"Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awoke, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man."
When I woke from my dream, I didn't think I was a butterfly. But I was confused as to where I was and whether what I had dreamed had really happened. Was it a memory? Or was it just a dream?
And from the dream, I wrote "Her", part fiction, part reality, mostly surreal.
The story was a tad short for even a short story, so it sat around in my "writing ideas" folder until I was asked to review a collection of microfiction, Loopholes by Susan McCreery for Writing NSW. And in doing so, I realised this was the perfect genre classification for my story!
Twenty-five years on, I dusted it off and published "Her" on Tall And True.
I was thirty when I wrote the piece, and I'm now in my mid-fifties. But reading it today, I still recall the intensity of the dream and the confusion of waking from it. Just as well, I didn't dream I was a butterfly!
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Please read "Her" and let me know what you think of my microfiction dream.
© 2018 Robert Fairhead
Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, RobertFairhead.com. He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.
Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story. In 2021, Robert published his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing competition, Twelve Furious Months, and in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months. And in 2023, he published an anthology of his microfiction, Tall And True Microfiction.
Besides writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.
He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.