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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Monday, May 09, 2005

dreams and beliefs

Back to the writing week. Morning notes consisted of the last few "sketches" from Egypt: Gift of the Nile, and keying from The True Believer. I also took the time to note down a couple of dreams I had last night (heightened dream activity from popping half a Sleep Aid before bed). One had me dressed in a very nice charcoal suit, like the Italian crepe suit I got in 1990, and taking an elevator to the apartment of a girl named Cathy I went to school with but haven't seen since 1978. She was out with her husband--whoever he might be--and I prowled through the well-appointed apartment, snooping out of curiosity, until I saw there were security cameras and fled back to the elevator.

Another dream had me in a studio or small recital hall about to hear a performance by Dash Crofts--one half of the Seals and Crofts pop act of the 1970s. In the dream, his partner Jim Seals was dead (Seals is actually alive and well--I checked their website). I wondered how Crofts would do on his own. He started singing, and his voice seemed strangely quiet. I felt worried for him, but he pressed on, seemingly unbothered.

I haven't tried to interpret these dreams, but they're unlike any I've had before. Seals and Crofts songs are still on my personal "playlist" of tunes I hum to myself, especially "Hummingbird" and "Summer Breeze". (While others play music on stereos or iPods, I hum and sing--must be my Welsh heritage.) I remember that Seals and Crofts were of the Baha'i faith, a Persian religion I first met at the Mannheim youth hostel in 1982, when a group of German Baha'is had descended on the city to leaflet the citizens. I got a free book: Baha'u'llah and the New Era (haven't read it). It sounds like a very nice, inclusive faith that accepts the teachers of the other great religions, treating them as forerunners of their own prophet Baha'u'llah.

There must be something very significant about a duo one of whose members is deceased. I think about the mythological twins Castor and Pollux, one of whom was mortal and one immortal. The duo in the dream spans life and death, like my epic. Seals and Crofts were and are singers with a spiritual message. Singing is musical poetry: an art form that appeals directly to the emotions. They're a duo of men: possibly shadow aspects of myself.

Has part of me died? The survivor's voice is too quiet. He needs to pipe up, be heard. Is that a message for me?

I worked further on the notes for chapter 15-16. I'm handling some of the main ideas that are driving my story. I touch them in point form in my notes, reshaping, reformulating them, trying to make them clear to myself. It's easy to act on facts, but we must act also on assumptions about what we don't know directly: our beliefs. These beliefs reflect--and, when acted upon, reveal--our character.

I remember reading the words of an astrologer (I forget which): "The question is not whether a person's philosophy matters, but whether, in the long run, anything else matters." What are the core beliefs driving my characters?

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