… harvest moon dreaming …

p108047616/17th September 2016 was a strange night of wild dreams – one of a big old mansion of which I occupy a part (I actually live in a semi,) while the other part is lived in by an aging famous actor, Jeremy Irons. In the dream he collects antique furniture, art objects and frames. Some large pieces, including a massive empty frame, he fixes onto a wall in the courtyard. We mainly meet in the wide inner hall of the mansion. He seems a little absentminded but quite amicable and kind. He likes that I talk to him.

I don’t generally dream of actors, and I’m not the fan-kind, but I looked up a recent Guardian article on J. I. and found he used to trade in antiques. He also believes inanimate objects have spirit, saying, ‘… energy never dies, just travels, so the older an object is, the more it has absorbed. A quote in the article chimes with his persona in my dream: “I think all of society should be a thinktank where you throw ideas about. I had hoped the internet would help. Actually, what it has done is make everybody go schtum. They’re attacked for saying anything. So they say nothing.”

This reminded of a quote I used once in a dissertation, regarding the forced silence of the masses: … refusal of meaning and refusal of speech; or of the hyperconformist simulation of the very mechanism of the system, which is another form of refusal by overacceptance. It is the actual strategy of the masses … it is the winning one today … most adapted to the present phase of the system.’   – Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings, 1992

I seem to have a lot in common with the J. I. He even smokes roll-ups 🙂

Back to my dream: … Gradually all the rooms in the house get crowded with people who bring books and antiques, and potter around. I ask one woman if it’s her house.  She doesn’t answer, busying herself with re-organising books. I hand her two yellowed pamphlets. She thanks me and adds them to a shelf. After a while I think maybe I asked the wrong question and say, ‘Did you grow up in this house?’

‘Yes, that’s right,’ she says. ‘I grew up here,’ as if she just remembered. More people arrive, moving furniture around, finding seats, making themselves comfortable, chatting. And yet more visitors come through the open gate into the courtyard, like they’re relatives.

Feeling crowded in, I say, ‘I want you all out of here. Now!’

*     *     *

The feeling on waking was one of confusion and a need for clarity and direction. Presently I endure a transitional phase, and am almost immobilised as to how best to frame my first novel (including a sequel and a third book in planning,) Every time I nudged my small publisher during the last months  (well, actually three years) I got another excuse, usually re: family matters. I’ve lost faith. The contract expired. With plans to submit Course of Mirrors to a big publisher, I’m attempting to whittle down a 4500 word synopsis to 3000 words, finding it impossible.

And I ponder – to express our core wavelength through a public medium requires good timing.

I tend to assume that every element in a dream expresses an aspect of my self – the inner crowd. So I’ll be giving voices to the mansion, the books, the furniture, the empty frames, the generous courtyard with its wide open gate, the characters …

I thought about the paradoxes I guess many of my readers here are familiar with: The accumulation of things is a burden to me, but I like the comfort of stability and the stories objects hold. I need my own space to absorb and reflect on experiences, but also like the stimulating gift of company. I’m drawn to slightly eccentric people, and may appear as such to others, but I also value people with clear intentions who get things done.

Everything seems upside down and inside out … My conscious mind is unconsciously magical, while my unconscious mind is irrationally pragmatic.

Another thought occurred:  Only inches away from each other we live in vastly different worlds that require constant translation to convey meaning and navigate relationships. The expressed or unexpressed thoughts and feelings moving through us occasionally chime with people in our vicinity, yet what most significantly affirms our core wavelength are the non-local resonances with souls across distances of space, and time.

I’m a little wary of advice, but am in need of it at the moment, so please share your thoughts on my dream and my general predicament.


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32 responses to “ … harvest moon dreaming …

  1. Somehow I do not find Jeremy Irons a surprising companion for you- the same reserve and lean asperity, and smoking roll-ups these days is a niche camaraderie! He represents a unique controlled success story, and does not seem to deviate to being all things to all men? Kinship there?

