People find it appalling when I tell them the realtor asked me to leave the house when someone comes to look, but oddly, it doesn’t bother me. As a writer, I understand perfectly.
In the literary world, there is a thing called the “fictive dream.”
From a writer’s standpoint, the fictive dream is when the writer forgets the words s/he is writing and instead sees the characters as alive and moving about his/her mind as if in a dream. The more the writer works on the story, sharpening the words and images, the vision becomes “more lucid until reality, by comparison, seems cold, tedious, and dead.”– John Gardner, The Art of Fiction
From a reader’s standpoint, the fictive dream is when the reader is drawn into the story, so much so that the outside world fades from mind, and they are living the story like in a dream.
A skilled writer knows how to pull readers into the story. Unskilled writers often use various tactics that draw attention to themselves, and those self-aggrandizing elements destroy the fictive dream and catapult reader out of the story.
(I know the fictive dream more from a reader’s POV since I was a reader long before I was a writer, and I often let myself be pulled into the story. I know how to write to keep the dream going, but I have never experienced the writer’s fictive dream. Writing for me is more of a slog than a dream — I have to pull the story out of the slushpile I call my mind, one word at a time.)
In the real estate world, there is something called the buyer’s dream (and if there isn’t, there should be). Would-be buyers need to imagine themselves in the house, want to dream of their new life in the house they are looking at. If they can imagine it, they will be more inclined to buy. The presence (or near presence) of the person currently living in the house pulls lookers out of the dream, breaking their connection with the house and the real estate agent. This might not be fatal, of course, but it does make sense that buyers need to bond with both the house and agent, and the presence of anyone else breaks that bond.
So far, only one person came to look at the house when I was here. (The rest of the time, I’ve been gone.) With nothing else to do, I sat on the small wall dividing this property from the next, and basked. Scents of new blossoms drifted to me on quickening air currents, as did the sounds of birds singing in the warm sun.
I don’t often have an excuse to just sit and feel my connection to the world, and lately, I haven’t been creating the excuse.
I’d been dreading this particular phase in my life, having to live pristinely with everything packed out of sight and being at the mercy of lookers and realtors, but it seems as if the reality of the realty situation will have its merits.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.