I put some finishing touches on a short story this past week, sent it off to Casa de Snapdragon Publishing, and look forward to seeing it in print soon. "Final Vision" is about an electrician who can see the future, longs for the past, and needs the present. I wrote it especially for a collection of short stories by Janet K. Brennan, because...wait for it...I'm the guest author in her upcoming collection. WooHoo!
Janet is a prominent writer, poet, publisher, and reviewer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We knew each other casually when I lived in Albuquerque, and the power of the internet allowed us to stay in touch after I moved to Tucson. Early this year, Janet had just finished reading my novel Above Haldis Notch, and I was engrossed in her autobiographical novel A Dance in the Woods, when I had a dream about a picture of a cottonwood tree wearing its fall colors proudly. In the dream, the picture created a bond between Janet and I, and we did much laughing. I wrote Janet about the dream. One thing led to another, which led to this short story being included in her upcoming collection, Tango Sunday. And yes, there's a significant scene involving a cottonwood tree wearing fall colors in my story.
The picture in my recent dream was a real one from my distant past. I took it at Lake Tanglewood, outside of Amarillo, Texas, back in the mid 70s. I remember it clearly. One crisp fall day on my morning drive into town, I saw the tree glowing gold in the morning sun, and I actually pulled over to appreciate the scene. I've never been a shutterbug, but the next morning, I had a camera beside me in the car, and when I rounded the corner, the early morning sunlight was making the cottonwood tree glow even brighter than before. I pulled over again and took a picture. It came out great, and I kept it for many years.
I should point out that the picture posted is of a cottonwood showing off its fall colors, but it isn't that picture or that tree or that setting. That picture's gone now. I looked and looked for it, but I just don't have it any longer. Durn. That's a shame, but it clearly made a strong impression on me to be popping up in my dreams 37 years later.
Thanks tree. And thanks Janet Brennan for suggesting I turn that dream into a story and for publishing it in the fine company of her stories.
Hmm. That old cottonwood tree made an impression, which resulted in a picture, which strengthened a memory, which worked its way into a dream, and now it's making another transformation into a short story that's about to be released for public consumption. Maybe I should have titled this post "Recycling Your Inspiration."
eta: **footnote: I liked my closing idea about a better title so much that I did, indeed, retitle this blog. Gosh, I'm influential.**