The Starfish

hey little boy, whatcha got there?
kind sir, it’s a mollusk I’ve found

Over the last few weeks I’ve taken another break from the novel because I was starting to feel burned out. Every night I sat down and wrote and wrote but I still felt like I was so far from being finished. It’s a frustrating process at times, especially when you see the really fun parts coming and you’ve got another ten or twenty thousand words before you get there.

I started to get impatient with the book and that started creeping into my writing. Out of frustration and a desire not to resent what I’ve worked so hard on, I decided to take an indefinite break and wait for things to chill out so I could come back to it with a fresh perspective.

At about the same time, some things happened at work that hit me with, ‘oh my god, can I really work in an office for the next thirty years?’ Without the mooring that the ritual of nightly writing had provided up until that point, I began to panic. So I started looking around at some of my other interests to see if they could offer any opportunities or a possible escape from the claustrophobia.

One of my long-standing dreams has been to start up a food truck. I’m pretty serious about it too… I’ve worked out recipes, branding, licensing and figured out expenses for the initial startup. Juliette gets to hear about it at least three times a week. So as my frustrations with my day job and my writing mounted, I started looking more and more closely at this idea. The biggest issue with it is that it requires a monster load of cash compared to my measly income. Six figures easily. Naturally, this created its own amount of consternation and I started wondering which way to go. The passion of writing and the passion of making food and beer both are constantly battling for my time, which is limited by my numbing job.

Then I had a dream last night. Some friends and I were in a park crowded around a styrofoam clam shell that had a starfish inside that was cut along its segments. Each one of us took a segment of it to eat and I realized that mine had an eye in it. I also noticed that it was still alive and it was the part of the animal that’s capable of regrowing and regenerating itself. My friends began teasing and harassing me to eat my segment but I told them no because it’s still alive and I’m going to allow it to regenerate.

In dream symbolism, a starfish can represent having many interests or projects, especially having too many of them. So it’s interesting that I was given only one segment in the dream, but it was the segment that regenerates itself. In a sense, maybe I’m telling myself that I shouldn’t be afraid to pursue my interests because my ideas and inspiration will replenish itself. At the same point, I need to make a decision and focus.

In light of that, soon, I will continue my writing. At the very least, I want to finish this project and then see what waits for me after that. There still may be a food truck in my future, just not right now.