Dreaming in Another Language

I'll never forget my high school Spanish teacher saying something along the lines of "you'll know you're becoming fluent when you start dreaming in Spanish."  And I'll never forget how excited I was when I had my first Spanish-language dream.

I remembered that this morning as I woke up from a dream in which I had written a poem.  And I recall thinking (in my dream) that the poem had some potential, and I wished I could take it with me into the waking world.  Forgive me if you think it's superstitious (you can't blame me -- I'm Irish and Catholic), but I took this as a sign.  A sign that I'm becoming fluent in poetry, my second language.

And indeed, I have had a few moments lately when I felt like I was getting the hang of poetry in a new way, rather than just stumbling along, finding a little beginner's luck every now and then.  On Saturday, I sat in my favorite study carrel at the library.  I had pulled out an old anthology that I'd read bits and pieces of a few years ago.  I remembered how I'd labored through that anthology the first time I'd read it, trying to figure out what was going on in a poem, what the poet was doing, how the form worked, the syntax, etc., etc., etc.  I was never sure I was getting it right.  On Saturday, I flipped it open and read, and it all just came to me:  Oh yes, see she starts out with this abstraction.  Moves down into her image.  Ends in the imperative voice.  The line breaks work because they fragment the language and keep us from getting too comfortable.  The ending is left open.  I had to think, but not too hard.  I could see why the poem worked, what the poet was up to.  I knew my way around that room.

The same has happened for me in my writing lately.  I'm getting better at seeing what the poem wants to do, rather than forcing what I want to do into the poem.  I'm getting better at seeing what will work for a poem, what I should cut, how it should end, what form works best, etc.

I'm not sure why I'm sharing this with you, Reader.  Just because it makes me happy, I guess.  I hope something happened today that made you happy, too.  And I hope you get to dream in another language from time to time, whatever language your passion speaks in.  We all need that.


Sandy Longhorn said...

This is wonderful! Congrats on reaching an important milestone.

Molly said...

Thanks, Sandy.

Minga said...

I always knew you could be a writer. Glad you have come to that realization yourself. It seems to be an important part of your 'now' life, keep making time for what you love!

Molly said...

Thanks, Minga, for your faith in me then and now.