    First to say I am SO disappointed for you re publisher. I did fear it all along but one can never pour doubt when hope still whimpers along. It feels like drowning a kitten. I feel for the transitional limbo that offers a huge house ( mainstream big publisher?) cluttered with the appearances of value? The ‘inner crowd’ might be both your awareness of the crowded marketplace as well as your fears that your small pamphlets will get ‘shelved’ and ignored?

    But the semi detached life has failed you so perhaps a mainstream big house is a hell with it jump.

    I have been similarly perplexed by the sense of treading water and crazily decided to forge ?blaze a determined path to finding readers by methodically taking a course ( expensive) and making contact with a man offering help towards finding an agent. Only to discover that my self reproach (c’mon…you are too arrogant, unwilling to dig hard) was justified BECAUSE all the methods outlined did not apply to a writer whose works had nothing in common and were not a series and could not attract fellow genre collaboration of box sets etc etc. Now I already knew all that but temporarily forgot it. So I appealed for help from someone who has read quite a lot of what I write and she said ‘Forget audience, forget marketing, forget about the potential for publishing and sales. Just focus on something you feel the greatest commitment to. It came as such a relief because I have almost stopped being creative altogether in the last three years.!

    I realise you and I are not in the same place and you have not published but I am sure there is a similar kind of adviser for you. Your work is much more accessible than mine and you already have a considerable following. Have you tried She Writes Publishing? http://shewritespress.com/how-it-works/. Maybe crowdfunding with them behind you? As well as getting to agents so eggs in more than one basket? THis was the man I approached and apart from expensive personal help he has a number of free websites to guide Query letters and synopses. They seem to branch out from here http://literary-agents.com/

    I would be happy to read the synopsis and make very tentative suggestions?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your observations and word choices always delight, Philippa.
      The crowded marketplace is indeed confusing to me, partly because ‘Course of Mirrors’ is not a sharply defined genre and requires imaginative marketing to get attention. This can only happen if an agent or publisher loves and groks the story like I do.

      Gosh I admired your determination with ‘Involution,’ such a unique work, and poetic treasure, exemplifying the need for art and science to interact, the lack of which mirrors the problem of placing the book.

      I’ll follow up the links you suggest. And I’ve more work to do with the dream. I’m very touched by the generous feedback from my friends here.


      • I wonder whether in the current climate a hope of a publisher ( and I share it!) is not a case of ‘Let this cup pass from me’? once the creative life must surrender to grinding quasi-humiliation ( or that is how it feels). I have been following two authors who have struggled to get rights back from unhelpful publishers and now seem to steam ahead with new covers and revived books.

        I am beginning to ask whether there is a short cut to those of us who write un-classifiable books? Surely some web-savvy idealist might run with ‘Highly Classified’ ‘LImited Exposure’ works selected for their quality, and originality to be offered to subscribers whose small subscriptions fund the publication and who receive an invitation to the launch- when it happens.

        But I look at Brain PIckings that offers superb Sunday dinners and hangs out a begging bowl and get my answer!

        I don’t know? We get deluged with the ‘Never been a better time to be a writer’ mantra. I am sure that, in its limited way, is true. We can all scribble with the aid of technology. Publish un-found and ignored by millions more. Reach readers? One at a time. My greatest comfort are the few but generous and loyal friends whose avatars I see regularly. Some speak volumes, some never do.

        What puzzles me is why the itch to write is never allayed with scratching?

        Liked by 2 people

        • … A ‘Highly Classified’ ‘Limited Exposure’ works selected for their quality, and originality … Great. I wish this will come along.

          I’ve followed some of the disheartening stories re: niche publishers.
          The publ who contracted me loved my story. She is a perfectionist, which is why I trusted she’d do honour to the project. Pressures on time, and, or insufficient funds, as I understand it (I heard nothing for many weeks and have given up,) would obviously compromise quality. I’m thankful. After all it would be worse, as happened to some writers we know, who had shoddy book churned out and then had to pick up the pieces.

          I always did amazingly well with jobs and big projects when someone trusted and sponsored me. It’s who I am, probably because my dad withheld his support, and deep down I crave it when dealing with the larger world. I know it sounds pathetic.
          However, through personal human contact much was restored. I learned to rely on myself, being centered, competent and confident, as mother, with friends, and with client and group work.

