Confessions of Wildass Dreams

I’d guess that we all have them, and mostly we don’t talk about them, because they’re too big, and too silly, and too impossible. If we confess them, we open ourselves to naysayers and ridicule and reality, and all of those are hard on dreams.

But you only hit the target you can see, and if you don’t put the dream out there, you can’t see it. It’s still some nebulous little cloud-mouse skittering around in the back of your brain, and it will never solidify into something you can see and touch and hold.

I’ve decided I WANT my wildass dream, dammit. I want it a lot. May take me a lifetime to get it, and maybe after it’s floated around in sunlight for a few years it will fade and lose some of its mouse-cloudy luster, but I’ll chance that.

It’s not having a book, or even a bunch of books, on the NYT bestseller list, though having that would sure help. It’s bigger than that.

I have always wanted to have the money to buy a camp somewhere — anywhere from Tennessee or Kentucky all the way up to the wilds of Maine. Eastern USA, four seasons, no water rights issues, apple blossoms and hyacinths and dogwoods and trilliums and autumn hardwoods radiant in their seasons. Lodge, single/double rooms. Maybe a house separate from the lodge. Cabins. Maybe a barn and some stables for horses, but that would just be a side thing; it isn’t part of the Dream.

And my family and I would live in either the house or some part of the lodge year-round, and most of the year I’d rent cabins to writers for expenses only (or, if necessary, expenses plus a modest sum to help keep the places in roofs and pipes), so that these writers could work on books away from distractions and in the company of other writers. And a couple of times a year, I’d open up the lodge and any extra cabins for one helluva big writing getaway, for beginners to work with pros, for everyone to spend a month (for the big getaway) or a week (for the small getaway). Classes, the pressure of others working hard to give each participant a push, everyone reading everyone else’s stuff and pressure-cooking it along with their own, everyone pulling each other up the mountain a few more feet. We would all learn from each other, ask questions, find solutions, carve a few more dreams out of the ether and set them on the ground and breath life into them.

I’m forty-two and the money isn’t raining on my head yet, and realization dawns that it might never; if I want this dream, it has to get out of my head and into the light so that I can paint a bullseye on it and start shooting.

So.

That’s what I close my eyes and think about when the house is quiet and I can daydream. What about you?

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

15 comments… add one
  • PJ Aug 6, 2007 @ 18:52

    Well, I am going to sit down this evening and give a lot more thought to your idea, Holly, and how I could contribute … but I think this is a wonderful idea and had the feeling the store was your leaping off point for just such an endeavor! 🙂

  • rich Oct 8, 2003 @ 15:01

    I have a similar dream of a quit place in the woods where creative people of all trades and skills talk and create. My creative ideas are inspired sometimes by looking at or talking to others. I mention this to say other creative pursuits could be considered as part of your business plan. First visit to your site by accident. I wish you well.

  • Brian Nelson Jul 1, 2003 @ 15:20

    Like most here at hollylisle.com I’m an aspiring writer, and like many, I don’t usually post too many comments, but this one is right up my alley. I’m a financial planner in Denver, CO by day (cape and keyboard by night!). Where I come from, the difference between a dream and a goal is a plan. I obviously don’t know your specific dream dimensions, but if you saved around $575 per month, and earned 7.0% (more conservative than you think), you would have $100,000 in 10 years which would make a nice 10% downpayment on a $1,000,000 writers camp. Which with a business plan is a very doable loan. (Maybe this isn’t so crazy after all.) You’re first thought of course is "I don’t have that much money to save."

    You might notice how much this is like writing. If you write one hour a day for x number of days, sooner or later, you’ll have your first novel. Everyone’s first thought is "I don’t have that kind of time." You can find it if you want it. Good luck in the meantime on getting your first $1,000,000 advance!

  • sylvia Jun 28, 2003 @ 15:38

    Wow. I have a dream of having a cabin that I can go to, hide away from everything, and "just" write. My vision is an old derelict stone building in the Spanish country side … the two options when there are fix it up and write. Nothing else. No other chores, no "things I should be doing," just DIY and write.

    Maybe I’ll end up at a phase of wanting to share it with others, but for the moment, it’s totally selfish 🙂

  • Five Two Jun 28, 2003 @ 1:05

    In my quieter moments when nothing else is fighting for attention I nurture the gardens of the dream holistic refuge that I’ve always wanted to be a part of. So far the gardens are mature, the animals are in their third generation, there are cobwebs on the gate that leads away from the place.

    It would be a place filled with warmth, where everyone learns to drop the masks that they are forced to wear, and where fear is allowed to come out of the shadows and be transformed into faith. The main part of the dream though is not the place but the sense of community and love from all those involved that will in essence create it. I guess a lot of my psychology background shapes my dream refuge, but the one thing I do know is that I will need more than just me to create it.

    Thank you for sharing your dream, in truth though I think you have already begun to live it through this site.

  • Jean Jun 27, 2003 @ 22:37

    Holly,

    Never give up on it. You just never know–if you don’t keep the dream alive, you’ll never make it happen. Keep believing.

    Alan and I didn’t know HOW the ranch would become a reality, but we didn’t give up on it, and we have it–and it’s better than we imagined. For the story as we’ve been able to recall it, check the link above.

