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What would it be, if you could change one thing in the New Year?

This is a question I ask myself at the end or beginning of a year, before New Years, at birthdays too.

My friends’ responses to the question this year ranged from the personal to the political, and even global:

  • look in the mirror and say kind things about myself
  • change my hair color
  • sensitivity
  • have publishing luck
  • fewer attacks on women’s rights
  • get our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan
  • wish the world would stop fracking their brains out
  • act on climate, that’s the big one

In the last year, I worked on the issue of fracking by writing a documentary of my trip to the heart of gasland in PA on a Citizen’s Tour. The story that came out of the trip is now published as Stream and Shale Coloring Storybook for children and families.

For my part, this year I would like to remember more of my dreams and act on them.

Dreaming can be deeply personal and individual or it can be idealistic and aimed at the whole world, but I mean dreaming in the literal sense of what goes on when I’m sleeping. By starting small, keeping a dream notebook by my bed, I’m hoping to bring my two worlds closer together. The waking world and the dreaming world seem so far apart. These are complicated to put together into one experience of who I am, what I’m hoping for, and what I’m capable of actually doing.

Dreams have always fascinated me from as long as I can remember. Even in childhood I often woke up remembering vivid dreams. But strangely I came no closer to understanding my own dreams when I read about dream interpretation, the likes of dream dictionaries, Freud, and Jung.

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The Doctor’s Dreams, my newest book is two novellas about two kinds of dreams, the ones that we have while sleeping, and the ones we hold onto while awake. Coming out early in 2014, this new book is my first try at writing novellas. The first story, The Doctor’s Dreams, follows an exploration of a secret dream book that was left behind by a doctor who went mising on New Year’s Eve in New York City. And the second, After The Layoff, shows the changes a scientist goes through after being laid off from her job, a time when reconstructing a new life seems like a dream, or nightmare. I’m working on ideas for the book cover as the manuscript goes through final edits, and came across this design of bats which I like, as a glimpse of the strangeness of the dream life.

What do dreams mean to you?

Best wishes for a Happy New Year, and may your good dreams come true.