Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Cowboy Took Me to Lunch

There are a lot of great writers in Kansas and a lot of friends and fans of those writers. Among the fans is a cowboy named Dick who calls himself the "sidekick" of western novelist and singer/songwriter Jon Chandler. Dick came to the 24th Annual Tallgrass Writing Workshop in late June to hang out with Jon, and I was very pleased to meet them both. Dick took Jon, me and some other workshop presenters to lunch one day, and when I rode back to campus with him I learned that cowboys keep rat poison in their cars. Dick kept his in a plastic dish behind the driver's seat. It looks like rabbit feed and keeps out the wire-chewing rodents that live all over the ranch.
At the Tallgrass Workshop, which is presented by the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University, I was happy to present my "Dreams & Creativity" seminar for the second year in a row. We talked about identifying shadow figures and how working with them can enrich the creative process, the unique characteristics of creative peoples' dreams, the meaning of the anima/animus or "soul image" and many other aspects of dreaming. As usual, many writers had dreams to talk about, and I was anxious to share a story about a writer who had attended the previous year.
Diana had contacted me a few months after last year's workshop to fill me in on the extraordinary dreams she had been having while working on a book about an unsolved murder case in Kansas. A series of lucid dreams gave her clues and other priceless insights about the crime. Her dreams continue to play such a big role in her writing that she is weaving that story into the book's narrative.