I was on American Idol!!

I know what you're thinking (at least those of you who know me personally), you're thinking I'm too old (true, my American Idol dreams died five years ago).  You're also thinking I can't sing that well (undeniably true), but neither of those things stopped me from having a very realistic dream in which I was performing on American Idol.   I have new respect for those contestants and what they go through now that I've "experienced" it.  Let me tell you, it's not as easy as it looks. 

My journey on American Idol started with the contestants  sitting in the audience, not the red room. It was our first live performance. I was sitting on the end of the front row, waiting from my turn when they went to a commercial break.  Knowing I was next, I looked down to smooth out my clothes and found, to my horror, that I was wearing a long, stretchy, cotton-knit skirt, ugly, dirty tennis shoes, and a oversized, wrinkled t-shirt.   How could I have chosen these clothes and not even realized what I was wearing, I thought? They were ugly and wrinkled and  made me look fat! So, without permission, I darted from my chair and down the hall into the dressing room to find something else to wear, because America could not see me in that!

As I tore through my suitcase, I found more of the same, wrinkled oversized t-shirts, stretched out tube socks, stretchy skirts and pants.  The only exception was a green, ribbed, v-neck shirt and a pair of designer jeans.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  I was saved.  I ripped off my hideous ensemble and started putting on the clothes.  Down the hall I could hear Ryan talking to America.  The commercial break was over.  I panicked, I still wasn't finished dressing.  Outside a producer yelled through the door (not nice things).  I grabbed the waist band of my jeans and tugged on them.  I remember thinking that I would just have to go barefoot and pretend like it was intentional because there was not time for shoes.  The jeans stuck at my hips.  I pulled harder.  I was frantic.  I could hear Ryan stalling.  Finally they inched over my hips, and I was just barely able to get them zipped.  I am going to make it, I thought with a surge of hope.

Then I noticed my pockets.  The were bulging out, the interior fabric flapping around my hips like tiny useless wings.  I grabbed them and tried to stuff them back in, but there was no room.  The levi fabric was hugging my body like a second skin.  I shoved harder, but I only managed to tuck the fabric back inside the very top edge of the pockets.  It looked like I was carrying wadded up socks on each side.  If only I had a longer shirt, I thought, but there was no more time.  I would just have to risk it or lose my chance forever.

I walked toward the stage as fast as the confining jeans would let me.  Ryan looked at me out of the corner of his eyes, ever the professional, his relief didn't show on his face, but I knew I was going to hear about my stunt later.  He introduced me, handed me the microphone.  "Take it away," he said.  I took it from his hand and turned to face the audience and cameras.  I had made it in the nick of time.  I didn't look great, but at least I didn't look like a hobo either.  I didn't ruin my chance.  I took a deep breath as the music started to play, and then it hit me; I had no idea what to sing.  In all my worry about wardrobe I'd forgotten that I didn't even prepare a song.  And what was worse, I realized, I didn't know how to sing either.  How could I have forgotten that?  Humiliation washed over me, but fortunately that was where the dream ended.  Thank goodness, because I don't think I could have kept my composure through the judges comments after that.  You know how in dreams you just know things.  Well, I knew that they judges were not fans of mine. 

When I woke up the next morning I have to admit I was a little confused (not to mention stressed). Why would I have such a strange dream?  I'm not one to put much stock in dream interpretation, but I do think our lives can sometimes influence our dreams.  So just for kicks, I decided to investigate the possible causes of my stress dream. I came to two conclusions:

1) I obviously take my American Idol watching a little too seriously (and I had watched it that night).

2) This whole getting ready to query thing may be more anxiety provoking than I consciously realized.

There are all kinds of possible parallels I could draw between my performance anxiety (and lack of preparation) and querying, and I have been drawing them, but I would be curious to hear what you guys think?  Was my American Idol experience just a metaphor for my querying fears? Do dreams really mean anything?


  1. LOL, don't you hate those kind of dreams? Too funny. I love the image of the jean pockets that won't tuck back in. :)

    As for the querying connection, I think it totally makes sense. You're putting yourself out there to be analyzed, just like the Idol contestants are. But I don't think your dream means you aren't really ready to start querying. Not at all.

    We always create the worst, most stressful scenarios for our dreams. Before my wedding, I kept having dreams that I was sharing these passionate kisses with various male movie stars, and my husband-to-be would always, always walk in on us.

