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.