          There lies our comfort, Philippa:)
          Re: Maria Propova’s Brainpicking posts. She has an amazing talent to keep inspirational ideas in circulation.
          Love the way she put this …
          No room for me in your life anymore? Unsubscribe.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Philippa offers some good ideas to stay in the game. I’ll offer an alternative idea, building on Philippa’s point that you already have a connected base with following. My own decision to go here was made when I heard Cornel say “Time is Real.” And I decided I wanted to write a book of my one rather than to be published. Other thoughts too of course, the “Reading Crisis,” for example. Anyway, check this out, and if yr interested, send me questions? https://www.createspace.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. silentnovelist

    Dear Ashen, I hesitate, actually it’s more than hesitate, I pause for quite a while to think, feel, wonder … what on earth can I say to help you through this maze. Probably nothing at all (because I think of you as very wise), but my dear, I have to offer something because I also think of you as my friend. But before I tell you what I see I can’t help wondering what you would say to someone who’d written what you’ve written. Because there lies your answer, I believe.

    I see you in the garden of that mansion of your dream where you’ve managed to escape the hordes of visitors. In your dream you want them all to ‘Get out, now!’ – yet I see it is you that leaves, and willingly. There is an old maze and you enter, glad to find solitude after all the confusion brought by chatter and too many milling people and stuff. You wander for a while, feeling increasingly peaceful as you stroll through the maze of paths, content to turn and turn again with no sense of direction until you come upon a high hedge of ancient yew which blocks your way. You can go no further in the maze but when you look behind you it is dusk and the way back is no longer visible because you’ve been wandering along the same path for so long you did not see dusk has fallen. Beneath the yew is an old bench, and so you sit down and roll your tobacco and listen to the blackbirds nigh-time singing as they flit about low in the bushes. The sun goes down casting pinks and purples above the dark high hedges, then the stars come out and all is dark and sparkling. You feel peaceful and content. You may sleep for a while on this balmy night, or smoke another roll-up knowing now that when the sun comes up it will bring clarity and wisdom and a new sense of purpose back into your conscious mind.

    The paradoxes you describe are familiar to me, and something I struggle with on a daily basis. Antiques passed down though lovely, gather dust and create clutter which hinders creativity. Friends – bohemian, straightforward, creative or lovers of bling and shopping all share the same humanity when the chips are down. Distance means nothing, death too feels to me a transient loss which lessens over time, not because time heals, but because memories strengthen and I believe we are all one and the same essence so spiritually there is no disconnection.

    Believe in Course of Mirrors. I’m sorry the publishing deal seems to have fallen through but perhaps it has cleared a space for the right one to materialize. I’d be happy to read through your synopsis if it helps.
    As for Jeremy Irons I honestly haven’t got a clue!
    Love Diana

    Liked by 3 people

    • … I can’t help wondering what you would say to someone who’d written what you’ve written. Because there lies your answer, I believe …
      This made me smile, D ☼
      I had sort of escaped into the maze you so wonderfully evoke, during the warm late afternoons and evenings of these last weeks, in my garden. Now the September dusk sets in I must trust, my writing, my dreams, and for the space in my mind to clear.

      The sculpting of the synopsis will help me focus, it’s a good challenge, and I may need feedback. Thanks for your offer.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I wouldn’t dream (haha) of trying to offer advice but it was a wonderful dream I think. I love the idea of the courtyard and the frame, I have a mirror that is looking for a home, perhaps I should put it outside! I am sorry to hear that the publishing contract has not come to pass but maybe it was to give you the opportunity to find a better home for your book – I hope so. As for mansions full of people and conglomerations of “Stuff” well it’s life isn’t it – just life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just life 🙂
      You made me think – the large empty frame in the dream invites an irresistible image, an elegant logo, concept, an installation, maybe a mirror …
      In my actual house, doors, windows, books and images compete for limited wall space.