    I worried a little about what it meant, but clearly, there was no secret meaning or hidden prophecy. (Alas.) (j/k) ;)

  2. Yes, definitely a querying nightmare! :)

    Never had a singing dream, but I often dream I am in a splay and forgot to learn my lines! Very stress-inducing!

  3. Ren,
    How about we swap and I get your dreams? Except you can keep the husband walks in part. ;)

    I think that is essentially the same dream. Isn't it that certain dreams are so common. I guess it just underscores the fact that we all share certain feeling and fears as humans.

  4. Of course, your dreams mean something. It's your subconscious speaking to you. However, what it says is only what you think, not necessarily what is true. So, yes your dream probably is connected to querying, but only in the sense you worry about it.

  5. Okay, first of all, your subconscious needs a little education. You would not run to your suitcase, you would run to wardrobe. Come on, Candi, at least dream it accurately, you know how seriously I take my American Idol. And no red room?? The horror! :)

    I love the description of your two different outfits. Very funny. Great dream. Well, maybe not for you, but for us. :)

  6. I just keep re-reading your Fablehaven post and enjoying your marvelous illustrations!

    Anyway, your subconscious sounds like it's working overtime. Tell it that sleep time is a sacred cow, untouchable and precious! :-)

  7. Linda,
    That was pretty deep. Kind of like a self-fulfilling meaning, right?

    I DID run to wadrobe, but the only thing in there was my suitcase. It was very disturbing!

    I'm so glad you enjoyed that post. :)
    Sleep time is a sacred cow! I love it. I'm going to repeat that before I go to sleep at night.

  8. I think it's the feeling of your future being somewhat out of your control. Whenever my future is more immediately uncertain than usual, I start to have "out-of-control" dreams. Even though I've been out of school for 4 yrs., my dreams often happen there. I'm usually partially naked, can't find my class, haven't studied one bit for the final, haven't done any homework all year, or some combination of those. Sometimes I'm at work in my dreams, and I realize I haven't checked on my patient all night and they're probably dead. I'm always relieved to wake up from those as well... I guess it runs in the family:)

  9. My biggest fear is public singing. I'd sooner take my flabby body naked on a stage in front of one billion people than sing for them. That said, your nightmare really scared me, because for a second there, I thought you were going to sing naked.

  10. I want to know what hot movie stars Renee kissed in her dreams. I dreamt about being on American one year, and this was before I started writing so I couldn't draw any querying analogies with that one. I think I just REALLY wanted to be a rock star.

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  12. Nicki,
    I used to have stress dreams when i was a waitress. They look like nothing compared to your stress dreams about patients dying. I would hate those.

    That would be terrible, but I would take singing over nudity any day!!

    Me too! Ren needs to give details.

  13. You'll do great! I don't think you can ever be totally ready, but at some point you have to take that leap...so get leapin' lady! :)

    p.s. I'd like to thank your subconscious for sparing you those harsh judgments. Very kind of it.

  14. Ha, ha! That's great! I watch way too much American Idol too so I can relate. I think there are a million parallels between the American Idol process and the querying agent process. Seriously, querying is nerve wracking. But worth it. Definitely worth it. Good luck with querying! I hope it goes well.

  15. Candice.

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    Have a nice day

  16. This is hilarious Candace. Love how you photoshopped your picture in. I had a dream the other night that I was trying to get to a writer's conference, but I kept losing things and breaking things and missing buses - I never made it. Dreams are crazy! I try not to put too much meaning into them.

  17. I personally am a very lucid dreamer and took it upon myself to record all my dreams for a period of time. I wrote them all down, went to a self publishing house and published them under the title of "Illusions of Grandeur: 100 Nights of Dreaming"

    As I did that personal study, I learned a great deal about dreams and how we, at least I, end up associating daily things into dreams. Sometimes they are obvious and other times, not so much. Honestly, I wouldn't put it past you to have some deep seeded issue manifesting itself, but more than likely, it was simply a dream about something that you recently (and probably very often) encountered. I.E. American Idol.

    That's my 2 cents.

  18. I don't usually put a lot of stock in dreams. At least you know for sure (I take it) that you won't be a contestant on AI, so you can take a deep breath on that one.

    What you do with your query is still in your control. And I can tell you from experience, that worry doesn't speed up the process! Getting good feedback on your query helps, and of course having written a good book. :)

  19. Congratulations on making it to the top 10. But I gotta tell ya, if you wanna make it big, you gotta sing. Sorry. Sanjaya made it pretty far with his hair, but that's been done now.

  20. I often dream I am in a splay and forgot to learn my lines! Very stress-inducing!
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