Dream, Writing Prompt #14: Place of Peace

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

March 8, 2010 -- 6:23 a.m.

I had an odd dream last night. I was biking and a friend of mine came up to me. I knew she was the servant of an old woman who lived in a house nobody but writers could see. She was a witch, but not the bad kind. A wise woman muse who offered advice to young writers. She lived there alone, except for her servant, her daughter/niece, who spent time reading, chuckling, and breaking wood for their shack's fireplace. I knew that this muse had given Robert Jordan advice in his youth, and that she had been his model for an aes sedai, because when I walked into her shack and saw her cloak on her hook, I saw not one, but many, all flickering because they contained all the ages and styles of the world, including Verin's brown vines. She had lived a long time, was very powerful, and very wise.

I would go to visit her as often as I could. Once, I accidentally led a boy to her, even though her location had to be secret. He followed me, desperate to talk to her, even though the road to her house is laced with broken glass meant to cut the unworthy. I'm not sure what happened to him. When I tried to follow him in, the muse's servant slammed the door in my face.

But one day, the servant came to me and told me I had to come, and to bring one of the people in my writing group. She warned him that the "life" of his story was in danger because it wasn't political enough. By which she meant that he wasn't exploring the tyranny of the government's effect on the 'little people' and he needed to do more with it. He needed to reflect on our own government and compare it to his, weaving its follies of history into his word. His story lacked Truth with a capital T, and so would fail.

I asked her what I needed to do. About how I was afraid I was just a wordcrafter, not a storyteller, because I can spin descriptions and make words dance in people's heads, but my stories are not as good as the writing deserves. About my concerns about whether I should continue on as I am, unemployed except for the small jobs, or try to find a job that will let me write and earn money at the same time. Her answer was mostly a shrug, that I should do what I think is best. Then she asked me to describe the stories I was working on, and I told her about the three, how I couldn't seem to settle on my next project because none of them felt right. She told me all my stories were good ones and the main thing I lacked was patience. Patience with myself, patience with others. Patience with the characters that hadn't yet found themselves in my text.

Then she stroked my cheek and said, "don't worry, if you work hard enough, you'll be able to take my place here one day."

And I woke up deliriously happy, because I knew that this is who I am and always will be, and one day, I will get to live in a wood-heated hut in the middle of the slums that no one can see, giving advice to young writers that can change lives. Coax happiness. Give thought.


A true dream, I think, advice to stay on the path I have chosen. People who read my writing later may be surprised to find out that I'm a Christian, because I write such blasphemous things about gods. Take the current epic fantasy I'm working on, where there are seven nations, each one's culture inspired by the seven deadly sins. Part of Christianity's domination of the western world came from the fact it absorbed pagan religions. In my world, it's the other way around, paganity won, but many of the Christian rituals are kept, because they were absorbed. This creates interesting contradictions that I'm still trying to work out (Like, why gods and goddess with such sexual natures would have priests so fully determined to censor everything).

I suppose it is my backlash against worshippers of the recidivist Goddess theory, which believes that there was once a goddess religion that taught peace and love and everyone was happy until the big bad male-centered religions came to suppress them, demonizing Eve and Pandora until all we have left of that religion are little fertility statues and memories of goddesses as bearers of evil.

I believe that there certainly was goddess-worship in the past and that it certainly was repressed, but I don't believe that it was the peace-loving, nature-worship that certain authors claim it was. So my goddesses are sexually-charged and as brutal as their male collegues. Perhaps because I am so full of emotional conflict and hatred and frustration, I sympathize more with the war bringers dieties than the mascots of peace. They are more...human.

But though I cannot explain god's interventions in certain lives, I believe sometimes he whispers peace and confidence to me through my dreams. I believe that it is not the wish-fulfillment of my subconscious, but a true message to keep on trying until I get it right.

So I have written my place of peace, of inspiration. What's yours?

Title: Place of Peace
Genre: None
Type: Self-exploration
, Dialogue

If you could go somewhere to experience peace and confidence in yourself as a writer, somewhere to go and get ideas, where would it be? What would it look like? Who would be there? What kind of questions would you ask that person?

Some people are lucky enough to have places like this in real life. In high school, I had a bridge. And under it, I could lay back and just listen to people crossing and talking, and no one knew that I was there. I liked that. I'm a bit of a sociophobe, so being able to satisfy the human need for company without having the stress of having to act a certain way was very nice. I never had to perform for anyone, but I wasn't completely isolated either. That's my perfect place, where I can be with someone so completely that I don't have to worry about what I say or do. That I can be as bitter and vulgar as I want to be, and no one will judge me or think less of me.

Find your peaceful place, populate it with a muse, even if you'd prefer to be alone, and write to that person about a difficulty you're having with the story. Let your mind drift as you write the response your muse might make. Perhaps, by writing it out, you'll be able to find a way around your difficulties.

That's what I do. And I'm surprised how often it works.


  1. Luisa Perkins said...

    What a wonderful dream; I have no doubt it was a true one. Write on--share your marvelous gift--that's why you have it.

  2. Lee Ann Setzer said...

    A glorious dream--thanks for sharing with the rest of us. It's tempting to imagine myself in your beautifully-realized hut with your muse, but you're right--I need to find my own.

  3. Lee Ann Setzer said...

    Read this right after a dream about the femmy guy in the cowboy get-up from "Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension." If I didn't find him at the ostrich livestock show in time, he was going to commit suicide. It had some sort of happy ending involving him getting a shiny gold cowboy hat.

    Wanna trade dreams?

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