Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cold and sunny

NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: Think of a plateau as a place to rest before the next big push.

I dreamed about Otterburn last night. The Battle of Otterburn was fought in 1388, and Hotspur was captured and held for ransom. I remember my visit to the memorial of the battle. It was either during my trip there in 1990 or 1992, when I spent two weeks based in Alnwick (at the Hotspur Hotel, of course) and tracking down the various sites of Percy family history.

Some people are crazy about rock stars or actors. Hey, I get paid to deal with actors in their underwear. I’m not particularly impressed by them as a species, at least as far as celebrity goes, although I have a great deal of respect for certain individuals with whom I’ve worked.

But Hotspur Percy fascinated me, first via Shakespeare’s depiction and later, as I found out more about the actual man. And then I got interested in his family. I have boxes of research on the Percy family history in storage. I have no idea what it will all turn into – some sort of fiction or series at some point.

From the moment I reached Northumbria, I felt I’d come home, although I’d never been there before. It was an amazing trip, and every time I return to Northumbria, the feeling of deeply belonging, of being rooted and connected to that land, strengthens.

I parked in the lot of the Otterburn battlefield. There’s a dirt path leading to the actual monument. It was a bright, sunny day, but as you walk down the path, the trees meet above you. It becomes darker and quieter and eerie. As far as I could tell, there was no one around for miles, which can be a bit disconcerting. There’s always the concern of running into a human predator. I’m perfectly capable of fighting. After all, I lived on the Deuce in NYC before it was Disneyfied. At the time of the visit, I lived there and it was quite different than the theme park it is now. However, I prefer not to fight unless there’s no other choice.

The monument itself is a pale, weathered stone obelisk rising out of the ground. The trees dip in front of it, creating almost a curtain, so when you enter the memorial area, the monument is a bit of a shock.

It is absolutely quiet. Not even birds make a sound. And in the quietness, if you listen carefully, you can hear and feel the battle fought to this day.

That was the actual experience.

The dream was quite similar – parking in the lot (although, in the dream, I drove a different car), walking towards the monument. This time, I knew the route, so I wasn’t as hesitant as I was in real life, when I’d never been there before and didn’t know what to expect.

The rest of the dream – when I reached the monument – is too detailed and intimate to go into here. I’m still sorting it out, trying to trace back the symbols, the words, and the actions back to psychological and actual roots. I have a feeling it will take quite awhile.

And why have I dreamed about Otterburn now? Otterburn was an odd and intriguing experience in real life, but there were other places that felt more like a pilgrimage. Why Otterburn? Why now?

My impulse, is, of course, to take the next flight over and see for myself. But, unfortunately, I can’t do that.

Was the dream triggered by the book I bought yesterday, on my way to work? On impulse, I wandered into a bookstore and over to the remainder table. There was a history of the Black Douglas Clan of Scotland. Since they are so intertwined with Percy family history, I picked it up, paid, and dashed to work.

Did the book trigger the dream or did the gathering of the dream send me to the book? Is the answer in the book?

Something about the place of the dream and the events of the dream are important, but I can’t sort it out yet. I can feel that it’s not one of those dreams that you have and it’s “oh, yeah, I had a dream about a place I once visited.” It matters. It resonates. And is it relevant to my fiction or my life?

The Widow’s Chamber has to be my priority today, but after that, I need to start digging around both in the history of Otterburn and through my own photos and diary entries. I need to figure out what it all means. It’s the key to something. But I don’t know what the key fits. Yet.



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