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Today, I woke from a fall foggy stained slumber with a simple sentence singing lyrical circles around my head: “I have a dream.” And no—I know exactly what you’re thinking—I wasn’t recalling those famous words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. No, the sentence my mind kept singing to me was from Amanda Seyfried’s lyrical hum in the opening scene of Mamma Mia! And it got me thinking (as most everything does—I’m a serial over-thinker), why can’t I have my Mamma Mia moment, ABBA playing “Dancing Queen” in the background and all?

What am I looking for, you may ask (hint: it’s not my father)?

I’d kill for the opportunity to choose my dream job. To have potential employers vie for my attention, instead of the opposite where I’m sending out exhaustive résumé after exhaustive résumé with little back but an automated email that reads, “We enjoyed the opportunity to review your qualifications, but we regret to inform you that you’re not the right fit.”

When I read that response, my brain shuts down. Nice try, phantom email HR person, I know you didn’t even look at my résumé. Cue my never-ending eye roll.

I dream of two careers for myself.

In one version, I am a successful editor or project manager at a publishing company (either trade or educational). Another version of these dreams-cum-ideal careers has me as a full-time writer, contributing to edited volumes (as I’ve started to do in real life) and publishing my own novels and collected works. Why not both?

To be truthful, I am living out both of these realities in minor ways.

I am a freelance project assistant for a well-known author and scholar in the arts-based research community, and I’m also under contract to publish my first ever novel (almost halfway there!!). Both of these on top of my full-time day job. What I wouldn’t give to make this my full-time reality. Hell, I’d pray to the gods (unsarcastically, this time) if my life were so.

Again, this got me thinking. I kept a dream journal for most of college—which came in handy as my postmodern fiction professor told us we’d be constructing one for the semester sophomore year; I was already a step ahead, a-ha! But when all is said and done, what did those dreams become? In transcribing them in as much detail as I could recall—hours, or sometimes days later—what was their end result?

I was writing; they became stories.

I love meta stuff more than most people I know—it really gives me the jollies—so writing about writing is one of my favorite things ever (looking at you, Stephen King). And here’s where I close the circle. Perhaps these career aspirations aren’t just dreams, vague phantasms of what once was or is in my head. Maybe I can write them into existence, and by doing so, establish myself as a full-time writer.

Shalen Lowell

Shalen Lowell is an author and poet from southern Maine. They were also voted least likely to be an ENTJ Slytherin, but here we are.

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