Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Follow Your Dreams: Or Jumping Off Cliffs Is A Good Idea

By: Kathleen Pickering  http://www.kathleenpickering.com

Some folks dream in color. Other’s fly in dreams. Me? I’ve jumped off a cliff and lived to tell the story.

desert cliff

Yeah. It was the most exhilarating dream I’ve ever had; even better than the ones where I can fly.

Since Kathryn Lilly brought up dreams in last Tuesday’s blog, I would like to show how dreams can be instrumental in sorting emotions, planning personal goals and life direction.

But, before I continue, I must say how happy I was to meet our fellow TKZ blogger, John Gilstrap, at Sleuthfest in Orlando. John is a very cool dude who I liked on sight and look forward to seeing again. We had an excellent conversation with authors Heather Graham, Traci Hall, Michael Meeske and Jeffrey Deaver. We discovered that writers, no matter what the genre, share a healthy respect for the inexplicable.

That said, let’s apply some logic to the outlandish. Our dreams. (Please note, nightmares will be left for another time.)

My dream went like this:

I was standing on this cliff looking out over the desert. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not good with heights. I’m better since that volcano hike, but at the time of this dream, I was still downright chicken. I was, however, awed enough to appreciate the spectacular view.

goals3(Photo: Peter Lik)

Once again, I was feeling my smallness compared to this extraordinary world before me when this voice whispered into my ear, “Jump. Trust me. You will be okay.”

I replied, “What are you nuts? I can’t jump.”

The voice said, “No. You can do this. Just jump. As you are falling, start running in mid air. Pump your arms and legs. When your big toe touches the ground, keep running. The momentum will carry you forward.”

I answered that I absolutely could not and would not not jump.

The voice said, “Trust me.”

Now, in my dream, I’m not sure who was speaking, but he seemed familiar—and wise. My guess is that since I was dreaming, I decided to take the chance.

I jumped.

My stomach jolted. I couldn’t breathe. Then I realized I wasn’t following instructions. So, I started pumping my arms and legs and don’t you know? When my toe hit the ground, my momentum pushed me forward and I ran across the desert floor like the Road Runner leaving a plume of dust in his wake. I ran and ran until I realized I’d made it, and stopped.

RockyMy adrenaline was so high I started jumping up and down. I could have been Rocky on the steps of city hall, screaming, “I did it!”

I felt this heady bliss all the way home until I told my family that I had jumped from the cliff. Everyone started yelling at me. Things like: “What? Are you insane? You jumped from a cliff?”

Incredulity Or, “What would you say if one of your children came home and announced they just jumped off a cliff? You expect us to be glad for you? What you did was crazy!”

I thought about it. Saw their logic, and had to agree. Then walked away--only momentarily deflated.

These people I love didn’t get it.

Now, I’m still dreaming here. The fact that my family didn’t get that I had just accomplished a super-human feat, which we all get to do especially in dreams, disturbed me. This was a dream! My family should have realized we were all in this dream and cheered for me, dream style! (I will go on record that my family in this dream simply represented folks I trust. I’m not pointing fingers, here. I promise.)

negative thinkingBut, their reaction opened my eyes to the fact that in the past, I had permitted other people to impact my life’s direction with their ostrich-like fears and negativity.

Not any longer. I woke up from this dream so much more clearer. Just because others may not understand my point of view does not mean I am wrong. I can only celebrate the differences.

This dream confirmed to me that I am willing to go over the top to discover myself, my capabilities, my talents. For me, jumping from that cliff in a dream was the same as unzipping my skin and letting the real Kathleen step out.


Taking that step off the cliff not only cemented the direction and the attitude I have towards my personal goals, it symbolized to me that my goals are possible. No matter what the odds.

To this day, that dream stays with me. My leap of faith in my dream is bringing me the results I want in real life.

Proof? I received a call from my agent on Friday. Since my first sale, we’ve agreed to a new, three-book deal with Harlequin. Those three books coupled with the Nocturne anthology I’m writing with Heather Graham and Beth Ciotta for 2013 will make four books released in the next two years with my name on them.

Yeah. I’m grateful. And, I’m stoked. I’m going to be busy writing and will love every minute. 

My message to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet? Dare to dream. And, dream big. I might not be there yet, but I’m on my way. I knew it when I took that first step.

