I was actually doing with my life. A refrain from a song kept passing through the back of my mind, but I couldn't quite catch it. I tried to focus on it, because I thought I might be able to use the song in my work: writing fairy tales. That was my work. Every day I wrote fairy tales and sent them out to people. Of course I had never told my father I had become a writer of fairy tales – he would never understand such an occupation. How could I expect him to understand – even I had doubts about what I was doing. Nevertheless, I felt that writing fairy tales was what I should be doing, and I intended to continue to do so.

I was even thinking of a fairy tale at the moment, one which had just come to me. I could vividly see a scene just outside the city limits of the town. A group of revolutionary soldiers had gathered their cannons together and were about to launch a surprise attack upon the city. Without warning, some of the surrounding pretty homes would be blown to pieces; no matter that women and children were inside – they also would be blasted to bits.

Only the bare outline of the fairy tale was beginning to emerge; the entire fairy tale was still unclear. I wanted to incorporate the song I had been hearing into the fairy tale. The song would be an important part of the tale.

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