I thought I open the window a bit to what I’m immersed in, drafting the sequel to Course of Mirrors, called Shapers. Another mythic adventure, and more. The short piece below is not representative of the tense action this story has plenty of, but depicts a pivotal moment. The scenery is Eire, where time-zones overlap. In 2550 AD the island is called Sax, where Rhonda, the super-controlling power, cast their misfits. In the excerpt below, Tilly (Cassia in Ana’s story) has arranged for Cara and Mesa to meet in Kerry during the 1970s.
The theme touches on the creative process. Something for my writer friends. I welcome any feedback to the draft.
* * *
Tilly’s ruined estate on the Kerry peninsula was one among many places around the world where past and future began to cross or run parallel during the 1970s. Not all drop-outs travelling through Derrynane were aware of the phenomenon. Those open to the new wavelengths either tuned in, or received no more than garbled white noise. The going slogan was – love, don’t think – though it should have been – love and think – and stay grounded. These were turbulent times. Traditionalists abhorred the breaking free of conditioning. Leaps into the unknown frightened them.
This is Cara’s time, and these are her thoughts: Personal myth is a complex self-creation, mainly unconscious, but less so once we replace the postulates we inherited with our own, and are drawn to our psychic kin. Every night when the body rests we visit beings in other spheres. We may discount these sojourns as dreams unrelated to our daily existence. Yet bridging occurs when we value inner dynamics and re-story the associative symbols of images. Resonance momentarily fills the void between the known and the unknown, and meaning is assigned to events. Some good people trust in God, but then abnegate their creativity. Are we not the desire of a divine will? Are we not the ears, eyes, nose, hands and feet of a universal intelligence, of which we are the deed? Does not our speech derive from one sound? And is love not the creed that breathes all things and directs the movement of all spheres? I don’t understand the need to prove or disprove a universal intelligence that is within and all around us. The world I create is imperfect and suffers from on-going flux. But I can bring my small flame to its shadows.
Now that Cara’s myth caught up with her, and she was confronted with the net of postulates she had cast into the future. She found herself challenged to engage with what she animated, because she was animated by it.
Gutch spotted Tilly talking to Cara and Mesa in the hall. He was bursting with pleasure. ‘I found my clan,’ he said. ‘This place is teeming with talented actors. We’re going to do some magic theatre. Are you joining us?’
‘I need to take care of something,’ Tilly said. Can you keep an eye on Gart?’
‘That devil had some weird conversion trip and is sound asleep under the table.’
‘Excellent. Let him sleep.’
When Cara and Mesa arrived at the cottage across the atrium, Tilly had lit a fire in the hearth. A nest of chairs invited them, and the smell of fresh coffee. ‘Have some,’ she said, ‘pointing to a steaming pot, ‘and there’s chocolate cake, too.’ Mesa soaked up the atmosphere, transported to Ana’s world, reminded of Cassia’s kitchen. Tilly placed a small leather pouch in Cara’s lap. ‘Here, forged by fire, polished by the sea, a gift of remembrance.’
Cara opened and turned the pouch. A black stone fell into her hand – smooth as marble, yet radiating warmth and shining in the glow of the fire. ‘Ana’s talisman!’
‘Yes, and you might as well own it.’ Tilly paused, gazing into the flames. ‘I have a favour to ask from you, for Mesa’s benefit.’
‘What favour?’ Cara poured cups of coffee for everyone, dished out giant slices of chocolate cake and added a dollop of whipped cream to each.
‘Your future, Cara, has come to visit you. Mesa returned to assimilate what was lost to her. With Ana’s story you re-animated her soul. Certain events in history require beings to return, to right things or bring a message. Mesa will take on her role in the odyssey of the Ypocs. And she’s going to be the narrator of your story, Cara.’
‘Huh, this takes a leap of the imagination. I haven’t even smoked the weed.’
Tilly smiled. ‘You know what it takes. Uncovering a personal myth is different from writing a Hollywood script. To help Mesa to re-connect with random creative processes, I want you to explain to her in as much detail as possible how your mind works.’
Cara heaved a breath. ‘The idea sucks every thought from my head.’
‘That’s a good start.’
