Tag Archive for: mystery book

Gay Yellen: Flying Dreams

Have you ever had a dream that returns again and again?

When I was a child, I had quite a few. Most of them were scary. In one, I was repeatedly shot by a mean-looking gangster. In another, a gorilla chased me down the street, getting closer and closer as I ran for my life. And then there was my worst high school nightmare, in which a report that was due for my next class was inside my locker, and I could not remember the combination to get it open.

Each dream startled me awake. I would bolt upright in bed, my heart racing. 

But one recurring dream from my elementary school years was a repeated delight,

because in that dream, I could fly.

My partner in the unforgettable adventure was my Aunt Dora.
We would hold hands and soar, light as air, over my school and the neighborhood below.
I entered this lovely dream more than once, and I wish I still could.
Those were the years when I was reading Mary Poppins books. I adored that magical flying governess and envied the lucky Banks children, because among performing other wonders, Mary let them fly with her.
Like Mary Poppins, Aunt Dora was a keen observer of people. When she expressed an opinion, it was almost always witty and to the point, which may be why my young dreaming brain chose her to be the flying nanny’s avatar.

In my twenties, when I had a little bit of spendable income and an apartment with empty walls to fill, I purchased an engraving by Graciela Rodo Boulanger. The moment I saw it, I had to have it, because it felt so similar to what I remembered of my long-lost dream.

The artwork still reminds me of the times when I could fly above the town with Aunt Dora. And though I’ve never consciously emulated her, I can sometimes feel her speaking through me, coloring a line of dialogue I’ve written with her gently barbed humor.

Perhaps, like Mary Poppins, she had a touch of magic, too.

What about you—have you ever dreamed you could fly? Please comment below.

Gay Yellen is the award-winning author of The Samantha Newman Mystery Series.

Gay Yellen: Imaginary Friends

Dickie George was his name, my first imaginary friend. I was the only four-year-old among a household of grown-ups, so I suppose he was my way of having a ready-made playmate whenever I wanted an adventure.

At the dinner table, I would regularly share news of his latest exploits with my Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, and teenage aunt. And they lovingly played along.

For me, there was no doubt that Dickie George was real. I was a well-mannered child, but he enjoyed all kinds of tricky activities, doing things that would have gotten an ordinary kid in trouble, like the time he stuck a broom in Grandma’s washing machine. Yes he did.

Somewhere along the way to kindergarten, I lost track of Dickie George. But he remains in the family lore of my childhood, and in my memory, too.

Later, when I encountered the brilliant Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, I would catch myself peering deeply into each panel in search of Dickie George, certain that he and Calvin were soulmates, and maybe even playmates. And Hobbes, too, all of them living together in the fantastical universe created by children’s imaginations.

I have new imaginary friends now, with names like Samantha and Carter and Lizzie and Gertie. As a grown-up author, I’m supposed to describe them as the characters in my books. Yet when I’m writing, they are as alive in my mind as Dickie George was so many decades ago. I often find myself following them and reporting on their activities, rather than forcing actions on them. Not always, but often enough that I can feel a trace of the little-girl me who once had an imaginary playmate. 

Did you have imaginary friends in your childhood?
What were they like? Please share in the Comments, below.

Gay Yellen is a former magazine and book editor. She writes the award-winning Samantha Newman Mystery Series: The Body Business and The Body Next DoorBook #3 is slated for release in 2021. Gay would love to hear from you, here, on Facebook, or at her website, GayYellen.com, where this post was originally published.