Dreams


UntitledSince my book came out, everybody I know says, “How exciting!”

This, of course, is a very typical American reaction. You tell somebody that you’re going for a bike ride on the weekend, and they say, “How exciting!”  Or you ask someone how they feel about starting a new job, and they tell you, “I’m excited!”

When I first came to this country, I thought that Americans must be the most excitable people on earth. Even now, after having lived in the country for twenty-four years, this inexplicable American enthusiasm never ceases to amaze me. You see, I’m from Russia. We never got excited. We got drunk. Or, when we felt something “exciting” come over us, we got into fights. That was it.

Of course, I personally don’t drink much, and I don’t fight either (well, only rarely, usually with my husband:)). But every time I hear “How exciting!” I feel like saying: “Exciting? What are you talking about? I’m stressed out and anxious!”

And the publication of my book is no exception. In fact, it has made me even more anxious than I usually am. Why? Because there are so many things that first-time-authors have to do when their books come out – publicity, marketing (when you spend five years of your life writing a book, you do want people to read it!), begging friends and colleagues to “please, if you like my book, submit a short review of it to Amazon.com!,” asking established authors to read your book (those, of course, never respond), and waking up at night because there was something you should’ve done but you haven’t, or because you’re obsessing about something that you have done.

This last one really got me last night. The thing is that even without my book project, I rarely have restful nights. One reason for that is insomnia, which, as I age, bothers me more and more, another — intense dreams that fill my nights when I finally fall asleep. Sometimes these dreams are continuation of the daily events — so realistic that I have a hard time in the morning discerning what was and what wasn’t a dream. Sometimes they are nightmares, and often, they are reminders of the things I could’ve done better. And that was what my dream was about last night.

In it, I was reading reviews of my book at Amazon.com (I’mreview told that I should have at least twenty of them, but I have only nine so far), trying to figure out whom else I could to ask for one, when I noticed a new review that I hadn’t seen before:

“It’s a good book, daughter. Thank you for writing it. Mom.”

This is strange. Mom doesn’t write — or read! — in English, — was my first dreamy thought.

She must’ve asked somebody for help — was my second.

No, wait! This must be a mistake! Mom is dead!

This last thought woke me up and I mentally went over the calendar. Mom died exactly two years ago. Two years before my book was published. Two years before anybody could write a review of it. And yet, the message seemed real; seemed like something Mom could say. Something I’d love to hear from her but never will.

I couldn’t go back to sleep after that, and I couldn’t get up either. In this twilight state, in my mind’s eye, I began turning pages of my book, one by one. She was there – if not on every page then in every story. She was a young doctor carrying a bag with a stethoscope, injection bottles, and other shiny medical things. She was there exclaiming “Look how blew the sky is! And the air, it’s so fresh!” She was the one wh1-IMG_1315_1o, when I tried to skip school on account of being sick, told me that “only dead people have no ailments.” And she was the woman crying over the burial of her own mother, my grandmother, the way I cried over hers.

I tossed and turned, and tried to go back to sleep, but finally, I got up, grabbed my book, and opened it. Under the title and other required information, it read: “To Alex and Amelia.”

Even before I finished my book, I knew that I would dedicate it to my grandchildren. To my wonderful grandchildren whom I love so much but see so rarely. It just seemed logical to do that, to pass a so-called “torch” to the next generation. But, was that the right thing to do?

Alex and Amelia, who are now 10 and 6 respectively, may never read my book. Hopefully, they will take a look at the pictures of their forebears, but being so young, they’re unlikely to be interested. Of course, there is a chance of them finding my book later in their lives and, if I’m very lucky, reading it. But will they even notice the dedication? Should I have dedicated my book to my mother instead? Or does it even matter?

She’s gone, and nothing I do will ever reverse that.  Of course, I have my memories of her, some of which I put in this very book. Many of those memories are good, some funny, but some are regrettable. For, as Mom aged, it was easy to get upset with her for saying things that were not “politically correct,” for being not as sharp in her 80s as we, her middle-aged daughters were in our fifties, for her extreme candor — undoubtedly a result of life spent in the country where everything was black and white, with no half-tones allowed.  It was easy and it was understandable. And yet, for two years now, I have been ashamed of those memories.15-svet_17

Well, too late now. Mom will never know about my regrets,as she’ll never know about my book. All I can do is to open a page with her picture and say, “Forgive me, Mom. The way you always did. As for this book, even though it’s not dedicated to you, it is as much about you as it is about me.”

