"Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awoke, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man."
When I awoke from my dream, I didn't think I was a butterfly. But I was confused as to where I was and whether what I had dreamt had really happened. Was it a memory? Or was it just a dream?
The experience inspired me to write Her, part fiction, part reality, mostly a surreal download of what I recalled from my dream. The piece was a tad short for even a short story, so I filed it in my "writing ideas" folder and ... forgot about it.
Until twenty-five years later, when in September 2017 I was asked to review a collection of microfiction, Loopholes by Susan McCreery, for Writing NSW. In doing so, I realised microfiction was the perfect genre for my short-short story.
So I dusted off and polished my microfiction piece and published it on Tall And True. I wrote Her back when I was just thirty-years-old, I'm now in my mid-fifties. But reading it today, I still recall the intensity of the dream and the confusion of waking from it. Perhaps it's just as well I didn't dream I was a butterfly!
Have a read of Her and let me know what you think of my microfiction dream.
© 2018 Robert Fairhead
NB: An earlier version of this post also appears on the RobertFairhead.com blog.
Sydney, NSW, Australia.
A middle-aged dad and dog owner, Robert is the Founding Editor and a writer for Tall And True and blogs at RobertFairhead.com. He enjoys reading, writing, playing the guitar, walking his dog, and watching Aussie Rules Footy with his son. Robert has worked as an electrician, sales and marketing rep, computer programmer, dog trainer and (wanna-be) writer. He also had a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.