A strange and unpredictable breach will always exist between what we want to make and what we are able to make. The important thing is to embrace that breach. Every songwriter, architect, painter, actress, chef, choreographer, teacher and dreamer has been afraid her project would cave in; every artist has believed her work was inadequate...the beauty is not in the result, but in the attempt. To build our castles in the clouds--to sew a quilt, to start a painting, even to write a single satisfying paragraph--we need to live with the fear that we will stink, that no one will pay any attention, that we will fall like trees in an empty forest; the fear that we are going to take our glorious, flawless, nebulous ideas and butcher them on the altar of reality. Not only is it OK to risk failure; it's necessary.~Anthony Doerr
I couldn't stop dreaming that year. In 2014, I recorded at least forty-three dreams I had between April and October. Those dreams were like night maps, directing me to the next steps for my life and for my book project. The dreams contained a common theme as well. Threaded through almost every one, people appeared that wanted to help me. I had never met any of them, and sometimes there was a group of benevolent guides. I wondered if they might be angels. Was that too weird?
I had finished the manuscript for On A Clear Blue Day in February, and by July all the edits had been completed. In August, I'd begun the publishing process. I was mired in conflict, though, about the cover. The artist I'd hired to design the cover couldn't execute the image I wanted to convey. He tried. Mightily. I almost gave in to accepting what he'd designed, because we were both fatigued, and he'd already provided three options. Wasn't one of them good enough?
Then I dreamed on September 6, 2014...
In the dream, I was caring for a baby. She was blue-eyed and rosy-cheeked, wisps of dark hair covered her head. She wore an ill-fitting dress made of burlap. I could tell the clothing chafed her, and she was fretful. An elderly man with a head full of thick, white hair and kind eyes appeared and gave me a book for the baby. The cover read, Polly Flinders. I awakened from the dream and began to record the details. Polly Flinders is a famous brand name for a line of baby clothing. I used to buy the dresses for my children. Each piece has intricate and whimsical floral smocking covering the upper part of the garment. Every dress is a work of art. I sensed the baby symbolized my book. The "baby" deserved to wear well-fitting, lovely clothing that enhanced her beauty, just as my book deserved a winsome cover that reflected its beauty. The elderly man in the dream was the guide who helped me take the next step.
I called the artist and told him that I appreciated his efforts, but had decided to move on. At that point, there was no future plan of who I would hire to design the cover. I merely knew that a creative cover would eventually materialize. In October, another dream came. This time I walked along the beach, exhausted and weary. Another man, a younger man, appeared by my side and said he was there to help me. He, too, had bright, luminous eyes and a head full of curly brown hair. He smiled and looped his arm through mine and said, "I'm here to help you."
The referral for a new artist came through, and we talked only by phone. He understood what I wanted to communicate on the cover, and almost immediately created two different designs. It was difficult to choose between them, becasue they were both engaging. When we finally met in person, I could only stutter my greetings as the young man in the dream stood before me. He had the same curly brown hair, kind, luminous eyes. He was the same man who came to help me had created my Polly Flinders cover.
Dear reader, as you pursue your creative endeavors, your kingdom desires, keep trusting your unique process and enjoying the mystery. God positions us to hear Him. He provides the angels, the helpers.