©Svetlana Grobman. All Rights Reserved

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215 thoughts on “Dreams

  1. You’re vry right ma’am. Sometimes I wish there was some magic I could do to make more people read my work. So many dreams… and I even stay up at night sometimes wishing I had done some things and not done others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know the feeling. When I was young, I often wished there was some magic I could do to make people like me:). Yet people cannot control their environment. As for the magic, there are so many of us, there wouldn’t be enough magic for everyone (just kidding!). Keep writing. A magical moment may come!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dreams are the only thing that actually happen to people who work hard for them. Funny enough to make them true you have to work constantly and hard for it, nothing really magical about it. I came to London 10 years ago and I dreamed in travelling and studying in a British University. ta ta ta it happened but you know what like you say not everything is very exciting, in life hard work and patience are a must to make dreams come true. Congratulations for your pressed post. One day, maybe one day. I have only two posts, and I dream that one day I will be there…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Loguga!

      You’re absolutely right. I suppose there are some “lucky” people who do not have to work hard. I myself have never been one of them. I worked hard for everything I have (or achieved). Yet while working hard, do not stop dreaming! 🙂

      Good luck!
      Svetlana

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  3. I am quite young, roughly eighteen. There are only a few things I appreciate in life, this is one of them. It is no coincidence that I have stumbled upon this while reading something not too far off. I will read this and absorb it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi
    You don’t know me and I don’t know you. But after reading your introduction of your book on your blog I feel I might have known you somewhere somehow. Or is it that the recollections of your past are similar to mine? I don’t know. But for certain I shall read your book before the year ends. I hope to enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed stumbling upon your blog and getting a glimpse of a parrellel past with my mother.
    Good luck with your book.

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    • You know, many people told me after reading my book that despite all the differences in our upbringing, there were many things they could relate to. I guess, we are not as different after all:).

      Thank you for your comment!
      Svetlana

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  5. You’re so amazing!! Publishing a book has been my dream since I was still very young. Probably I think that a dream is a dream, that can never be fulfilled so that this dream is just embed in my mind without turning it into reality. You must have paid lots of endeavours in this book! I am so envy of you!!

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    • Thank you very much for your emotional response!

      You don’t really need to envy me:). I’m 62 years old, and I just published my first book (I did publish stories and essays before). You, however, are young, so you have many years to fulfill your dream. Work hard and dream big!

      P.S. I wish you many good friends, too:)

      Svetlana

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  6. I’m on the verge of publishing my first novel. I enjoyed your blog and could relate to your feelings. Thank you for sharing! You made me smile with your comment about “How exciting!”. I’m adding your book to my reading list!

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  7. This is so wonderful, thank you for sharing! I saw your post on Freshly Pressed today and the title is what captured my attention – I used to have the most vivid dreams of my late mother, and I’d wake up sometimes, so disoriented, not sure if I was having a real memory, feeling like I had actually just spent time with her.

    I also just added your book to my “to read” list!

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  8. I came across this through Freshly Pressed. It is 8 am on a Sunday here in Mumbai, and I can’t think of a better way to have started my day. Thank you for writing this post. As someone else in the comments section pointed out, mother-daughter relationships are indeed special. Excuse me while I go call my Mom right now!

    BTW, I’m definitely going to hunt down your book on Amazon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anvita,

      I cannot not imagine a better response than yours! I hope that your mother will be present in your life for many more years.

      Thank you for reading my post. Thank you for reaching out to me, too!

      Svetlana

      Like

  9. Pingback: Dreams | elena9237

  10. Your mother DID write that review for you – she’ll be able to confirm when you meet up again. It is lovely to think that your grandchildren will meet up with both you and your mother – their great grandmother – when they get around to reading your book. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely hope that my grandchildren will read my book when they’re older. So far, they just looked at the pictures (I have many family pictures there). But since they don’t know people in the pictures, their interest vanished rather fast:).

      Thank you for reading!
      Svetlana

      Like

  11. A very honest post, thank you for letting us take a peek at your personal struggles, not only as an author, but as an everyday person. Congratulations on your book, I hope that, even if things don’t get easier, you’ll have an easier time dealing with what life throws at you, and not become discouraged but inspired to turn it into another window of opportunity!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations and I’m cracking up because I use the word excited all the time lol! Is your book available on audible? That should be rhetorical because I can easily check.

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  13. I just bought your book on Amazon. Looking forward to reading it. I don’t often purchase books but there is something about the way you write that made me want to know more about you and your mother.

