Thursday, November 11, 2004

November 11, 2004
Dark of the Moon
Uranus Direct
Saturn Retrograde

NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: Push that boulder up the mountain, because once you get to the top, getting down is much easier.

Deep and heartfelt thanks to the men and women who served their country on this Veterans’ Day.

Otterburn, Again:
I returned to Otterburn in my dream last night. The walk to the memorial was the same, but the circumstances once there were different. Three figures waited for me – I had the feeling they were male, but it wasn’t clear enough to be sure. One carried the shield of Percy. One was Norse (not Viking, Norse – there’s a difference). And one stayed far into the shadows.

I told them if they were going to do the riddle thing, I was going to leave and not return. I hate riddles, and I hate myths with riddles.

They laughed. The Norseman began to speak and then a car backfired and I woke up. It was about 3 AM.

When I went back to sleep, I was in Northumbria again, but on Lindisfarne, in the ruins of the Abbey, late at night (I’ve stayed on Lindisfarne, so again, the dream has a basis in a real experience and takes flight from there). The moonlight caressing the reddish stone was beautiful, but distracted me from the reason I was on the island.

In the dream, I searched for something and I knew what it was, but as the dreamer, I didn’t.

And then I was back in Otterburn. Alone. At night. With three tarot cards. Three Death Cards.

Yes, I know I’m on the brink of a major transition. What I’d like are some details, please.

Once I figure out the relevance of my dream to my life, I can use it as the basis for a heck of a tale. The writer in me would like to go that route now, but the rest of me says I need to figure out why I’m visiting a recurrent dreamscape. The content of the dream differs, but it all keeps circling back to Otterburn.

I didn’t have time to do much research (or, re-research, in this case) on Otterburn. John Hill Burton’s article made me roll my eyes – a battle that could have been avoided. Too many people dead because Hotspur wanted to get his banner back stolen in a previous battle, and was too impatient to wait for reinforcements; and, according to the code of chivalry, the Scots left the banner “outside the tent” so he’d have a fighting chance to get it.

Could someone in this have had a little bit of common sense, please?

I realize it was romantic and brave within the context of the time, but come on!

Is the dream warning me about pride? About ego? Am I being impatient in trying to regain something (what?) without the proper backup? Or should I look more deeply into the symbolism of objects in the dream rather than the literal storyline?

I’ve mapped out details of the dream and tried to match symbolism to objects. Unfortunately, I disagree with most of the dream symbolism found in books. They haven’t been relevant in my dreams in the past. I’m going to do some digging in the Jungian texts. I’ll skip the Freudian. My opinion of Freud is that he was a drug-addicted, woman-hating, woman-fearing scumbag, so even his theories that have some merit are difficult for me to take into consideration. I prefer many of Jung’s theories, although I don’t think he’s the be-all and end-all, either.

In any case, I’m trying to map it out on literal and symbolic levels and see if I can find some sort of reasoning or pattern. I’m waiting for the “click” that will let me know I’m on the right track, or something that makes me uncomfortable enough so that I want it to be the wrong track, but need to dig deeper.

I asked the oracles, and here are the answers:

The Tarot – The Hanged Man – a time of suspension and reflection. No movement.
The Runes – Wyrd, the blank rune – you are not yet meant to know the answer.
The Ogham –Ngetal in the West – Be warned. Reconsider before proceeding further.

It would be very helpful if I knew to what the warning referred. And what I should reconsider.

Is it literal? As in, there’ll be trouble on the train to the city tomorrow? Or is it on a more ethereal scale?

Further questions merely bring blanks. Even the Celtic Dragon Tarot is quiet, and that’s usually a deck that won’t shut up. In desperation, I asked the Faeries’ oracle (Brian Fround’s version) and the card was The Singer of Initiation – a card of passage through trial.

Well, I figured meeting up with the three – three is a relevant mythic number -- at Otterburn had some such quest/initiation/test meaning, and that’s fine on an etheric level, but I want the nuts-and-bolts answer. My dreams are usually pretty straightforward, so this muddle is irritating. And it’s digging at me in a way that won’t let me simply dismiss it.

