I have this theory - probably not original, but I don't know where I got it
- that stories are like dreams. We need them to feel refreshed. We know
from modern hunter-gatherer societies that stories were told while sitting
around a campfire, and no one seems to challenge the idea that they were
told in our pre-history as well. A good story will make us feel as good as
a pleasant (or at least not unpleasant) dream. I frankly don't think the
novels that win awards, novels about college professors and their angst (not
that I've read many of them) fit that mold. Think of the stories that
people buy by the billions: detective stories, westerns, science fiction,
and romance. The good guys win (normally) and there is a happy ending
(mostly) - just like a pleasant dream.
I was reading one J.A. Jance novel after the other, 30 in about 30 days, to
see if reading a lot on Kindle would be as easy on my eyes as I believed.
But I also noted that whatever good feelings a few novels had on me, at some
point the process no longer felt good. It felt as though my mind accepted
its maximum number of words for the time being and would accept no more.
Last night after the note I posted on Lit-Ideas, I gave up and went to sleep
at 19:00 and didn't get up until 03:30 this morning. Last night I couldn't
remember Speranza's name and had to look it up.
I recall one real dream from last night in which there was some complication
on a highway and I left my motorcycle parked in the middle of the road while
helping deal with the problem, and then later as we drove off in another
vehicle I realized that I had forgotten my motorcycle. I went back and it
was no longer there, but one of my coworkers laughed and told me he had put
it in the back of his truck and set it down a couple of blocks away.
"Where, exactly?" I asked, and he gave me some complicated directions that
ended in "you can't miss it." I followed the directions as best I could and
came to what seemed to be the large blue wall he mentioned, but there was no
motorcycle behind it. Instead was a woman who said she would help me, but
she seemed to be interested in something more in a very flustered
uncomfortable way. I told her I was married and she, extremely embarrassed,
drove off. I never did find my motorcycle, but I woke feeling refreshed
anyway. I put myself to the test and easily remembered Sperenza.