  5. Since I don’t know you personally, I have to speak from my point of view and experiences. I think you have had a great deal to deal with in your life recently. Dealing with your father is old and familiar. You have many memories that can clog your mind.

    I grew up with antiques and I love them. Recently, due to my husband’s severe illness we had to downsize dramatically and all the antiques that I have cared for all these years needed to be sold off. I thought I would be devastated, but amazingly I felt free and not burdened down any longer. I did however, keep my books that go back to the 1700s. The books are my family. You may have to let go of some familiar memories and the past… declutter as I did.

    I may be totally off base, but this is what came to my mind. Give yourself space and find that garden.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re not far off base, Gwynn. The experience helping my father through his crisis earlier this year entailed many trips to Germany and raised complex feelings, space shifts, time shifts, language shifts, perception shifts, decluttering too. The sorting and re-settling of inner and outer stuff is ongoing. At the same time much uncertainty has lifted and I know what to expect and not to expect when my father dies, and he is well taken care of, which is a relief.
      It’s touching to imagine you consoled by your family of books after all you had to release. I relate – my books feel like a tribe of treasured friends.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. P.S. Have you come across this Agent Hunter Site? Happy to give you six months worth as a present? I did join way back and then forgot about it. I must rejoin. The other thing that my advisor said was find an agent in the UK or Canada. She was in the US! Here is the link.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jenny

    Ist past Midnight and Iam a bit tired, Kind of inbetween the shades of day and Night . IT is raining, wonderful sound and fresh air and it is very still…I love it.
    Reading your Dream gave me a blurry way of feeling to be there and at the Same Time not, more visitor ….another one still owning the place bringing New books, a Busy crowd of wellknown strangers, no interaction really, i was so glad to Hear you Say Out Out, all the voices, images, thouhghts , ideas and so on … Clearyour house of the old stuff inside Out Open the Doors and Windows , let the wind come in, the breeze, the light and Move dance, Swing, sing, Listen to the silence, dont Look for a solution, Do what you Love als simple als it might be, Love joy Play ….yourpeace , the Sky above Earth …innocent child with no Purpose Otter than to Be…..bevome
    Free again….a New way ..can you trust the desire of your Heart ….let this Be your guidance ……

    Just renovated my flat….a New floor …..my back and my nerves ran amok,
    But now ist mainly done ….gave away so much, now feeling more light and more new….no hurry. Let it be, wait and See where the River Takes me, Takes you, Takes us…..thanking my old life for all the pleasure and pain , i
    Can Sense a new opening….to….? Relax

    Love the butterfly……leaving the cocoon and unnessecary wishes
    Embracing you ….surf the wave

    Love and light

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, thank you Jenny for this powerful incantation of love and light winged through the night across the continent.
      Glad you got the card – the butterfly seemed right.
      Let’s play with the breeze, the wave, trusting and open – to a little more freedom, a little more beauty and a little more happiness – my new mantra for self remembrance ☼

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Ashen!
    As per usual, I find a post from you to be irresistible and as such must respond.
    Dreams are wonderful. Providing entertainment whilst we sleep and wonderment after waking. How confusing they can be.
    You are best placed to decipher the meaning behind your “Autumn dreaming” however, from your description there appears to be a correlation with present happenings and recent events for you.
    I was taken with your desire to reduce the word tally in the “Course of Mirrors” sequel/sequel.
    Oddly, as with dream, what I am about to tell you seems irrational and senseless on the surface. But it really is amazingly refreshing when “over-writing” becomes an over-compliance.
    Take your meaningful text a paragraph at a time and write it backwards – that is from the end of the paragraph in a sensible edit to the beginning.
    Leave out anything which is un-necessary and concentrate on meaning only.
    Joe will hate this method, but it is great should you be blocked or too willing to serve up a polite “Course”.
    It’s a bit like tapas dining compared to fine dining – you will get my drift I’m certain.
    Cheers Ashen.B

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks, B. An interesting suggestion. I’ve edited backwards before and found it useful.
    The text I’m struggling with is not CoM, which has gone through extensive edits, but the synopsis, where I must accommodate a large cast of characters, none of them superfluous, but moving the story through many twists. I’ve cut 400 word, not enough.
    I’m now going back once more to this article by Jane Friedman. https://janefriedman.com/novel-synopsis/

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Hello Ashen, I liked the massive empty frame – waiting for something to go in there, and it gets fixed in the courtyard. All those people entering – sounds like many irons in the fire.

