Like most writers, I’ve read for as long as I can remember. I started thinking about my first book, trying to find out if I could remember what it was. Instead, I thought of the book that I thought was a dream.
I had a book when I was young, I can’t tell you how young because I don’t remember. As I got older, the memory of this book (and a couple others) faded into the depths of my unconscious. For a while, I remembered specifics. Then I remembered bits and pieces. Then I only remembered illustration. Illustration morphed into a simple feeling the book gave me. Until it finally got filed under dreams I must have had when I was a tiny kid.
I found out at *cough, cough, cough* years old that my dream that could’ve maybe possibly been a book that I once read really was a book. Before I tell you the title, I must add my disclaimer. I graduated through the ranks of reading fairly quick and I promise you that once I graduated, I didn’t slum it in the younger ages anymore. I was too well read to go back to kiddie books. *snark*
My husband and I were in the bookstore (Borders, we’re sad to see it go) searching for books to load up for our soon to be born child. I squealed when I found THE BOOK (or rather, one of a couple). Maurice Sendak’s In The Night Kitchen. Now you might be snickering at me and wondering why I wouldn’t remember a book like that. Especially since I do remember Where The Wild Things Are. WTWTA seems to be more visible than In The Night Kitchen. Let me just refer you back to my disclaimer above.
I knew it when I saw it because the dream-like thing I always remembered was how cool the illustration was but I couldn’t describe it, I could only know it when I saw it. I remember something about a naked boy in a dough airplane flying around a huge jar of milk. Now, this isn’t something you go around asking people, “Hey, was there a book about a naked boy and an airplane?” Go ahead, ask someone. I dare you to try it and see what looks you get. Come back to me afterwards so I can say I told you so. Because that’s precisely why I didn’t ask anyone.
I have another book I hope to one day rediscover that has also entered into that “maybe it was a dream” file. It was dark and scary and had super cool illustration but that really is all I remember about it. I think it had something do with a couple mice making a deal with the devil. I also remember a fallen tree.
The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe (the cartoon, not the book) was like that for me for a couple years, too. Only the cartoon got played often enough that I eventually rediscovered it much earlier. I was a kid when I filed it in dreams and was still a kid when I rediscovered it.
Do you have anything like that or am I the only crazy lady in the house? Have you read something so long ago that you start to think it was a dream when your memory gets all fuzzy and squirelly about it? Something you think about and wonder if it was a dream or some kind of amalgamation of a book you read with a movie you saw and maybe some urban legend thrown in the mix?
I always think I’m the only person with those. I’m hoping I’m not.
Yes, I've had similar circumstances, though I usually am pretty sure they were real books. I'll just remember some snippets of the plot…or some random strange detail, and wonder "Huh. I wonder what book that was." This is for a lot of the little chapter books I read in middle school. Ones that were in smaller series or stand-alone seem to be easier to forget than Goosebumps or Animorphs. Soon after those, like you, I graduated to young adult and some adult books.
I don't have any dreams that I think might be books … and I've never had any dream turn out to be a book read to me a long time ago. But I do have memories of books that I'm fairly sure I've elaborated on such that they are dream-like and unlikely to have resided in the original text (which I could hunt down with effort).
I didn't really mix my dreams with books as a child, but there were books that I "rediscovered" with my kids, like "the elephant's sneeze"Any children's librarian worth her degree would recognize IN the Night Kitchen the moment you said naked but and dough airplane. That book was on the banned books list because of the nudity…