Writing Rule #52: Never Write About a Dream Unless It Communicates That Which Couldn’t Better Be Communicated

My brother and I were at a family graveyard in Kentucky (we don’t have one, and we’re from California). For some reason, he decided to exhume our mother’s body, although I wanted none of it. I helped him anyway.

This would be easy to interpret if he were the one writing the memoir and not I. As it is, I prod him for memories and input all the time, which must be like having someone periodically ask you if they can just “jam this paperclip into your fingernail for a sec.”

So he gets her out (a very shallow grave – another Jungian goldmine for you) and somehow, she’s now sitting at a dinner table with our grandmother.  I’m watching her – staring at her; this is Deborah Williams McReynolds around age 39 or 40 – short light brown hair, round face, big brown eyes, all smiles. And I know that what I see is wrong – that any second, she’s going to suddenly change back into a decomposing corpse, like in a zombie movie. I keep expecting to see hunks of graying flesh hanging off of her jaw, and receded eye sockets. It’s horrifying, what I think is about to happen, but I can’t look away. Instead, I watch my grandmother and her lean in together for a good laugh, holding glasses of wine, and I say “You’re so beautiful!” No one responds to me – it’s as if I’m not there. I just keep saying it, over and over.

You’re so beautiful.

You’re so beautiful.

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