So, have you had any dreams that helped you trust yourself and remain fearless against all odds? If not, what is your greatest personal challenge in achieving your goals?

Let me know.

Write on!

xox, Piks



  1. Yay! Congratulations on your new deals, Piks. I'm so excited for you. Can't wait to hear more as you make progress.

    Hell, if you're gonna do a face plant off a cliff, that beautiful desert scene is definitely the way to go. Worked for Roadrunner. Meep meep.

  2. Outstanding post, Piks! I'm channeling that Gratitude name badge this morning.

    Getting to the point where you don't let others "Should" on you has been a journey for me too. I love your imagination.


  3. Kathleen, first, last and in between, congratulations on those deals. Cream rises to the top. Bubbly all around at the Pickering household.

    I have a problem with heights as well. My ultimate nightmare is to be trapped in a casket full of spiders as it's being pushed over the edge of a cliff.

    My biggest problem in achieving goals is time management and procrastination. I'm going to work on both of them tomorrow in the morning, or in the afternoon.

  4. Your dream sounds fun Kathleen. The king I wish I'd been having lately.

    Its 3 am and I just woke from a second fitful night of dreaming. Sunday night I think it was brought on by the movie I watched before bed, the dark Japanese anime Appleseed. It was dark and brooding and scarier than the movie, something about a war in my home town. I was able to go back to sleep after that one though.

    Tonight's dream was two fold. Two dreams for the nightmare of one.
    The first dream seemed to last from shortly after I closed my eyes until I woke then slept again to have the second. It was a collage of scary images of an invasion by China. It was happening all over the country but I could only see my part of it, and it was bloody and violent. This dream may have been an extension of one I had last fall, which is the basis of my new novel of the same topic.

    The second was filled with dark images of someone kidnapping my sister and me killing one of them. I awoke before I could find the other kidnapper and rescue her, don't know what happened to them.

    I dream a lot, almost nightly, but I don't really like having dreams like these. I did recently finish narrating a rather scary horror novel (Dead Souls, by Michael Laimo). And also wrote a character for bestselling horror sci/fi author Scott Sigler's podcast "The Crypt"that as it turns out is becoming a primary character in his own next novel, which I am told will include my own name on the cover.

    Perhaps I need to stop watching the military channel, thinking about war, and maybe start hanging in circles other than horror writers and sci/fi anime.

  5. Re: previous post-

    "The kind I wish I'd been having lately."

  6. Joe, OMG! No wonder you write crime and mystery. Holy smokes!

    You know,when I got off that volcano I was desperate for an outhouse. (Sorry, TMI.) But, there I am in this little plastic box and what do I see coming down the door and heading for me as fast as it's legs can carry it? Yes. A big, fat ugly spider intent on some body heat. Talk about feeling left with you pants down! I can't imagine a confined place like a coffin filled with arachanids---and then falling off a cliff.

    I picture the coffin covered with rubber so it bounces--and your body weight crushes all the spiders. Ewe.

    Your challenges are the same as mine, my friend. So, tomorrow or the next day, when you get over your procrastination, happy writing!! I'll put myself on the same schedule. :)

    BTW, I'm going online to buy your latest book right now. You win with the best nightmare.

  7. Jordan, I know. Peter Lik creates some amazing landscapes. My goal is to buy his "Ancient Spirit". That is when I'm really rich. LOL!

    Paula--Thanks, girl. I love your "don't let others 'should' on you." I'm putting that one on my vision board. :)

  8. Oh, my Basil! You've been conflicted during your resting time. No fun! On one hand, while your dreams are disquieting, they certainly are producing fodder for fiction.

    I remember when we chatted on your radio interview you had mentioned while you were at a stop sign/light, you had a flash of a soldier kneeling in the dust. The image started one of your books. I'm thinking, maybe you were a warrior in a past life? (Hey, you never know!)

    Or, maybe with these dreams, something is challenging your personal sanctuary. I mean, kidnappers disappearing with your sister? That's rough. You're not eating beef jerky around midnight or anything are you??

    Maybe you should watch National Geographic for a while. I'm just sayin'.

  9. Kathleen, congrats to you!

    WOW, you guys have had some vivid dreams. The off-the-cliff one would scare the daylights out of me, though I'm not especially scared of heights (but do have a healthy respect for them). Hearing Basil's, I'm glad I don't dream that often. Yikes!

