A book reviewer asked me yesterday if the title of my first novel had always been THE COST OF DREAMS.   I answered, “no.”  I had called an earlier, much longer, and terribly flawed draft THE DISAPPEARED ONE.  A potent and intriguing enough title I think, and not at all a bad fit for the later manuscript.  But I made the change because I wanted to reach a little deeper into the suggestion of what the story, or several stories interwoven, might offer to the interested reader.  Rather than the single and narrower event of a person vanishing, and leaving the reader and the characters in the tale simply wondering if the “disappeared one” would ever be found.

As the nation state elites the world over recklessly and irresponsibly rattle sabers at one another ceaselessly, their respective working citizens (and employers) aspire to a secure future, probably without exception.  And depending on their local circumstances and living conditions, they may strive to work life out where they live.  Or they may feel the urgent need to move to another country or part of the world to work and eat.  Or they may need to flee emergently for their lives, such as our characters in the opening scenes of THE COST OF DREAMS.

The characters in my tale are wracked by their dreams:  by their aspirations for a secure future with proper nutrition, decent shelter, absence of violence (to which so many are subjected in Latin America and Asia and Africa), education, quality public health and the fruits of a modern existence.  All too frequently, their dreams are ground to dust by nightmare recollections of what they’ve been through in their struggles for survival in their countries of origin, and in their migrations.  Recollections that torment them night and day, shaping and scarring them, sometimes to the point of living dysfunction and drug addiction.  An equivalent of posttraumatic stress disorder can threaten the working poor to pandemic proportions, most especially with parts of families injured, sick, and dying while on the move and striving to stay together.   A strain that can bring them to sanity’s breaking point.

Such circumstances bring the main character of my novel to a point of quite extreme desperation.  Flora Enriquez perceives herself in dire straits, and risking the lives of her most reliable companions on earth, enters the most remote wilderness of northern Mexico in search of a shaman and the healing realm of his dream making.  This being her personal attempt at mending the wounds of her suffering travels.

Though I am thoroughly a modernist and not given to religious practices of any sort, I found very interesting (and I certainly respect) the aboriginal concepts for sleep and dreams that are deemed essential for healing and for sorting out the meanings and problems of living.

One Response to “DREAMS”

  1. Gus,
    When I was reading your book, Martin walked by and said, “The Coast of Dreams – what a great title!”
    I like the title you chose in the end, but really, The Coast of Dreams would also have worked.”

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