    Good luck with getting your book out there – and doing the synopsis. KISS – keep it short and simple …

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi, Ashen. After reading all the wise comments above, I really don’t feel that I can contribute anything tangibly useful, but I wanted to let you know that I am sending you good thoughts, and visualising you happy, and with an unexpectedly successful outcome to your book.

    Several years ago, you sent me a piece by W. Hutchinson Murray about taking the first step, and reading that piece has contributed to changing my life, because I have found out that taking that first step truly does set wonderful, unexpected events in motion. I will always be grateful to you for sending me that text. So, why don’t you take a first step toward self-publishing? Why don’t you approach someone new? Perhaps Hay House (though I don’t know if they publish non-self-help)? Doing this is bound to spark off new ideas, and fling open new doors. Kick all the clutter of self-doubt out of your mind, and just start walking… and trust.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, wishes, and acknowledgement, Katia, an apt reminder of advice I’m presently heeding myself.

      Thankfully, my post coincided with my agent/publisher finally coming clean. Lack of funds means the book aspect of her business must discontinue. Having been loyally waiting for 3 years, I’m not keen to wait on other agents, or big publishers. I’m taking control. Clutter removed 🙂 I’ll self publish, having had plenty time to explore such options. Watch the space.

      … “Faith is the evidence of things not seen.” -W. Hutchinson Murray

      Liked by 4 people

      • Three years is a long wait for disappointment! It seems to me that the lessons of life tend to veer towards ‘trust yourself only’. That has certainly been true for me, and yet one is continually tempted to hope for a less lonely path. Very best of luck with your resolve.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, Philippa.
          An agent/publisher loving your novel is obviously not enough. I was seduced by my need for someone to hold my hand, At least I kept writing and finished a sequel.
          Going through a last fresh read of Course of Mirrors, I’m certain it will find a readership, if my enjoyment of being drawn once again into its adventurous narrative and surprising formative moments is anything to go by.
          What I wish foremost is a striking cover, and a little luck, otherwise I might need to move into a caravan.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I am in similar straits re-reading mine, and finding bits still compelling. A detached commercial Editor would affirm. It is SO difficult to be objective! I was watching a post from a cover designer who offers templates and bespoke design http://www.bookscovered.co.uk/ready-to-publish. I couldn’t see any of the templates as appropriate for C0fM. But one thing I learned was my unwisdom of designing my own covers without taking into account their genre ‘identifyers’. Trouble is neither have a genre from which to gather the rich fruit of font, colour, idiom! I just thought unique covers would shout ‘unique’. They did and the people probably fled in the opposite direction. Maybe one should camouflage! Or plagiarise!

            Liked by 1 person

  12. Interesting thought on unique, etc.
    I’ve plenty of images to use, but how to brand the story?
    Shall the image signal fantasy, which it is and is not. Shall it signal literary, which it is and is not, SF or spiritual, which it is and is not, romance, which it is and is not, mystery, which it is and is not … ?
    It the image was too abstract it could mean anything …
    I like the cover of Involution, front and back 🙂 How would you change it?


    • Nice to have an is-or-is-not fellow traveller! Actually mine are both neti neti, not this, not that! I would not change Involution as it stands but did design a cover for just the poetic narrative on its own when there was hope of a publisher for that. I might still consider doing it but without the 1oK minimum email addresses that are now considered necessary wonder whether there is any point? I love designing covers. It can take hours of fruitless fun! I have not yet mastered photoshop. If I did maybe that’s all I would do!


  13. Did you ever decide how to unravel this one? I so often find that my dreams take months, sometimes years, to decipher. I change my mind, too. But perhaps what counts most, to me, is that the route never has a conclusion, only a series of possibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

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