Notes On Dream Hatching

On September 10, 2010, in Lifestyle, Work, by Meghan

August 13, 2010, 3:08pm

The picture is a bit hen-like, after all, what with me perching on this balance ball. You know, those large, inflatable balls upon and with which you execute core strength-building exercises that look peculiar enough to garner curious glances from strangers at the gym. Not just found in gyms anymore, balance balls are often used as office chairs for posture-attentive types. Some of you might be reading this from atop your own right now.

In order to keep the rubber side down while sitting on a balance ball, you’ve got to maintain an erect posture with your core engaged and shoulders back. And, as you sit, your bottom sinks into the slight give of the ball’s rubber surface, giving your posture a bit of rear-end emphasis. For all intents and purposes, yes, I could be a hen, gaining the purchase she needs to produce her egg.

While the only part of hen-hood I’d much mind would be roosters and their pre-dawn, testosterone-incited wake-up calls, I am, instead, planning the hatching of something else. In the middle of absolute nowhere California, on a blazing hot afternoon where you can feel the heat rising from the earth, in a double-wide trailer cooled to humid 78 degrees Fahrenheit by an old swamp cooler, with an arthritic border collie who’s seen more of the world than many people but who’s now most comfortable gazing at the back of her eyelids during an afternoon dog-nap, atop a pink Reebok balance ball, I am making a longtime dream my reality.

August 23rd, 2010, 6:30am

I was probably born to be a writer. Some kids built sand castles in their backyards, while others played for hours with teddy bears and Barbie dolls. I did some of that, too, as evidenced by the teddy bear that I still have, that I still sometimes sleep with at night. But I really loved making books. I had fewer words to say as a seven year old, but with construction paper, lined pages ripped from a notebook, newspaper clippings, and Elmer’s Glue, I carefully created a book to remember the crash of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

The pre-teen version of myself spent family vacations at my Grandma and Grandpa Cooley’s house pouring through their old issues of Reader’s Digest. Well, that, and eating copious volumes of M&M‘s from the never-empty glass candy dish that sat on an end table in their family room. Sitting on the back stoop, surrounded by magazines, fueled on chocolate, and encouraged by my joke-telling father, I’d compose my own jokes for submission to Reader’s Digest. When I asked my parents to help me submit my jokes, they responded, just as a writer’s first editor should, by directing my young-person humor more appropriately toward a joke book for kids. Imagine my elation when one of my jokes, about witches and chimney sweeping, whose punchline I cannot today recall, was published in a humor book for kids!

I possess a Rubbermaid container full of hand-written journals from my teenage and early twenties years. I documented that era of my life in enough ornate detail that the words retain their power, at least to me, even today. When I re-read the 1998 journal that recorded my college time spent studying abroad in East Africa, it infuses me with the same spirit of adventure and independence that carried my soul to the other side of the world and back. When I thumb through entries written the summer after I graduated from college, the moments in which my first love and I parted amiable-but-heartbroken ways, teensy little pangs of loss float through my heart.

I joined the weblog world just as soon as I could, initiating my first Internet blog in 2004. My writing exploded within the then-mostly-anonymous online world filled with faceless and curious folk and with a platform upon which I could fast produce. There, I wrote, and wrote a lot more. Much of it was terrible writing. Slowly, surely, through those thousands of awful words, a writer’s voice began to emerge. I began to see what interested my small readership the most, not the gory details of every single minute of  my half-marathon race, but how that race connects with the wider world of people and place.

Light-switch quick I realized the point of creative writing, making some part of the real or fiction world relevant to more than just itself. I learned that I could, in fact, record in epic detail the all-day journey of a green inchworm across my deck and still incite a wild response if I documented the little worm’s (imagined and anthropomorphized) fierce determination, an emotion that humanity knows well.

Those early years of blogs are gone, deleted from public eye, their contents stored on my computer’s hard drive for relative electronic perpetuity. On January 1st, 2008, I began an Internet blog called Meghan’s Crooked Trails on a Blogger platform. Yep, this blog was about myself, still, but its purpose was new: recording the crooked path that was my life and the lives of others around me for the purpose of inspiring others to journey themselves.

