Sara Kirschenbaum
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A Writer's Nightmare

Posted Thursday, Jan 27th, 2011 at 3:43pm

I had this dream yesterday:

A Writer’s Nightmare

I’m taking a test. I need to write an essay to summarize what I’ve learned in class. I plan to show off my writing skills. The test question is about a homeless shelter, or maybe an animal shelter. I decide to write an essay about why shelters are so important to us metaphorically. It is a meta-contemplation. I feel sophisticated, and confident as a writer. I sit down to write the essay and see that I am trying to write on the mesh of a window screen – the kind that keeps out bugs. I press hard with my pen on the screen and it makes some marks but is nearly impossible to read. And I don’t like what I am writing. I have written one and a half sentences and then run out of things to say. But who cares because it is impossible to read?!

I go to the teacher to tell her the problems I am having and she is unconcerned. Tells me to try again tomorrow. But what will I write on and what will I say? I go back to taking the test and decide to write about writing about shelters. Now the paper I am writing on is made of paper but is very fragile and getting smaller and smaller as I write on it. Again I can’t get past the first or second sentence.

I am volunteering at an animal shelter. Someone comes by to drop off an unwanted cat. I take it into the shelter. Then I get in trouble because the shelter has too many cats (two) and won’t be able to find a home for it. It is destined therefore to be euthanized. In trying to help save this cat I am actually dooming it and making the shelter a place of killing instead of saving.

I wake up.


  1. christina Wrote on Thursday, Jan 27th, 2011 at 10:06pm

    this dream makes me anxious just reading it. it's interesting given your sense of "rattling around" waiting for your next project to appear

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