Beverly Cleary Gives Advice

Sometimes I’ll have a dream so particularly meaningful that I jot it down. Yesterday I came across a dream I’d scribbled down and totally forgotten about. I find it especially meaningful as I labor away at my memoirs:

I ran inside a house to retrieve a file folder of my writings and discovered Beverly Cleary (my favorite children’s author) sitting Indian style in the middle of the floor, holding the folder in her lap.  I gasped, and she motioned for me to sit down across from her.  As I did so, she reached for my hand and held it while she opened the folder.

Right on top was an old black and white of me when I was about 3.  “That’s me when I was little,” I said, and she nodded as if to say, I know, I know.

She removed the photo, and went through the papers underneath, setting aside the bottom most papers which were fiction.  She scooped up the rest, which was the unfinished manuscript of Beautiful Dreamer, and as she began reading it her whole face lit up.

“I keep trying fiction,” I explained, my hand inside of hers hot with embarrassment, “but I keep going back to my memoir.  I can’t seem to stay away from it.”

She looked joyfully into my eyes, and leaning forward said with intensity, “Oh, always go with what’s in your heart, with what’s begging to be written. Go with your heart!”

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