    RE: Greatest personal challenge in achieving my goals: self-confidence. I go through the cycle of doubting my ability to create good stories endlessly. Only way to combat it I know of is to keep writing, keep showing my work, and keep improving.

    Thanks by the way, for the pic of Spock. The Immunity Syndrome was a great episode!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Whoa . . . comment V1.0 had a big bit of weirdness in it. Let's try V2.0.

    Awesome Kathleen!

    We'll leave my sleepy-time dreams out of it. They tend toward fear and betrayal. Daytime dreams on the other hand . . .

    Yesterday I had my umpteenth interview with a local newspaper that is starting up next month. I decided to go big or go home and outlined my proposed social media presence for the paper (run by me of course)and I think they are going to go for it. Along with print ink as assigned. I should know this week.

    The dream I am chipping away at is to be able to replace one of my three part-time jobs with writing for fun and pay.

    "Do or do not, there is no try."


  12. Jump Piks jump! I'm right next to you! AAHHHHHHHHH!

  13. Inspiring post, Kathlees! When I was young I knew I wanted to be a writer, but everyone told me it was an impractical dream because it was next to impossible to become a published author. For a time, I believed them, until I realized it was indeed impossible if you never try. And so I did.

  14. Major-super congratulations on your book deal!

    My dreams would normally be considered nightmares by most people. They typically involve vampyres or some demonic creature hell bent on my extermination for whatever reason.

    Most of the time I am running from them trying to figure a way out of that particular mess without completely losing it.

    Occasionally it will be me trying to survive in some hellish environment or post-apocolyptic landscape. That one almost always involves confrontations of the bloodiest kind.

    But then I started going to a doctor. She gave me happy pills and I'm all better now.

    It's really kinda funny, when I started taking anti-depression medication I started having more normal types of dreams where I did fun things like racing cars and flying jetpacks and stuff.

    I called these my dreams from Bizzarro World, because I had gotto so used to being chased or killing something.

    Now it's kinda fun dreaming, although I don't remember them half the time, and when I do, it's mostly just as an impression or a feeling.

    From time to time I will remember a dream when I wake up, and those are ones that are especially memorable.

  15. Such great comments, everyone!

    BK-- Self-confidence is a tough nut to crack because no one is going to give it to you. You gotta grab it for yourself. I suggest you zip right open and stuff yourself full of it. Some of the most talented writers are the most shy. GO FOR IT!!!

    Terri--just from your posts I can see you're on a win-win track. You go, girl!!

    Mary--Holding your hand all the way!! xoxox

  16. Allison--as one of my most favorite regency romance authors I have to say I am soooo glad you didn't listen to them!!

    John--Hmmmm. I'm a firm believe that those how have nightmares of being hunted/stalked are our planet's future heroes being plagued by underworld forces to kept them from getting their job done. I'm just sayin' . . .

    I'll bet you are uber-sensitive, John. Hope you're writing. I'd love to read your work.

  17. Wonderful dream and story to go along with the dream. Listening to the subconscious or hidden messages in dreams can be very rewarding.

    P.S. I once had a dream about a talking coyote, who said everything would be OK. That vivid memory still stays with me.

  18. What an awesome feeling this must be! I just published a book and have another in the works, but no book deal.

    Following your dreams is so difficult, I think because there's no necessity in it. After all, they say that necessity breeds action. I think that's where passion comes in. They say that addicts can't quit their vice because their brain thinks they need their addictive agent to survive. The mind literally thinks it will die without it.

    Well, the same is true with passions. Your mind thinks you can't survive without it, and that's what makes passion addictive. Which is why it's so important to start. Because if you don't start, you can't hook your mind on the passion.

    Peace be the journey!



  19. Glen, thanks so much for posting your insights. All I can say is, write on, brother!

    I am, indeed, addicted to my passion--and so very grateful I have one. Oh, wait, is that two or three?!

  20. You are my favorite cliff jumper! I believe you can not only jump off cliffs and keep running, but that you could make that run into a marathon. Your positive energy and cheerful attitude have carried you far and will continue to do so.

    Congratulations on achieving your dream, my friend. I'm so proud of you and your determination to never give up!!!