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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Saturday, October 29, 2005

disturbed night

Awoke at about 2:45 this morning after a dream:

It ends with me hiking into a wilderness with a couple of companions, but then just one: a woman. But I am a woman too: we are very close, maybe lovers. We're in the mountains of B.C. and it's getting dark. Others, maybe Mike and Mara, have turned back or been left behind. We want to go on, want to go farther up this dark mountain valley below high snowy peaks and the night sky.

Are we returning to a camp we've already prepared? I don’t think so. Or do we disagree about the status of our camp? She is blonde, in her 30s or maybe 40-ish, and wears a blue vest over a white long-sleeved sweater. I am dark-haired. We press our bodies together, side by side, as we step forward into the increasing darkness, to show each other how we won't abandon each other, how much we really love each other. Where can we bed down for the night? What lies in this dark wilderness?

The darkness is total. We step ahead into complete blackness, seeing nothing.

As I noted in my journal, where I wrote the dream, I woke with feelings of fear and strangeness. What could this mean? I'm not sure whether I've ever dreamed of being a woman before, I think not. The utter blackness at the end of the dream was also new. It was frightening, and yet we had each other; whatever we faced, we faced together.

I lay awake a long time, becoming embroiled in emotional thoughts, worries; my heart felt agitated. I lay awake one hour, two. I expected to remain awake until 6:00, when I decided I would just get up. But I must have dozed off, because I had more dreams, culminating with this one:

I'm about to leave or go out with a woman, seemingly my girlfriend. She is an older woman, at least in her 60s, with long white hair. She is slim and very feminine, with dark eyes. I believe she's wearing a pale yellow sweater-vest, and white shirt and pants. She's concerned about getting going, maybe that we'll be late for something.

Maybe because I remind her of some detail, she hurries back to go past me. As she comes close I hear a sound, a wet sound--and wonder whether she has accidentally lost some bladder control. I feel a little mortified for her, so draw no attention to it. We embrace, maybe for a kiss, so I can distract her from looking down at herself. She scolds me a bit, but gently, for she does love me, for delaying us.

Now there is a much more pronounced sloshing sound--there's no ignoring it. It splatters through cloth onto the carpet. I look down and see that it is not her but me: I have some kind of illness that has liquefied my bowels. I can't even feel it, but a kind of stew of vegetable pieces has spewed from me to the floor, and now a larger mass bulges out of my backside, which I can somehow see--so large that I wonder whether I'm beingdisemboweledd. I obviously have a very serious, messy, and degrading illness.

When I woke from this I again felt fear and that same sense of strangeness. I had never dreamed anything like it before. Something new is happening, agitating my soul. Being transformed, transgendered,disemboweledd--these are strong images.

When I finally rose at 7:15 I decided to write out my dreams and make some notes on them rather than attempt working on my novel.

I have always paid attention to my dreams, the primal and natural form of storytelling. I have become quite good, I think, at interpreting them. But these are so jarringly new and strange I don't know what to make of them.

Now: a walk in the quiet, gray, damp afternoon.


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