    Beautiful dream. Never, ever let anyone take it away from you. Keep speaking it, Lady. Build it in your mind. Build it on paper. Make a 3D model–what ever it takes!

  • Jim Woosley Jun 27, 2003 @ 22:36

    I guess I’m different…I’ve always had things I wanted to say as a writer (and I’m not generally afraid of hard work), but my dream has never been to be a writer, per se.

    My dream has always been to discover FTL travel. 🙂

    And now that I’m mid-40’s, widower, two kids, and sidetracked the hell and gone with the realities of what paid the bills in the interim (and hopefully my share of good and useful work in the process), I’m starting to put some time into the dream again.

    Not like I should, perhaps; I find that dreams multiply like distractions. The single parent thing multiplied by more circumstances than you can shake a stick at. The four or five novels I would still like to write (or have written might be more accurate :(…. The plethora of other careers I’d also like to acomplish….

  • Focalpoint Jun 27, 2003 @ 22:17

    I think it’s telling that a large part of your dream is to help and encourage others (which you do with FM and I presume you don’t give yourself enough credit for).

    You’re alright Lisle. 😉

  • Jay Jun 27, 2003 @ 20:40

    At least you all have realistic dreams. I’m still hoping someone’ll come up and say, "Hey, Jay, you’re magic! Step inside this telephone booth and let me whisk you off to a magical world!"

    But apart from that one, I just want to be able to make a living off the things I write. And have fans. And be able to meet those fans.

    That would be NICE.

  • Dayle Jun 27, 2003 @ 18:48

    Your dream sounds a lot like what Kris Rusch & Dean Wesley Smith are doing in the Pacific Northwest, Holly. They have a second house for workshops, which they now hold throughout the year.

    Anyone interested should check out http://www.oregoncoastwritersworkshops.com/index.htm

  • Robert A. Sloan Jun 27, 2003 @ 17:14

    Sounds good to me. Sounds *familiar* — only my version also had a specific Young Writers event attached too where older residents pro and beginner together did the summercamp teen stuff with an intensive Writing Getaway focus. All the summercamp stuff but… different.

    They have space camp for science geek kids and acting camp for the Future Hollywood set. It would rock to do that for Writing Teens — the horseback rides at the nearby stable also geared to a discussion on medieval travel or Western portage, can everyone scrounge enough food around that lake including the fishing to feed the MCs, a bit of fencing lessons and other fantasy or romance related things coming in with the hired experts — or the community adults who know them well enough to teach.

    Word Wars on a daily bulletin board tally like the sports scores at regular camps and everyone getting into the long discussions, crit circles and typing.

    Living there year round would be heaven so what would happen IMO is that neighboring properties would start to get snapped up as various pros moved up into the homeowner bracket — which to me suggests region with cheap-but-glorious wilderness tracts and oddly a good used/indie bookstore would probably move into the town in a couple of years.

    Not that wild a woolly dream, Holly.

    Once in a while I read ads or descriptions of such places in relation to art, writing, and other creative professions…

  • Katherine Jun 27, 2003 @ 15:40

    Hmm…. Ya know, if you and Sheila were to combine the beach house and cabin ideas, and maybe look at some place along the Maine coast or in the New York Finger Lakes (both of which have nasty winters, but are beautiful and not as fashionable and expensive as the Carolina coast) and maybe set up a foundation with funding from both yourselves and the FM community….. I think it’s doable. Where do I sign up?

  • Crista Jun 27, 2003 @ 15:31

    Wow. Glad I’m not the only one that has wild, big dreams like that. Mine is a bit different, though.

    See, when I was a little kid, my parents didn’t have a lot of money. As in, sometimes they would go without food so we kids could eat and even then, there was no seconds. Just the bre minimum. There were a lot of hard holidays, but I remember one year, (I think it was a church group, though I’m not sure what denomination. My mother changed religion like some people change thier socks.) we woke up on Thanksgiving morning to a big basket of food and some stuffed toys for me and my siblings. We had food to last the month and that was the first new toy I’d received in about a year. One of the best holidays of my life.

    I always had this dream, that if I had enough money, I’d set up a small organization around the holdiays that would set things up like this, every year, for fmailies in need. My fiance and I laugh when we think about dressing up in a Santa Clause costume and an elf costume and showing up on someone’s door with a bagful of presents, not practical stuff either, but FUN stuff and a car load of food.

    That Thanksgiving morning surprise has really stuck in my mind. I guess I’d want to do something to pay those nice people back in some way. What better way than paying it forward?

    But, for now, I have to content myself with the fact that it’s a someday dream because, right now, I’m still struggling to pay the rent every month. 😉

  • Sheila Jun 27, 2003 @ 15:13

    Mine is a variation on yours; I want to buy a modest-sized island in the South Pacific and create a colony/retreat for writers. I like the sea better than the woods.

    Since I’ll probably never be able to afford that, I wouldn’t mind building a big beach house with lots of extra rooms, and having an annual summer retreat for aspiring writers. A couple of million, a good cook and housekeeper and it’s doable, I think. 🙂

  • Diatryma Jun 27, 2003 @ 15:11

    Sounds good to me. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be on a writers’ getaway sort of thing, and you make it sound great. Go you, if that isn’t too frivolous a phrase.

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