Fantasy Dreaming!

Remembering dreams has never been a problem for me. At the age of 14 I taught myself the art of lucid dreaming. This came about after a few years of constant nightmares and a day off school watching TV, but I digress, that’s a story for another time. Over the past few months I’ve had, what I can only describe as, a voyeur of my dreams. I have become slowly aware of being watched! Too many Stephen King novels, I hear people say. You can never read too many Stephen King novels so I kicked that idea right out of the water.  Anyway, I’ve not had much time to read as of late so I know that wasn’t the answer.

Instead of being frightened of this visitor I was very curious. He became more visible over time or maybe my awareness of him gave him more substance? I can’t see his face yet I can feel the pull of his personality. At first I thought it was my husband as he shares personality traits with him, one of which is how he watches me, taking in what I do. It sometimes maddens me how I think he’s not paying attention but he is. It’s as if I’m the centre of his world and he needs every memory of me to store away for when we are not together. That’s how intently this figure watches me but he’s sad, disappointed and sometimes he walks away into the shadows of my subconscious.

This has gone on for over a month, not every night as a lot of the time I don’t dream. However, every time I do, he’s there. One day last week I noticed he wasn’t alone. Others had come along with him. I couldn’t make out who they were. Some were nothing more than dark shadows, some I could tell if they were a man or woman but never a face, only the feeling of loneliness and disappointment. They never conversed with each other, they simply watched. If I approached they would walk away and out of sight. Until the other night!

You know how odd dreams can be, flitting through one scene to another in the blink of an eye. Yep, the usual stuff. I couldn’t put my finger on anything specific until I found myself heading towards the people on the periphery of my mind. Their now familiar feelings stuck to me like mud, slowing my movements and collecting a heavy fog around me. I remember shaking my head and saying out loud “no”. The lucid dreaming trick I learned all those years ago began to work and my dream drifted back to the random flicking through my thoughts.

I must have gone into a deeper sleep because the next thing I was aware of was someone gripping my wrist! I was in a dense forest. The sun, somewhere up above gave a week glow through the trees and mist. The callused and weather worn hand gripped mine hard. For a fleeting moment I was afraid to look. His hold slackened and he stepped back. His dark clothes gave nothing away; I didn’t look up but followed his hand as he pointed to the trees. Amongst the spooky trunks and twisted branches I could see the people again. I felt I had been given an invitation to figure them out so I looked closer. I began to recognise them, not family as I had first supposed, no. Their clothing was straight out of a fantasy book! My fantasy books! I looked back at the man who had grabbed me. I knew only one such character who would have the audacity to do that to me.

He stood tall, over six feet, his wavy blond hair fell over his shoulders, his cloak hid his clothing but I could see the hilt of a sword, one I had written about many times. He said nothing as he stepped away towards the trees and waiting figures. It was Stewart, the warrior I had created to support Lynwen in Dark Magic Rising. His story was not yet compete. I looked closer at the figures in the trees. Sash’ha dropped her sword on the floor, her expression burning into me! I know her pain, I know the significance of the dropped sword and I knew the answers, they were written in pen, still waiting to be typed up! Faces of other characters drifted through my subconscious; Ayva, a young Clah’hen sister, Faith’hane of the Royal guard and Rosh’hane! The first figure I’d seen had been him, a key character in Your Embrace and the Alhanassa Chronicles. He tilted his head and pleaded with his eyes. His quiet but compelling personality once again hit me hard! I’d left his story half finished. I knew how his story panned out. I knew of his trials and his accomplishments, his joys and the heartache he so often felt. Just like Kohinora, I began to fall into the depths of his green eyes.

I woke with my heart pounding in my chest. I sat in the dark thinking of the people I’d created, their back stories and their future. I felt responsible for their well being! Turning the light on I sat and thought of what I’d seen and felt.

Since the release of Dark Magic Rising I’ve given my attention over to many other projects and only now and then choosing to visit the world I created. Why was I not writing? The main reason is simple. I had lost my voice! Or so I thought… But it’s not my voice I need to write about; it’s the characters I created and their lives, their future! I hope the next time I see them in my dream, they will be smiling.

Open University – Broadening my education

I forgot to say, I started an Open University course four weeks ago. Yes I know it’s taken me a long time to write about it. I have been very busy with work, editing Dark Magic Rising and one thing and another. However, I thought I would share a few thoughts about the course, which is called ‘Start Writing Fiction’. I did wonder how I would cope with no teacher there to crack the whip, so to speak but I’m finding it fun and very enlightening.

It’s good to know that some things I was on track with like keeping a notebook and journal. I have expanded on this and started looking at myself more closely. One of the exercises was to  examine what matters to you, personally. I found this a little difficult as I’ve never really thought about what makes ME tick! It was interesting.

The past weeks have also helped me to develop my characters, especially one of them. I knew what she was doing and feeling but she was very one dimensional. Now, she has purpose and I now know why acts in certain ways and I deeper understand how she will react as her story unfolds (Second book in the Sisterhood Trilogy, it doesn’t have a title yet).

