My favorite quote from high school days came from John Keats’ poem Ode on a Grecian Urn. I remember studying it in senior English class. In the second stanza, Keats wrote, “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard / Are sweeter.”
What does it mean? The idea is that a “heard melody” (music you hear) may be sweet, but an “unheard melody” (music you only imagine) can be as sweet as your imagination lets it be. Or, dreams are better than reality.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve tempered my belief in dreams being better than reality. Sometimes the reality of my life has been horrible, but mostly it’s been pretty darn good.
Yet, the place where I still believe in dreams is in my writing.
This is how I answered the interview question:
Recently, during my riding lesson, I rode a very expensive, five-gaited American Saddlebred horse. This horse is a champion, but now retired from showing and in a lesson program. The mare was professional. Her gaits were smooth. She was responsive and game. It was like riding a dream. I said to myself that I’ll never be able to afford a horse like this. But my characters can. I can create characters who live out my dreams. I can create heroines who are stronger and spunkier than I am. In short, I can make my stories into the world of my dreams.