open the pages, read the words, savor the magic

Sunday Survey: Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This

Intro: What is the Sunday Survey?

I’ve explained all about Sunday Survey in my first ever Sunday Survey report. Click here to read the complete explanation. Basically it’s a book discussion I conduct on my Twitter account, @GeekInc18, that starts off with a basic book-related (or not so related) question such as “What’s your favorite book?” or “What do you think of book translations?” The result of our discussion goes up here to Bookerie.

SUNDAY SURVEY, 27 May 2012: Bookstores In Jakarta

This is the Sunday Survey session where we think of what we want to achieve, while at the same time let our imaginations run wild. A dream – big or small – is never something to be laughed at. Most times, it’s what keeps us running, sustaining us during tough times, and motivating us to further our successes.

And sometime ago I had the most beautiful one.

I was sitting in a crowded room on a very uncomfortable chair. In front of me was a table. On my left was as my best friend who was holding her Android phone up as she took pictures in the room. On my right, there was this very tall man and he was wearing a sleek black suit. He was so tall that I had to look up to see his face properly. First I noticed his combed back hair. Then I noticed his very distinctive jawline. And nose. And eyes. It wasn’t until a few moments later that I realized that this man was one of my new favorite actors: Benedict Cumberbatch. (Congratulations, Benedict, you have finally made your way into my head. I am not letting you out.)

Before I could ask him why he was sitting there, there was a voice from the other side of Mr. Cumberbatch. As soon as it spoke, the room quieted. The voice was familiar; it was speaking in English, but with Italian accent. Female. I had to get up from my chair to see who this voice belonged to. To my surprise, it belonged to my old teacher in Italy, the one responsible for introducing me to the European cinema, and made me the movie buff that I am today. The sight of her – even in my dreams – was very nostalgic, like I could break down and cry just from the fact that she was there again in my life even for a moment, albeit not physically.

But then Paola was saying something that I couldn’t quite catch at first. I turned to my best friend and whispered, “What is she saying? I don’t understand.”

My friend answered, “I think she’s speaking quite clearly. She’s saying that your book is a bestseller in over 80 countries and a movie is being made.”

Paola’s voice interrupted our exchange as she said, “Please welcome the author of the Dolls series, Mackenzie Snow!”

(Mackenzie Snow is one of my pseudonyms. I use this name at Goodreads. There’s a history behind the choosing of this name but I’ll save it for another time.)

Thunderous applause erupted in the crowded room. There were cheers, catcalls and whistles. Blinding flashes of light from cameras. The usual scene from a Hollywood red carpet, basically, but without the red carpet. I checked my surroundings and I was sure I was still inside that crowded room.

“Mackenzie, can you please tell us about what’s happening in your new book from the Dolls series that’s being launched tomorrow?” Paola asked as soon as the applause subsided.

“Well, Paola, first of all I must apologize for leaving everyone hanging.” I briefly wondered, whose voice is this? But looking down, I saw that I was holding a microphone. It was me who was speaking and I carried on saying, “But I promise you the second book will not be as melancholy. It would be more adventurous as the characters will meet new people and these people either bring trouble with them or create one for them.”

And I went on and on, explaining about this book about genetically engineered dolls that sounded completely fantastical and macabre, filled with characters that were like my own friends because I have planned and plotted their lives in real life in a notebook full of notes for that book I was going to write. Paola asked a few more questions and I answered them all (Will we learn something about your lead character’s godfather in this book? Yes. Will she get the attention of her love interest? No, not yet, she still has so far to go. Will she ever learn the truth about her past? Maybe, if she can piece the puzzle together. And so on…)

Then Paola ceased the barrage of questions and said, addressing Mr. Cumberbatch, “Benedict. As I understand it, you’re reading the audio book version of Mackenzie’s second book.”

Mr. Cumberbatch nodded as the audience applauded. “I’m also reading the first book in the series. The audio version of the first book has not been recorded yet although there were plans for it last year, so now that I’m on board, I will do both books.”

“Have you read the books before?”

“Yes, I have. They’re fantastic. And I also know that it has been optioned for a movie.”

Believe me when I say that my dream self was as surprised as I was when I heard about the book being adapted into a movie. I even turned to Mr. Cumberbatch and, in a trembling voice, asked, “A movie? Who’s adapting it? Who’s directing? Who’s writing? Who’s playing in it?”