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  14. I enjoyed reading your piece.Thankyou.As I’m from the U.K. I don’t know where I would get a copy,will it be available for us at Amazon?If yes,I will purchase and post review.
    I read the bible and Tolstoy “War and Peace” once a year,but am addicted to Chekov.
    Kind wishes.Adrian Smith.

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    • Thank you for reading my post! My book is available at Amazon UK, so you can easily buy it there. As for your literary taste, we have a lot in common. In fact, Chekov is my favorite Russian writer:)

      Cheers,
      Svetlana

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  15. First of all Congratulations on your release.. Just loved the way you mentioned “How Existing” ..writing something is a dream for me..have hiccups.. A nice post Svetlana… All the Best!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have a feeling she knows all about you book and that she’s read it! I bet she is very proud of you. Congrats on your book. I wish you the best. Dreams are powerful. Great post.

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  17. Svetlana, congratulations on your book being published! My husband and me adopted our son from Russia in 2002 when he was 6 years old. He has vague but very few memories of Russia. Since adopting Sasha I have a new curiosity about life in Russia, past and present. I will leave a review of your book when I read it.

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  18. I’m gonna put this book on my wish list.
    It’s amazing how you put a person piece by piece into a book and how she can now never be touched by oblivion. Anyone who ever reads that book will have your mother in their mind as a character without even knowing it.
    I’ll make sure to review it too.

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  19. Of course, I’m putting your book on my reading list. Thanks for a Facebook group (We Love Memoirs)-the majority of my kindle is memoirs.

    I’m in the process of writing mine. If I want to be honest, I’ve been writing it since I dropped out of high school (my 9th grade English teacher suggested I become a writer and further, he suggested that I write and share my story. Many things thru the years have held me back…nerves, what if, etc. I suppose the biggest was my mother. She probably would not approve of me “airing dirty laundry”-though she passed away a couple years ago, so now I should not longer have that excuse. Not to mention-*I* personally don’t think I come across as attacking or airing anything. No human on Earth, myself included, is perfect.

    Anyways, I’m looking forward to reading your book. I recommend that facebook group to anyone that “enjoy” memoirs. You cannot promote your own book on that site but they do have a separate group for WLM Authors.

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    • Paula,

      Thank you, for your comment! It’s hard to write a memoir. There is a fine line between being honest and being offensive. Yet you should do what feels right for you. If you think about offending someone too much, you’ll never right anything. Good luck!

      P.S. I’m definitely going to look at WLM. Thank you for your suggestion.

      Yours,
      Svetlana

      Like

  20. I enjoyed this post very much. I lost my father 12 years ago, and when I dream of him he is very much present. What a terrible secret parents carry when they love their children, knowing they will have to leave them.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Since I also struggle with insomnia, in addition to a pretty much constant state of panic, along with the sadness of aging and the nostalgia of memories of my deceased parents son-in-law, and husband, I think I understand how these things bring up regrets all too often.

    I am going to have my book club order your book for our September meeting. I really look forward to reading it and will post a review once I have read it!

    Congratulations! Just having written your memoir (and seeing it through all the stages of publication) is an amazing accomplishment–a process the early American poet Anne Bradstreet compared to giving birth and raising a less-than-perfect child. I felt relieved once I’d gotten Melvin’s poems together–and now I’m putting off redoing it in order to add three lovely poems I found recently. Maybe your effort will inspire me.

    Mary Beth

    Liked by 4 people

  22. Your book arrived in the mail today. You will have another review soon.

    Mother-daughter relationships are always complicated. I have a hard time writing about mine and that is one of my excuses for never finishing my memoir. Last year I let a close friend read it and her reaction was “Why didn’t you tell me it was all about your mother?”

    Until she said that, I didn’t know it was about Mama. Now, when I try to write, I feel her looking over my shoulder.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Carolyn! I used to read about people “regretting” this and that, and I never thought that, one day, it will be me. Oh, well …

      I hope you won’t be disappointed with my book. Thank you for reading it!

      P.S. You should finish your memoir. I’m sure your mother would like you to.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Paula,

        Although my book is not about my mother, but she is present in all my stories (there are 28 of them there). As for her reaction, Mom was rataher unpredictable, so I cannot answer your question for sure. I do hope that she would have liked my book.

        Thank you for reading,
        Svetlana

        Like

  23. You brought up some of my own memories and regrets! I have dreams that are too vivid! I am putting your book on my reading list – though I have several with which I’m catching up still. I will catch up to yours!!

    Liked by 6 people

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