Most dreams are forgotten so soon upon waking that only a mere few seconds of emotion are left behind. In less than a minute, the routines of real life click in and they are lost entirely. But some aren't.
Some dreams -- whether good ones or bad ones -- refuse to let go of us. When this happens, we feel pressed to find someone to tell it to, as if the telling of it is the only way to be released from its mysterious grip. Normally, that's all it takes for it to be lost forever, and we are glad of that because most often these dreams are interlaced with a patchwork of silliness and illogic made up of our most recent concerns. But some aren't.
There are certain times in our lives -- maybe only a few -- when we dream a dream so vivid that we never forget it. Months or even years later the memory of it pops into our conscious minds, unexpected, and brings with it all the clarity and intense emotion of that first original experience. Some of them are delicious, and we cherish those. But most of them are nightmares. The unpleasantness of this kind cause us to banish them immediately from our minds at the mere flicker of an appearance, until a battle ensues. It is a long battle. If we win it, it is only through a great effort of our own conscious will. If we lose, we are plagued with something called a reoccurring nightmare. Dark repetitive dreams that spring from our deepest fears.
Except for children (who have an amazing capacity to outgrow their fears), we tend to eventually accept this thing as part of our lives and find some way to live with it. Mostly in private. Because somehow our soul now perceives it as some kind of weakness. The kind one only reveals to their closest and most trusted friends.
It occurs to me that books are made this way, too.
Most of them come and go like dreams. A few catch your interest but it is only a fleeting interest, and once out of sight you never think about them, again. But some you do. If this happens, we respond the same way we do with our dreams -- we must tell someone. Whether a person likes or dislikes a book they must tell someone. Because it is the most basic part of human nature to express our emotions. So, it seems that any book which causes readers to feel something (either good or bad) is a successful book. Yet, even most of these do not last.
Of all the books ever written -- too many to count, because even the most famous writer of several thousand years ago (whose books are still selling, by the way), observed that "of the writing of books there is no end" -- only a comparative few are good enough to outlive their creators. And only a subsequent few of these become great.
What, then, are the ingredients of great books?
I have a feeling the answer lies somewhere back at the beginning, where that human connection takes place. The deeper, more universal one that causes people to express (or define) themselves before they can forget it. Almost like a law of physics, it seems to me that if you achieve a connection, you will automatically illicit a response. That might be the starting place.
Because only when there is "current" is there any capacity for power. So it is, that if writers fail to "throw the switch" for this current to flow through, their work is doomed no matter how brilliant or painstaking the design. Without this conduit there is no energy running through the thing. No connection. And therefore, no capacity for power.
Great books have the power to define people. But in order to have power, one must first have a sustainable energy. And if (as true science teaches us) all life is made up of energy, there must be a way to infuse such a substance into books. I know this, because this kind of substance can be found in all great books. This being so, the quest then becomes how a writer goes about capturing this "power of life" for their own creations.
A very exciting subject. And I think maybe the secret might turn out to be a blindingly simple one. Something tells me it might even be something as simple as...
What's happening on the farm today: The dairy is shut down for the next month, and we shall see if it is possible to revive it again in summer, or if we shall have to wait for another spring. Current general opinion tells me this year is lost. But I find little patience in anything current, so, I wonder. Then again, it is in my personality not to give up on anything. A trait that sometimes brings me grief.