“I had one of the most bizarre dreams last night,” I told my wife this morning as I came back into this world.
“Well, write it down because I don’t have time this morning. I got to go,” she responded as she put in an earring.
She was right. I had to get this down. If I smoked enough ganja to put Tommy Chong in the ground, I still wouldn’t come close to thinking up a story half as outlandish as the one my brain had come up with overnight. As a writer, even if 99.9% of the stuff I got down was total bunk, there might be one nugget of an idea in there that leads to a new character, an idea for a conflict, an entire storyline, a whole novel, or even a complete series. That nugget could be pure gold; or better, it could be priceless! You never know where the genesis of an idea comes from, so when the muse hands you a platter full of inception like this, you damn well better know what to do with it. I intended to squeeze my brain like a lemon and drain it of every ounce of the vision I could possibly recall from it.
I have a program on my computer called Dragon Naturally Speaking. It is a voice recognition program that allows me to talk into my headset and it put my words right into any word processing program. It’s perfect for a time like this because I can speak in a constant stream of consciousness and it records my thoughts faster than I could ever type them. So, I grabbed my headset and rushed to my computer to get as much of this dream down as I could possibly remember.
I flipped on the screen, and was greeted with a message that my anti-virus had stopped an attack on my computer. Of course, I thought that was a good thing, but apparently my virus protection was a little lax in its defense of my computer’s chastity. For when I clicked on the icon to open up Microsoft Word, I received an error message that the file extension .exe did not have a program associated with it.
For those of you don’t know what a .exe file is, these are program files that run any time you open a program; better yet, the .exe file is the program. So, when you want to open Internet Explorer, you click on the little blue “e” which is a link to iexplore.exe, the program file. These files are not associated with any other files. They are autonomous and act on their own, unlike files such as a .mp3 file which require another program such as Windows Media Player to use them. In this case, the Windows Media Player is a .exe file and the MP3 is associated with it.
Essentially my computer was rendered useless. None of my programs would activate. I could not pull up the Internet to search for a remedy to my problem because the .exe files for neither Firefox, nor Internet Explorer would work. Meanwhile, I was wasting precious brainpower that was supposed to be used remembering this fantastic dream on trying to fix my problem. The visions trickled away as though they were water I was futilely trying to hold in my cupped hands.
I hurried to my laptop to Google for the answer, and after a little while I found the fix. I downloaded the file to a flash drive, brought it back to my original computer, and applied the correction. What the virus had done was made a change to my system registry, which is to a computer what the 10 Commandments are to Judeo-Christian religions. The registry tells the PC how to use commands in a Windows environment. The virus erased a commandment from the registry about how Thou Shalt Use .exe files.
Much to my chagrin, the last details of my dream trickled away and splashed onto the ground. I managed to start a new file in my “Novel Ideas” folder, but my recollection of what I had dreamed was rudimentary at best. I hope that I can use some of this that I was able to remember in the future, but I can’t help but feel that somewhere in those forgotten details was where the priceless nugget was located. I guess the moral of this story is that in no matter how sophisticated our technology has become, sometimes you just can’t beat a pen and a pad of paper laying on your bedside table.
At least I got a good blog post out of this…