On a writing front, yesterday I finished the short story in the Congress Corners cycle that is due on November 25. I’m going to let it sit for a few days before a revision. The working title is “Driven to Change”. For all the crossing out and rearranging I did in the handwritten draft, the draft I typed flows the way I want it to, and it makes the point I wanted to, and the title is a double entendre I didn’t realize when I first thought of it.

I only wrote two episodes of The Widow’s Chamber – I had to research the British Abolition of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, the 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act, Jane Smeal, Elisabeth Pease, and the 1834 Poor Law. Hmm – create workhouses with conditions so harsh that people are discouraged to seek help from the government – sounds like the direction we’re moving towards. They’re right – history does repeat itself.

Cassandra Pine has turned out to be quite the passionate radical, and the Cavanaugh boys will have their hands full with her. I’ve gotten some interesting mail expressing disappointment that Nora does not plan to marry Matthew Darby – don’t worry, those of you that have fallen for Matthew – he will have a happy ending, even though it’s not with Nora. He was only supposed to pass through a few episodes as a distraction of the moment and plot device, but he’s got a mind of his own and is crafting his own future. Aspasia Sundine reveals more layers every day – she’s going to rock the boat once they dock in New Orleans (pun intended) and will have a surprising part to play in the climactic sequence where the secret of the widow’s chamber is finally revealed.

I was in such a groove with Angel Hunt that it’s hard to detach from it for a few weeks. I’ve outlined the next arc and may sneak in some work on episodes here and there, if I can catch up with WC and Charlotte.

I scribbled down some ideas for stories on my break Tuesday. One of them has blown into a full-fledge outline, and the project will have to take a number. My ideas are stacked up like planes over LaGuardia on a Friday afternoon. And I’m grateful. Yet another idea formed itself right before sleep, and another started in the shower, but I lost it. (I can hear the "down the drain" jokes coming).

In my case, ideas usually come in flocks, like migrating geese (but not quite as messy).

Two articles up on FemmeFan. The hockey rant is bound to annoy people on both sides of the NHL labor dispute, but I have lost patience with the lack of negotiation:

and there’s an update on some of the horses retired since the Breeders’ Cup:

And I got the first issue of Devon’s Random Newsletter out.

Picked up some writing magazines and found them very depressing. 90% of the advice is for new or wanna-be writers. There’s very little out there for writers who are publishing regularly, but not yet at book-tour level. And many of the articles are written by people whose credentials aren’t that great, and, frankly, the writing in the articles isn’t very good. Is sloppily written advice about writing well worthwhile? Also, most of the articles are article-length advertisements for a product the magazine publisher is pushing. There are exceptions, of course, but, for the most part, I did not find the mags helpful. I was looking for creative fuel and instead found creative molasses. Molasses is a fine, sweet treat, but it doesn’t let you move fast when you’re trying to walk through it.

Conversation this morning when I went to get the paper:

Man: Would you be offended if I told you you have a great body?

Me: (wondering how he can tell since I’m wearing a bulky coat and sweats): I’ll accept the compliment. But if it’s a pick-up line, I’m walking away. I’m not available.

Man: No, no, it’s not that. You’re so striking, you’ve got such energy. There are only one or two flaws . . .

Me: I’ve got plenty of flaws, thank goodness. I’d be bored if I was perfect.

Man: Your skin tells me you’ll be thirty five soon. I can help you turn back the clock to your twenties.

The SOB wanted me to agree to plastic surgery!!! I laughed in his face.

Me: There isn’t enough money on this planet to make me want to turn the clock back to my twenties. I’m well on the other side of thirty five. I’ve earned every one of my years and I wear them proudly.

I mean, really! Scrounging for patients at the newsstand!

I have to use that in a story somewhere. I can always kill of the plastic surgeon character if he gets too annoying.

I feel like I’ve put in a full day and it’s just started!

Today, I will split my time between Widow and Charlotte. I have to go in to the city early – I’m covering a track I haven’t done in awhile at Wicked, and I’ve been invited to Godiva’s launch party for a new chocolate before my show call. I don’t turn down a party for chocolate.



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