It's 7:30 AM. I'm in the middle of a pleasant dream, in which a cherished person grants me a wish.

Jane wakes me. She doesn't want to go to school. She wants to go out for breakfast, wants a pain au chocolat, wants above all for me to do this special thing with her.

Honestly, selfishly, I want to go back to my dream.

"Sure," I tell Jane, pushing myself out of bed. "Let's go."

I got a wish and gratified one. But this was not a two-party transaction. It was neither tit-for-tat, nor win-win, but something else entirely. A little like paying it forward.

Now the whole world seems wonderfully bewitched, pregnant with magic. My next book might just be possible after all, and today might be a great day to begin!

I should stop here. There's a nice aesthetic quality to this conclusion. But it's too neat. And it's untrue. The truth is, I immediately cast a rather liverish eye on my own exhilaration, telling myself that maybe it is just a fantasy of omnipotence fueled by my own grandiosity.

Or, what the heck, it could just be hope.