This, apparently, was the cue for the cast and crew of the future adaptation of my so-called book came out one by one, Comic-Con style. Paola first called the director’s name, then the writer’s. (Co-writer, actually. The director was also a writer.) And the actors. They were, in order of appearance, Marc Foster, Chris Colfer (co-writer), Martin Freeman, Rupert Grint, Emily Browning, Evanna Lynch and Megan Fox. (Yes, all of my favorites.)

And of course this was the point in the dream where I started sobbing emotionally in front of everyone. In front of my former teacher. In front of my best friend. In front of the movie people I admire. And I just couldn’t stop because I feel like I’ve already made it.

Even more bizarre still, the moment I opened my eyes and woke up from the dream, I realized that my eyes were wet I wasn’t surprised that I found myself crying in sleep – my dreams have always been vivid enough to cause a reaction in real life as soon as I wake up – but I was surprised that I cried at all from such a silly dream. Because apparently I want so much to be a writer whose stories get to be told in audio books by Benedict Cumberbatch and adapted into a screenplay by Chris Colfer that I cried from the intense longing and mere wish of it.

Obviously, this is not the most realistic dream of all. I can achieve the writing and getting published part – hard but not improbable. But to be received as the next J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins? That would be completely impossible. Like a dream. (And there’s the phrase!) And to have the most important people in my life, such as my old mentor and my best friend, share the success with me? Even more dauntingly difficult. Because I fear that they might not still be around if/when I achieve that dream.

The idea that I have a dream that big that it made me want for it so bad? That’s just simply frightening.

But, as my friend Nico quoted on Twitter tonight:

“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough,” said Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Well said. So: DREAM BIG.

Survey Results

Let me share with you the dreams of my friends. If you’re reading this, and if you have dreams as big as ours, wish us luck with it. I’m wishing you luck, too – whoever and wherever you are.


What an apt topic! I was just thinking about it. :) Well, you might’ve guessed this, but I dream about living in New York–

–and working for Vogue. :P And maybe to have my own media empire one day, haha. And, OF COURSE, I wish them to come true. ;)


Having my own coffee shop with self-made paintings to decorate the interior + a big library!

Thank you, please do wish me luck, dear! One day I’ll make a painting as a gift for you too! *dreamBIG*

(I’m holding her to that promise of making me a painting.)


My dream is to write films and direct them. And to write books for young-adults. Of course I want them to be true! :)


always afraid to do this, but whatever, i want to do cover art for infamous Marvel or perhaps DC, made my own comicbook

get my own apartement in Europe, do my work as illustrator or comicbook artist, everything art related


I dream I’ll move out of this country, to some place far. Now I work on it :D


to have an adventure. Like the one in Hugo that I’m watching now :)


I’ve always wanted to visit San Diego Comic-Con, been dreaming about it since the firs time I heard about the event!


My dreams are to live in Hawaii, to work for animal welfare, to find someone who shares my mind & soul, to make my parents happy.

Owning a coffe shop slash library is also nice. Traveling the UK and Ireland is also on my list.

Is it sad that one of my dreams is to find love? /sappy

(The answer to that last one is: NO. Not sad at all.)


Traveling and taking pictures around the world for (fun and) a living and writing well-received books yet stay anonymous.


I want to keep writing (comics, novels, films, games) to make a living but I don’t know if I have enough chops for that to happen


I really wants going (and living) in japan (was planned to apply scholarship there but not sure if I can),anyway.

anyway I’m planning visit japan this year (for the 1st time!) ^^ I wish it happen soon! :D

also wish I could take my mum for a holiday to places she hv never been, hopefully I can save up enough money soon


What’s my dream? I want to live in the UK, work in the BBC while writing some plays for the National Theatre ;) Some dream, huh?


Mine actually does have something to do with books; McCall Smith’s series have made me long to visit Edinburgh.

I dream of visiting NY and Tokyo just like most people, but the pull is not as strong as I feel toward Edinburgh.


I wrote “want to have my own Doraemon” on my elementary school yearbook. I still want the same thing now #dreamondoraemon


I really wanna go to Arthur’s seat in Scotland. Really really do.


Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.Edgar Allen Poe


Your subconscious is looking for the dreamer; me. Quick, give me a kiss. – Arthur in Inception (2010)


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This entry was posted on May 27, 2012 by in sunday survey on twitter, thinky thoughts and tagged , .
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