This is an excerpt from my autobiography:
Often, I’d have dreams, vivid dreams, usually in color. I’d write those down too. I could tell when the dreams meant something and when they were just regular dreams. One warm summer night I had this dream:
I awoke to find Mary Shelley in my bedroom. When I got up to put on a housecoat, I found Ernest Hemingway standing by the corner of the room.
Mary was trying to explain to Ernest how she came up with the idea for Frankenstein.
Surprisingly, she said that she drew his character and the idea for him from her husband, a neighbor and a friend … Frankenstein was actually a composite of people she knew.
Just then, Shakespeare appeared. He began to go on and on about how much the live theater had changed. He seemed very upset about the changes. “She ain’t what she used to be,” he claimed, quoting an old song lyric.
I remember thinking that he shouldn’t know the lyrics to “The Old Gray Mare”. It was written in 1843 and Shakespeare died in 1616.
I watched Mary, Ernest and William for a few more moments, listening as they discussed the theater. Finally, I told myself that I must be dreaming. So I left the bedroom and walked out onto the front porch. The moon was full and the night breeze was warm and smelled of herbal grasses.
Much to my dismay, I glanced around to see that the trio had followed me. Also, they had been joined by Edgar Allen Poe. He was always one of my favorites and influenced my writing quite considerably, so I was eager to speak to him.
Edgar turned out to be a glum fellow who suffered with depression. He didn’t say very much at all. He seemed apprehensive about something.
We stood on the porch for a while, just relaxing and talking about our favorite characters and stories. “Why don’t we go make coffee?” I finally offered. “If we’re going to stay up all night talking, we need some coffee.”
“Splendid idea!” remarked William, and he headed for the door.
“I’d rather have whiskey,” Ernest said, “but oh well!” And he too headed for the door.
Edgar pushed in front of Ernest and Mary, making his way back into the house. He went straight to the kitchen as if he’d lived there all his life, opened the refrigerator door and found a pitcher of orange juice. “Mmm, I’ll have this,” he said, going to search for a glass.
When everyone had their drink of choice, we headed back out onto the front porch to enjoy the cool night air.
“Get the door will you, William?” said Mary with a cup of coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other.
“Sure enough, Mary. And please … just call me ‘Bill’. William sounds too formal.”
Each of us found a chair and pulled them into a circle of sorts and there we sat in the dark drinking our beverages and discussing art, music and literature. Ernest kept wanting to talk about how much life had changed for “gay” people since his time, while William … or Bill shared his latest idea for a new play.
The next morning when I awoke, I lay in bed for an hour, going over the whole dream in my mind. It had seemed so real and I honestly felt like I knew those writers from then on. They were my muses now. They would come to assist me whenever I was struggling with a story. They helped me craft my stories from then on.