‘All right, here goes a slice of random micro processing … Momentarily stuck with a paragraph, I remember to stretch my legs. In the kitchen I snatch a yogurt from the fridge. I notice a sticky shelf – mental note – clean it soon. Dark clouds gather outside, looks like rain. I run up to the bathroom and close the window. On the way down, I see dust-clouds on the stairs – mental note. Heading for the desk I stop by the fridge again because I’m now really hungry. I prepare a sandwich – mental note – put butter on shopping list. I use the loo – mental note – toilet paper is running out. Telephone rings. The answer machine kicks in. Just as well, I’ll return the call later – mental note. A letter that needs sending sits next to the phone, I put a stamp on it – mental note – post it. A fly is trapped in the window. I release the fly and study a tree out front that leans over and needs pruning. I quickly assess which branch to cut – mental note. Off to my desk. Passing a shelf I spot the book I couldn’t find earlier. What a relief! I plonk it on my research file and am reminded of an article I need to chase – mental note. The sun shines again. I open the backdoor and listen to the birds. Grass needs cutting – mental note. Finally back with my paragraph the writing flows, sheer bliss. At a natural break in the narrative I decide to go shopping. In the car I have an epiphany relating to a character in my story, to do with birds – mental note. The walker I pass reminds me to visit a certain person – mental note. I recall this person collects small antique tins. I could find him a present – mental note. I think of metaphors, how obsessions, like collecting tins, are really personalised teachings – mental note.’
Mesa had listened with rapt attention. ‘What happens to all the mental notes?’
‘Ha, ha … they’re promises. They’re torture. They heap up. They demand execution. My way to deal with accumulative pressures and gain time to focus on my writing is through procrastination. I’ve become patient with nagging voices. They’re not jailors. They’re easily humoured until the time is right for a blitz. Then I act fast and achieve a great deal in a short time, happy to have cleared the space.
‘But why give these mental notes the power of demands over you? Mesa asked.
Cara glanced at Tilly, who had taken up knitting, as if the dialogue bored her. What was her agenda? Was this really for Mesa’s benefit? Tilly smiled and said, ‘Go on.’
‘It started out as compulsive pattern. I was conditioned to respond to the needs of my environment, and to maintain order. There are exceptions. Some days, it could be the weather, a dream, the stars … from the moment I open my eyes everything flows effortlessly. My brain is relaxed and I attract harmonious thoughts, like I’m fine-tuned to a subtler station, beyond the busy bandwidth of neurotic naggers. The tuning can be learned. It’s like taming a wild horse. I can actually do it, when necessary. But I like letting the horse run wild. I find wild things that way.’
‘We have different conditioning,’ Mesa said. ‘From early on I was trained to tame my mind, to let it rest like a still pond, or focus thoughts like laser beams. Then free play was introduced, disrupting Rhonda’s order, and all went wrong for the Ypoc.’
‘Aha! I bet you didn’t have to juggle a deep conflict, and oppose a controlling father.’
Tilly dropped her knitting. ‘This gets interesting. It’s what Mesa came back for.’
* * *
Apologies: The origin of the image of the horse is unknown to me. Many thanks to the photographer.
10 responses to “… the wild horse of the mind …”
I think I got into the ideas quickly and I loved the parallels going on. Some parts flowed so quickly when I was reading eg the mental notes and others stuck and slowed me down – not a bad thing – eg personal myth section. This piece opened up my own experiences, so I loved it. I think it would benefit from what I call clearer signposting as you jump through time. Keep going at it!
Thanks, mystery man. Ideas on signposting are welcome.
Lovely to have a glimpse of your fascinating writing – thanks – Diane
Thanks Diane. Must catch up with reading yours posts 🙂
To be honest I’m in a bit of a slough at the moment, I have been writing but just no serials – I’m waiting and I have a rather horrible man in my computer who might develop into something if I can bear to be around him !!! 🙂
Let him leap out of the frame and see what happens.
Just some random thoughts (“mental notes”)… I love the idea of the 1970’s from so far out (to use an expression we used in the ’60s/’70’s), for we can’t see clearly our own time, it would seem, living always on the edge of the future, continuously falling from the present, always asking, “what just happened? what just happened”. Is that what makes every time turbulent? This continual falling? Also the idea of connections not limited by the usual constraints (time, space), a kind of construction, or “conditioning,” as Mesa says, that seems necessary for practical navigation, but that then limits maybe the experience of living. And then there’s that purpose of coming back, revisiting, real time, the conflict? I like it.
Thanks Joe, for you ‘mental notes’ :). I think you’d enjoy the odysseys once they’re published.
In the first novel, Course of Mirrors, Ana lives Cara’s mythical past. In Shapers, Mesa lives Cara’s mythical future, with elements of SF, where the three characters exist like a triple soul in parallel times. To have a cast of interesting players re-appear, some with the same, others with different names, is great fun as well as intriguing.
I’m burning to share more, but need to be patient. Writing Shapers is just as involving as Course of Mirrors was.
I recently plugged up the courage to sent out a spontaneous query for CoM and am waiting for feedback from a publisher who has asked for the whole MS. It wish for that magical person who resonates with the writing and groks the idea behind the story. The way my feelings are wired up I soar with support. Otherwise it’s the huge challenge of self-publishing.
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