September 10, 2010, 8:52am

So, right, back to the hen bit of the story. My position atop that balance ball  was analogous to a hen on her nest, about to lay an egg. But, there’s more to it than just that. Once an egg is laid, a hen’s work really begins. She becomes secretive and protective, always hovering, warming, turning her shelled prize. It may just be animal instinct, but it sure looks like she’s nurturing the hell out of her delicate, developing offspring.

In the day or two before a chicken egg cracks wide open, revealing to the world a fuzzy bundle of naive goodness, the egg begins to move and vibrate on its own. When this occurs, a hen’s nesting instincts become feverish. She works on her nest, arranging and rearranging whatever is around it. She scrapes the ground of her territory into dusty cleanliness. She watches the egg with her beady hen eyes and clucks wildly when it moves. Then, when the chick hatches itself, the hen grows calm, diving beak-first into her new way of life, motherhood.

About a month ago, after a deep-down-soul-searching weekend in the mountains with a wise woman and her spirited, saged advice, I hatched the full-time writer’s egg. In the last month, I’ve been toiling with my little dream, feeling the fierce nurturing instincts I imagine in those mama chickens. Yesterday, my egg cracked wide open when I quit my job so that I could pursue my dream to become a writer with full freedom. I suppose I already am one, as my Space Shuttle Challenger book remains inside an old oak trunk, in my mom’s possession. And, because of  these funny Internets, anyone with the ability to pound phalanx to keyboard can be a writer. But, you know what I mean.

“When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality.” (Dom Helder Camara)

So, there you go. I, too, feel the calm of a new purpose, new role. A long, wend-y, new journey lies ahead, and I’m excited to make it a reality.

The dream is hatched, the the journey ahead looks awesome (Joshua Tree National Park, February, 2010).

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11 Responses to “Notes On Dream Hatching”

  1. Keith says:

    Love reading of the now revealed hatching of a ‘plan’

    Love the Picture!

    Love You!


  2. JeffO says:

    It’s about time, girl!
    You know you’re crazy, right? Takes one to know one and that makes me an expert.
    The blogisphere was too small of a pond anyway.

  3. Meghan says:

    Keith, this is as close as it gets to a plan. Pretty intangible!

    JeffO, I *think* this is a “got get ’em” compliment, but I can’t quite tell! 🙂 I guess we all are a little looney!

  4. Donald says:

    Sweet! Good luck to you with the writing – you’ve certainly got some amazing stories to tell. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk some of them over with you in Zion this fall …

  5. Olga says:

    Meghan, dear. Between you and Bryon, I envy (with good white feelings) the guts it takes to quit the job and go after a dream. I read and read those books that offer insights on how to, why to, and so on. There are so many folks I personally know, who had made a leap, and doing just splending – may be not often in materialistic kind of way, but surely in soulful one. I encourage you. I am living my dreams through ya’ll. Once my kids are out, may be I’ll get gutsy too. For now I use up all the frill on other “leaps of faight”, but it doesn’t mean my dreams die. I am still sitting trying to produce that egg, making small step for the day I can lay it. As for you – I remember there were quite a few pieces (and you’re right, mainly some weird-off pices comparing an inch-worm to a human life or such) that made me stick around. Your soul capivated me. Yours and Gretchen’s writings, often about subjects I will never know about, draw a real interest. That’s because you have a way with words. May your path be crooked:)

    • Meghan says:


      Always so thoughtful, you are. You may think your life is not adventurous, but it is. You did a very big, risky thing not too long ago for true, deep love. I can’t tell you how much I admire that risk of yours! Thank you for being so supportive!


  6. Danni says:

    Oh the places you’lll go!!!

  7. Nikki says:

    Hi Meghan. I found you on Suite101. I am thinking of applying. What do you think of writing for them, or should I say yourself? I appreciate this post. I just moved to LA, and I am determined not to get a 9-5, even here where you need lots of money. I would like to make a life writing, so I honor your courage to be true to you.


  8. Meghan says:

    Thanks for visiting, Nikki!

    I’ll write you offline with details about Suite101. But here I’ll say, follow your heart, girl! Don’t be afraid to dream and dream and dream and then go for it. Deep-end jumps are frightening, but if you’ve got the heart to take the leap, then you’ve got the mind to stick the landing. Good luck to you!

    Thank you for your kind and peaceful words,

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