The Seed is Planted
Contributor

 I am often asked about the “roots” of my writing and what inspired me to begin a novel.

What fueled my imagination long enough to be able to write a full-length story? This

isn’t a simple question, but I’ll do my best to answer how The Resurrection of Hannah

came to be.

 

I was always drawn to the written word, and began dabbling intermittently in poetry and

short stories, going way back to the age of eleven. Of course, I had no idea what I was

doing, but it was a solitary diversion that fed something inside me, even at such a tender

age. I remember my first short story, which was a heartrending anecdote about a boy who

was hit by a car and was dying, and his difficulty in conveying to people at the scene

of the accident that all he wanted was to be buried beside his mother. I remember it had

affected my older brother enough to hand it out to parents in the neighborhood. He later

told me that it was so sad that it made a couple of the women cry, which stuck with me

all these years, that people were actually moved by something I wrote, more so the fact

that they bothered to read it all, especially since I was just another neighborhood kid they

hardly knew.

 

When I was in my high school and college years, I got more into poetry. As I recall (and

in my own viewpoint), not very good poetry and certainly not complex. But writing

short stories and poetry never really seemed to fit me well as a form of self-expression,

always leaving me kind of half-empty, like I was continuously missing the mark. But

I also remember never trying all that hard, not following through, like my heart really

wasn’t into it. In my sophomore year in college, a creative writing professor (I remember

being totally intimidated because he was a Rhodes scholar) had read various writings

of mine, and offered to present to the dean that I try working on writing a book for a

semester of college credit. I was so shocked that he even suggested it and having such

a lack of confidence in my ability, I just basically ran away from the whole idea, acting

disinterested and burying myself in science studies. So my desire to write eventually

evaporated while I became absorbed in other endeavors, such as friends, work, graduate

school, traveling, and family. Oh yeah, and lots of partying for too many years. When I

look back, sometimes I regret not seriously pursuing a writing career earlier in my life,

but I’m one of those who believe everything happens for a reason, and that there are

seasons in our lives when our energy is aimed in other directions.

 

Well, one night several years ago and totally out of the blue, I had the most fantastic and

powerful dream of my life. It felt as though I was both a participator and an observer.

The main “character” in the dream seemed to be telling me things he felt were important

about my life. I almost felt like I knew him from my past and he seemed not to be a

stranger. It was extremely vivid, in color, and three-dimensional. I felt as though I had

merged with this character as it was so intimate, he seemed to wrap around me, like

I was in a protective cocoon. Well, the whole thing was very emotional and intense.

When I woke up I was flabbergasted and overwhelmed, it seemed so real, and I could

almost “feel” myself in the dream for days. But I kept all of this to myself, not thinking

anyone could ever understand. I was worried that it would sound like I had lost my

marbles.

 

Over the next eighteen or so months, I had a series of ever evolving dreams with the same

reoccurring character that conveyed pure love and was extremely comforting, almost

creating an emotional bond with me in my dreams, trying to teach and show me the most

fundamental lessons about life, about our existence, through my dreams. Well, it literally

knocked my socks off. It got my attention so much so that I was thinking often about

these dream experiences, like it was becoming a part of who I was. The more I questioned

these dreams, the more I dared to finally share them with some family and friends, all of

whom were totally wondering what the heck it could all possibly mean. Was I just lonely

and conjuring up some fantastic nightlife while sleeping? Had I just indulged in too much

pizza the night before? It sounded crazy, though most people didn’t think it was, they

were fascinated by it, and some, seemingly envious! But in actuality it was anything but

crazy, the totality of the events provided a more solid grounding than I had ever before

experienced. So I believe I was an ordinary person having extraordinary “dreams” and I

leave it at that. Everyone can interpret my dreams as they will, what fits for them. In the

end, I see it all as a blessing, a very intriguing and mind-bending blessing! But to go on,

during the months that the dreams were occurring the most, I was also experimenting

with various healing arts and modalities, seeing as I was in the human services field and

of a progressive mindset. Especially working at hospice for so many years, it kind of

opens you up to all kinds of possibilities in the world, questioning long-held beliefs, the

purpose and meaning of our lives.

 

So to finish how the seed was planted…in one of my last dreams with this character, he

came to me again, urging me to not forget these experiences, clueless at the time that

they could converge quite nicely together, eventually becoming the seeds of a cohesive

story. Over the next couple of weeks, I just soaked my brain in the idea of writing a

full-length work of fiction, challenging myself, doubting my ability to even be able to

tackle such an endeavor. Everyday I walked by the desk in my bedroom, my computer

sitting idly by, almost taunting me as I walked to and from my bed every day and night.

I remember staring (sometimes glaring) at the computer, feeling excited and jittery and

almost nauseated by the whole prospect. I remember stopping in my tracks one day as a

thought flooded my mind…the idea of waking up at an advanced age and never having

tried. I could almost feel my regret, my sorrow for allowing such a large dream to escape

my life. So I walked tentatively over to my desk, positioned myself behind my computer,

took a deep breath, and began to form the first few sentences of a book. But then the

words began to flow, one thought fitting into the next. And I just never stopped writing,

as weeks turned into months, always making it an important part of my busy schedule

until I was done. And hopefully I will never stop writing until I am left without a choice.

But no matter what happens, I am deeply comforted by the fact that I will never be that

80-year-old filled with a profound sadness that I didn’t try to reach for the stars.

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