Elephant Alarm Call

Human-specific elephant alarm call?

Interesting to me because a dream of a talking, singing elephant launched the idea for my first children’s book. It happened in Germany at a time when I was quite ill with pneumonia. I was sick for some time, spent weeks in bed. Lots of time to dream and think about life. One night an elephant appeared in a dream. Standing at the foot of my bed, he swung his long trunk and began singing a song to me. It was a song about learning from the good and bad in life. Looking back I feel the elephant was sounding an alarm for me to wake-up and become more spiritually aware. The dream and the elephant’s inspirational song moved me a giant-step forward in life.


Why Dream?

In traditional cultures, people tend to believe dreams reveal hidden truths about themselves and the world around them: when the body sleeps, the soul is free to wander the universe and collect information. I like that idea.

Scientists, searching for ways to explain and define dreams report that dreaming is just another way of thinking, on a different level. Thinking in the sleep state. Something I’ve known since childhood because my dreams always seem so real and full of meaning. Hours after dreaming, I can recall detailed images, voices, and symbols. Typically, I don’t recognize the meaning of the dream immediately, but I sense if it contains something significant. It often seems like a secret message sent to me in code from another dimension. A code only I can decipher through careful observation, and a willingness to welcome and embrace the hidden truth of the dream.

As a child, I sometimes felt like Cinderella waking up in the middle of a dream and finding myself in an exciting, glamorous, improbable life. And then I would wonder, does one use a dream to rehearse life, or live to rehearse a dream? Or, am I perhaps awakening to a life I dreamed of having that actually came true?

As a kid, one of my greatest role models was my great-aunt Gladys. A retired school teacher, she married a banker and they traveled the world. Once a teacher, always a teacher—she sent picture postcards to her family and friends. For me, it was so exciting to receive a postcard from destinations far away—places I dreamed of visiting one day. I used to sleep with those postcards on my heart and imagine they were magic carpets that could fly me to the exotic place shown on the postcard photo.

Susan Joyce in 1990 with a cutout photo of her inspirational Aunt Gladys riding a camel
In 1990 at a booksellers’ convention, with a cutout photo of my inspirational Aunt Gladys riding a camel

Guess what? Years later, I have visited most of the places Aunt Gladys traveled to and even wrote a children’s book to honor her, and her positive influence in my life. Her postcards encouraged me to explore the great big wonderful world. I believe that my far fetched dreams over the years are the reason I live a most extraordinary and exciting life.

Do you pay attention to your dreams? Do you keep a dream journal? If so, I’d love to hear from you.




Being Present

I can still hear my 6th grade teacher clear her throat, then ask, “Susan, where are you? The rest of us are on page 26.”

My mind snapped into place as Mrs. Easley asked me to continue reading where the previous student had left off. I paused, giggled at the thought of students and teacher physically sitting on page 26, did a quick mental rewind of the last words I heard, then focused on the inked page, and started reading.

After class, my friend Shelley congratulated me on my quick come-back. “Day-dreaming again?” she asked, tapping me on my shoulder.

“Floating, but I was here.”

“How do you do that?” Shelley asked.

Today I’m reminded of how “being present while floating” has guided me through the maze of my amazing life. Paying close attention to details of each breathing, living moment, my gut instincts, clairvoyant thoughts, and telling dreams, I focus on the present and allow my senses to go with the flow and collect important information.

While living in Israel in 1968, I visited the zoo in Haifa. Noticing a sign outside the elephant house, I stopped and studied it. It looked like the head of an elephant with a big ear, an eye, and a trunk. Great image, I thought, drawing the pictograph in my travel journal. A student of Hebrew, I knew that the sign was in fact three Hebrew letters forming the word for elephant in Hebrew—-Peel. Marveling at the elephant house sign, I said to myself, “If I ever write a book about an elephant, I’m going to name him Peel.”


Living in Frankfurt, Germany in the late 70s, at a low point in my life, a singing elephant appeared at the foot of my bed singing a song of encouragement in a dream.


I sat up in bed, rubbed my sleepy eyes and listened.

An elephant won’t forget you when you’re happy.
An elephant won’t forget you when you’re sad.
‘Cause an elephant knows the secret is remembering it all—
Learning from the good times, and the bad.

Suffering from pneumonia and feeling drained emotionally, I was indeed sad. The next day, I couldn’t get the song out of my head. I sang it aloud often. And every time I sang it, I felt better and stronger. So I wrote it down, music and words,

A few weeks later, the singing elephant appeared again and we started conversing, always in rhyme, about learning from life adventures. I made notes in my dream journal and soon realized I had something important to share.

Years after the elephant appeared in my dreams, and after some wonderful synchronicities, “Peel, the Extraordinary Elephant,” my first children’s book, was published in 1985. It’s still in print today.

Being present is being in touch with ourselves, focusing on each moment (happy or sad), and going with the magical flow of life.

Once Upon A Dream


Dreams have fascinated me since childhood. My dreams always seemed so real and full of meaning. Hours after dreaming, I could recall in detail the images, voices, and symbols. Most often I didn’t know the meaning immediately, but I sensed it was important information that I needed to figure out. As if a secret message in code needed to be deciphered through careful observation with a willingness to embrace the hidden truth about myself and the world around me.

Sometimes I felt like Cinderella waking up in the middle of a dream… finding myself in an exciting, glamorous, improbable, far-fetched life. And then I would wonder, Continue reading “Once Upon A Dream”

Another Five Star Review!

The Lullaby Illusion, by Susan Joyce

Thank you M.J. Faraldo for your great review!

Susan’s “Lullaby Illusion” is an incredible tale, full of life, risks, friendships, history, loss, suspicion and trust. It takes you on a roller-coaster of emotions that compelled you to keep on reading from beginning to end.
Her life will amaze you. The situations she shares will keep you on the edge of your seat because Susan’s writing will transport you to those places, making you “live” those circumstances with her.

The Lullaby Illusion hits the shelves (and e-shelves)

The Lullaby Illusion, by Susan Joyce

Now available!

The Lullaby Illusion

by Susan Joyce

New book details the harrowing personal journey of a young
American woman facing seemingly insurmountable situations while living in the Middle East and Europe.
After many miscarriages and the loss of a child in childbirth on the island of Cyprus, Susan seeks solace by creating art and recording her vivid dreams. Through difficult life changes—Cyprus’s bloody coup and war in 1974, a rescue from a sinking ship in the Indian Ocean, learning
of her husband’s secret life, and surviving his deadly assault in Belgium, she discovers her “ticking clock” is not the child she fails to produce, but rather her creative potential.

Following her vivid dreams and intuition, she successfully reinvents herself as an artist and writer. From beginning to end, Susan Joyce reminds us of the stream of awareness that flows through all of us.

Early reader reviews show it resonates universally with men and women:

A hell of a tale…

— Mark Mercer, Writer

Amid the gripping account of her final days living in Cyprus as war broke out and bullets flew past, what moved me most was Susan’s spirit through the difficulties life throws at her. This true story gives honest insight into the complex emotional turmoil we all experience for various reasons, and shows how it is always possible to see the positive and build our life afresh exactly as we choose to live; not to long for what might have been. An uplifting, inspiring and triumphant story.

— Jennifer Barclay, Author, Falling in Honey

…like riding the roller coaster of life, exciting and engrossing, funny and sad. A real page turner. I was sorry to read “The End.”

Isabel Saltonstall, Editor


Available from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Powell’s, other online sellers and better bookstores.