Thank you, Donny Osmond. I can say in part that I owe my romance writing career to him. He prompted that first spark of infatuation in this young girl’s heart (well, someone had to do it eventually). I’d better explain. Yes, they called it puppy love (the name of one of his songs). When I was a teenager, Donny Osmond was “it.” My first celebrity crush. To be perfectly clear, I wasn’t one of those girls who followed the Osmonds on tour in the summer, hoping to get a chance to meet him in person (although I had a friend who did that very thing). Because of Donny’s win on Dancing with the Stars a few years ago, most of you in the younger generation might actually have heard of him. Personally, I think Donny is every bit as handsome now as he was then (photo, below right). I saw him recently on Good Morning, America! and he’s been in show business for 50 years! He’s certainly proven his staying power with hugely successful gigs in Branson, Missouri, with his other family members as well as sold-out shows with his sister, Marie, in Las Vegas. He’s been a married man for many years and has raised a brood of children and is now also a grandfather. While other teenage idols have come and gone (think Michael Jackson), Donny is a survivor.
But, back in the day, Donny was the epitome of the cute, wholesome guy-next-door. Think Justin Bieber for the early 1970s –well, the way Justin was a couple of years ago before he started his wild, rebellious phase–and you get the picture (or just look at this photo on the left; I think there’s actually a resemblance, don’t you?). With those silky dark locks, sparkling eyes, smooth voice and famously humongous Osmond chops, I was convinced Donny was crooning to me, and only me, when he sang – even from the television – with an audience of millions.
Should it be any surprise that one of the best dreams of my life (I still remember it all these years later) involved summer camp, Donny, and a big shade tree. But that’s not all. We talked, he asked about my life and really seemed to care, and then (gasp!) he kissed my cheek. Ever so gently and tenderly. SIGH. Alas, yes, it was all a dream. The sweetest dream of my life, and I still remember it all these years later. The innocent dream of a young girl, as it should be, as opposed to some of the men held up as heroes in today’s books and films. But, of course, that topic is a post for another day.
I’ve been told it’s one of those pesky, unwritten “rules” that you don’t incorporate dreams into your fiction writing. And whatever you do, do not–I repeat, do NOT–start out a book with a dream. It’s like the kiss of death. I remember starting one of my manuscripts that way a few years ago, and I thought it was a great hook. What’s so wrong with having a gorgeous specimen of a man ride up on a white horse, on a cliff, by the ocean, all blond and Nordic-looking (or tall, dark and handsome), with riding breeches and one of those white, billowy shirts ruffling in the sea breeze and whipping through all that hair…it was a prelude to the heroine actually meeting this guy in-the-flesh. Brilliant, right? The guy was her dream come-to-life, you see. So what if that same story, or a variation of the same, had already been told a thousand different ways in the history of romance novels (mostly secular romance novels, it shall be duly noted)? Hey, this was my story, and it would be a Christian story and amazingly distinct from all the rest!
A few years ago, I bought one of those books that supposedly explains dreams. I think it was a bargain book somewhere, and I picked it up. My bookshelves are full of such bargains, but you never know where books filled with strange, odd or fun facts might come in handy. Although I have not spent much time looking through this book, in my brief perusal of it, I found it quite fascinating. Of course, dreams have been around since biblical times. Dreams (which occur at night when one is in deep sleep) and visions (which occur when one is awake) are mentioned many times in the Bible. God certainly used dreams to give warnings, to encourage, and to reveal prophecy.
The dreams we usually remember are those right before we wake up. Some who study dreams suggest that even though our bodies slow down to rest at night, our minds continue to work. It’s also said that we often dream about things we see, hear or read right before we fall asleep. I know that’s the case with me. Most of my dreams are of the boring variety, however, and usually involve me being late for an event (like a college exam, airplane flight or the like) or I can’t find something and I’m in a panic. When I was in college, I vividly recall a dream where I was jamming with Kenny Loggins (fabulous musician that I am–not) in his environmentally-friendly home built into the side of a hill with solar panels. Oh, and yes, let’s not forget Brooke Shields was there (she was my roommate, you see, although not at Princeton). Brooke, Kenny and I (and a few members of his band) were groovin’ and movin’ to the tunes, baby. Just gettin’ high on life (seriously, that was all). Okay, I digress…
I can’t help but wonder what, if anything, God wants us to learn from our dreams. If we remember them, surely they mean something important in our lives? Did my dream of summer love with Donny Osmond at camp when I was 13 mean I’d grow up to marry him? Of course not. For one thing, he’s Mormon and lived in Utah. I lived in Indiana and am not Mormon. It would never have worked, anyway. I did, however, serve his brother, Jimmy, and their mother, Olive, ice cream at a Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor in Louisville, Kentucky. I only worked at that place for two weeks (my shortest-ever job; let’s just say I was never cut out to be a waitress–but I quit of my own volition, just so we’re clear), and yet I served Donny’s sibling and their revered mother, Olive. They were very quiet but gracious.
I think the most important thing is to remember those sweet dreams with fondness. Maybe they’re a gift in disguise. Maybe I’m also out-in-left-field here. I honestly don’t know what, if anything, dreams mean. But that book purporting to explain them sure is fun even though I don’t take a lot of stock in it. I think it’s like everything else in life–if we dream something that disturbs us for some reason, we need to take it to the Heavenly Father, lay it before Him and ask Him to reveal to us its meaning or else give us resolution. Then we move on. But for those dreams that make us smile…well…
Sorry, Donny. It was great while it lasted, but it was time to live my life. You sure gave me a wonderful experience I’ll never ever forget, and for that I’ll always remember you with a smile. Thanks for the memory. How about you, readers? Care to share a dream? If you have any thoughts or comments about what dreams mean in our lives, I’m open to suggestions. I don’t have the answers, but I always love to hear your thoughts!
Blessings until next time, my friends.