The writing prompts exercises are very fun to do. It teaches you to take something as mundane as what is on your coffee table or the next line the radio presenter says, and turn it into a story line. The key is to…. just start writing. What me to share? Just remember this is not edited and pretty much a first draft so grammar is crap! Oh that bit underlined is the line from the radio, it was a Slade song that was playing at the time. (Thanks Planet Rock!!) Please be aware there is a little bit of swearing in there.

“I said good bye to Jane. Are you happy now?” Reed turned his back on Diane and placed his hands on the window. His shoulders were stiff as if he was holding the weight of their problems alone. It pained her he felt that way. She could see his closed eyes in the glass, reflecting back through the darkness beyond the huge window that made up one side of their family room. Watching him take measured breaths, Diane thought of their life together, their unusual marriage, building their fortune, the twins, now coming to their fourth birthday; juggling their busy lives had once been a way to avoid each other but now, after all these years she had told him the truth.

“I’m sorry…” Diane’s voice broke, the stress of all the lies and constantly been on guard getting the better of her. Chocking back a sob, she wouldn’t show weakness. Not after she demanded he send his lover packing. “I should have told you sooner.” She breathed deeply and tried to still her shaking hands.

“How long?” He turned towards her. One blonde curl that he could never tame, fell on his creased brows. He shoved his hands in his pockets as he tried to control his anger. He didn’t come any closer but kept his usual, respectful distance and pinned her with his stormy blue eyes. “Talk to me Di.” His stern tone demanded her answer.

“If I’m honest with myself, it was on our wedding night.” She gauged his reaction and noted the one raised eyebrow. He nodded to imply her to continue. “I didn’t realise it back then. I was caught up in what was expected of me, ours is a marriage of convenience, two rich, powerful families converging. When our wedding night approached I expected you to, you know?”

His face darkened, “Push myself on to you? Fuck Di, have I ever hurt you?”

She stepped back at his injured tone. “No, but I hardly knew you back then. We had met once. Then our parents kept me that busy with wedding plans,” her voice lifted as she spoke their memories, “it was like they deliberately tired to keep us from even making friends.”

“Or stopping you from running.”

“I couldn’t, could I? All my life my decisions were made for me, forever to be a pawn in someone else’s game. I’m sick of living like that, I’m sick of feeling expendable!”

“Don’t be ridicules.” Reed’s voice took on his usual calm tone. “You have never been expendable to your parents or me.”

Diane struggled to find the words to explain how she felt. “Maybe it was the wrong word.” She hung her head in shame. Reed wasn’t the bad guy here, he had done the same and obeyed his parents wish that he marry her and join their families. The last six years had its good points. Only in public did they have to put on a show. It had all been worth it, she told herself.

“Where do we go from here?” He moved closer and rubbed her arms and shoulders, a comforting gesture she was familiar with. He was willing to give up his lover and make a real go of their relationship. Her heart melted.

“Did you love her?”

“Jane?”

She nodded and looked up into his troubled face. “Nope, I’m fond of her, we were together almost three years but she was a means to an end. I have needs Di, needs that I couldn’t take from you. Why do you think we paid for the IVF treatment?”

When she tried to look away he lifted her chin with his finger, the touch gentle and she revelled in the shiver that shot through her whole body. It fanned the flames of hope growing in her heart.

“I know the treatment was uncomfortable for you but I couldn’t come to your bed under the circumstances. It was the best solution for all.”

Diane laughed. “And we got the twins from our ‘bogoff’ deal.”

Reed joined in her laughter at their private buy one get one free joke. The conception of the twins was their secret.

“If you’re sure of your feelings, maybe the next one would be fun to make?”

She felt her eyes widen, was Reed flirting with her? She had not seen this side of him before and spluttered a response. “I…. I…” He placed a finger on her lips.

“One step at at time, hey?” He looked deep into her eyes and she felt the usual pull. His eyelids where half closed and it seamed to pull her deeper into their depths.. Reed blinked and the moment was lost. He turned back to the window and placed his hands on the glass to brace himself. A quiet control rolled off his shoulders. He sighed and shook his head. Until that moment, hope had welled within her heart. Telling him she loved him had seemed right but now something had changed. He stood trying to fight an emotion she couldn’t place.

“I need to tell you about Jane.”

“It’s OK, I understand why you…” She didn’t want to know. The knowledge of their affair was enough. After all she couldn’t deny him a physical relationship with someone. Their own marriage has never been consummated.

“No, you don’t.” He didn’t look at her but placed his head on the window. His refection was dark and grim. Diane’s heart sank. “Jane is a man, she lives as a woman but…”

Diane sat on the floor, her knees no longer willing to hold her as her mind processed the information. No, not her Reed, he couldn’t be? His sex appeal had women flocking to his side. She quickly sifted through her memories of the men they came into contact with. He had shown a cool indifference. Looking up she caught his reflection looking at her. She couldn’t speak, her throat suddenly tight.

“My parents knew, it was one reason they wanted our marriage.” He lifted his head from the glass but kept his eyes on her through the reflection. “But when you told me you loved me, it changed everything. I do love you Di, in my own way. How could I not, you’re the mother to my children but I…”

Not caring how strong she portrayed herself, Diane let the tears fall, each one taking a little bit of her hope away as it fell.