‘On Writing and Dreams’ by Shane Brown


I don’t dream much. Well, I don’t remember my dreams much. But the last night’s dream I do remember.

And I remember the only other one I’ve ever had of Dad in 11 years since he has been gone.

Last night in my dream I was kneeling down on the ground then out of nowhere Dad showed up. I don’t remember who I was with or what I was doing. He looked down at me and said that he has been liking my stories. I smiled. He asked me if I knew where the writing came from. I reached up and touched his heart. He smiled down on me and he walked away… I love to dream.

The other dream I remember was probably about five years ago. He showed up again out of nowhere and told me that he was good and happy, that things were easy and he was okay. That dream, both of those dreams, were so real to me. I sometimes wonder if these reunions were only dreams…

I don’t know what I’m doing. I usually don’t when I’m writing. I know what I wanna say and I know what I wanna do. But, I’m not skilled and I’ve not been taught. My grammar is bad and my punctuation is over there when it needs to be here. I guess it’s all practice.

Writing, to me, is a want and a need. I come to this little writing room and I’m comfortable. I look at what my father wrote at the age of 31 and these stories are honest. His stories that I read are these little short passages of him being a dad, an amateur writer, fire fighter and a husband. He also wrote ideas about things. I never knew he started how I’m kind of starting. That realization runs chills up my back and down my arms and legs and my eyes flood with tears and my heart pounds with emotion; it’s truth. I don’t need proof.

“You have to write something ever day. Every day. You can’t just say, ‘Well, I don’t feel like it today.’ Chances are, if you don’t feel like it today, you won’t feel like it tomorrow, and you’ll get into a rut that’s hard to crawl out of. If you make a habit out of writing and automatically deduct those hours from each day that you know have to be spent at the typewriter, it gets easier. The words come quicker. They sound better to you, the final judge. You don’t have to keep everything you write. If it looks bad, if it’s uninteresting or boring, just chunk it into the waste basket and start over. The waste basket is a very helpful tool. And yellow paper is very cheap.”

-Larry Brown

I don’t even know why I even try to explain writing. It’s too complicated. It’s too complicated to make you understand what I understand, when I almost don’t understand; but I do.

I get certain feelings all the time and around me. I don’t hear voices but I hear thoughts. My mind creates them and builds them and then overpowers me. I don’t have a control over this. It’s just something I can’t explain nor care if you believe me. Maybe I’m different than you. But only maybe…

I found a letter tonight that was written by Dad to Dad. It was dated in 1982. And it was in June before I turned three. The paper the typewriter held for his words is yellow and ridged. A rusted paperclip held these sheets, and as I shifted the papers, the yellow was marked with brown smudges.

The words Brown is dead and a beautiful place through tears to what my hands held.

No pain, God is here, your life will be great, don’t cry, I can talk to you any time, and get some sleep… those words made my cigarette burn the ashes to the ground at my feet.

I eased the papers on the desk and stared at the walls to what seemed over a hour. But it wasn’t. My thoughts will last longer than an hour though.

Was I supposed to find these things? Was I supposed to read these? Why are they still here at his desk and no one has ever shown me?

Some of the stories I read from his early works were already great before he got published. They are under my papers right now and I notice them because of the bright yellow paper that hold his words. I wonder where he found such paper. And for that matter such words. He knew it would be a long road. Years of practice and experience held a certain number. He said that in several stories. But, he knew too what he wanted. He had a focus. He taught my brother that. And my God brother. They wanted in life what they’ve created for themselves; I want it too.

I loved reading “Low Riding” and “Ten Minutes with Barry Hannah.” Those stories make me smile because I’ve done both of those things. The short, misspelled and much-needed edited pieces are probably my favorite.

I’m gonna keep on reading his work, more so his early work. I’m gonna read his stuff and figure out what he was trying to do. If I can figure out some early stuff, then I might figure out some things that are unfolding in front of me. I remember him talking about how writing is a skill that must be acquired. He said writing was like painting or baking a cake or building a house. But not really. It’s more than that. He said it takes years and years of reading and writing.

I’m gonna keep on dreaming and keep on writing these little stories. I’ve got other dreams that I wanna come true. They’re bigger than my first dream that has turned into a goal and goals. I love the stars and what they make me dream. I hope you dream like me…

Shane Brown

Shane Brown is a HottyToddy.com contributor and the son of noted author Larry Brown. Shane is an Oxford native with Yocona and Tula roots. Shane is a graduate of Mississippi State University. He has two children — Maddux, age 9, and Rilee, age 7 — and makes his home at “A Place Called Tula.” He can be reached at msushanebrown@yahoo.com.

Copyright Shane Brown, 2015.

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