The Mansion

by Travis Hellstrom

  I have been having a recurring dream for two years.

I am in a mansion, one of those beautiful big houses that you see in Disney movies or a Hardy Boys novel. It has hidden passageways between rooms like the den and the kitchen, secrets around every corner and what seems to be an endless amount of rooms.

I’m not sure who owns the mansion, but I don’t feel like a trespasser in it. Inside with me are my family and friends, always in different rooms doing their own thing. Nobody minds that I’m there, but they aren’t very preoccupied with my presence either. Everyone is happy and it’s fun to go between rooms to see what everyone is up to.

Many of the rooms are empty, especially my favorite one. I can’t always find it in my dream, but I’m always on the lookout for it. The last time I had my dream I found the room right away and spent almost all my time in it.

The Library

It’s connected to a hidden passageway and that’s the only way in. I can’t remember where that passageway is but luckily sometimes I just happen upon it. It twists and curves and opens up with a soft, heavy oak door with an old golden doorknob. It’s almost always naturally lit inside the room, with sunlight streaming in from four-story windows on the entirety of the south-facing side of the room. Along the eastern wall, which you face when you enter the room, is a three-story bookcase that lines the enter wall. It has one of those old-timey ladders that rolls along the wall and a walkway along the second and third level so you can jump off the ladder and walk along the bookshelves easily. The room itself has levels, as I mentioned the windows are four-stories high but the wall of books is three stories. The entire room feels like an open amphitheater in a huge semicircle and there are three levels to the semicircle.

When you enter the room the first level is full of comfort, old worn leather chairs and sofas with small tables to hold books and cups of coffee or tea are strewn about throughout the first space. Small lamps and ottomans sit close by so you can have soft light to read by and an easy way to put your feet up as you sit. It’s soft and inviting throughout the entire first level, the perfect place to walk into and splosh down for a nap or to completely relax.

When I’ve had enough of that on the sides of the room are small steps up to the second level where there are larger homemade-looking tables made of solid wood. This level is for getting things done. It’s the perfect place to set down my leather bag and pull out my notebook. There is plenty of space to spread things out, work, write, ideate, and put things together.

But naturally the third level is a better place to start when it comes to ideas. A few more steps up and you are in the idea space. Here there are the bookshelves I mentioned before all along the eastern wall, but to the left all along the northern side are walls covered in whiteboard paint so you can write right on the wall. The walkways from the book wall extend to the white wall across all three levels and ideas can go on for as far as you can see. Here there is plenty of space for every idea I could ever have, plenty of markers to write them down and lots of erasers so I can clear the space every day and begin again at anytime.

It amazes me that I never find anyone else in this room - clearly the most amazing room in the house. Maybe it’s because it’s so hard to find. Or maybe, I just realized the last time I had this dream, it’s not a room at all. Maybe it represents something.

What is this mansion?

What is this room?

Why do I have this amazing dream and then not have it again for months and months?

The Answer

I've thought about it a lot and think I have some answers.

The mansion is my life.

The room is my dream job.

And the dream is something I move closer to and farther away from in my real-life every day. That’s why I only have it every once in a while. It’s a reminder.

That’s pretty intense, subconscious mind. Good work.

I’m sure the dream will change as I change, but for now it’s a wonderful blueprint.

It’s time I start building the library.