23rd August 2013
I don't know what it is about dreams that draws you back in. Just when you are in that twilight zone between dreaming and waking, especially if you have dozed back off to sleep in the early morning, it seems that the dream world is where you belong and waking isn't really desirable at all. You can be dreaming of the most mundane things, of walking down a street or folding clothes, but it seems of the utmost importance that you get back there. I have read quite a few accounts of near death experiences, and the same thing is usually told of those -- the overwhelming sense that the person is where they should be and can't stand the thought that they will have to get back into their body. If dreams are really access to parallel lives, could it be that those lives are more crucial to who we really are? I suppose I don't have many nightmares, and I might not feel this way if I did, but it makes me wonder what is happening in dreams when they seem more real than reality. From what theoretical physicists are saying these days, "real life" as we have seen it might be in essence just a form of dream anyway, a blip of energy in a vast field of energy. Hindus have always asserted that reality is just a dream in the mind of Brahma, the creator. He opens his eyes and a world comes into existence, he closes them and it goes out like a moth drawn too close to a candle. But it might not just be Brahma who is dreaming worlds into existence. Perhaps it is us every time we awake.
I have been thinking about this, because there is another place that draws like the dreamworld, and that is what I experience when I sit down at my desk to write. Maybe in the dreams we dream in sleep, the internal chatter-dial is turned way down, and the same goes for getting into the creative zone. It has to go quiet or you can't get there. It's like drawing close to a radio whose signal is only faint. You have to turn up your hearing acuity and get really close so you can find out what is being said. You have to not be thinking about anything else.
I gave up my daily routine of writing during the summer because there were too many distractions, too much going on in the outer field. The summer started with a wedding and ended with a cruise, and now I am getting back in gear to write the conclusion to that sequel that has been languishing too long with its back end hanging off. I am a great believer in gestation, though -- something has been going on during this time. I just have to give it space to emerge. It isn't going to take long, perhaps two weeks to "get her done," as the cowboys say. She is female, no doubt, as all things at the creative nexus are.
One good thing that came out of the study guide that is going to be inserted at the back of my book is that it suggested a comparison to a book called "Witchcraze," by Anne Barstow. I hadn't heard of it, so I looked up the reviews, and almost didn't buy it because it was written off as feminist propaganda. But I thought I ought to take a look, just in case any of my readers follows up on the book guide. I am happy to report that it is written by a bona fide historian, who teaches history in New York, and is in fact a serious attempt to look at the holocaust of witches in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries from the point of view of their being women, not just a factor of economic or religious history. Barstow is actually balanced in her approach and won't, for instance, consider numbers of witches burned beyond the records even though we know there must have been far more than ever made it into any list. And in any case, why is a feminist perspective less legitimate an historical approach than the imperialist one most of our "history" has been filtered through? I wish I had known about Barstow's book earlier, though my story of Maggie and the witches doesn't come out of any specific interest in history, but out of that dream time I was talking about earlier. If I have any axes to grind it is with the church and its scrupulous method of cover-up, but that will come out of its own accord. That all belongs to my internal chatter and has no place in the quiet zone that has its own voice and its own way of being heard.