Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Story Begins -- In the Beginning Was the Word


The stage is almost set.  Choices made for costumes, lighting, and most of the cast.  Looks like an interesting weaving of storylines.  The director walks around the stage one last time, and gets caught up in the story.

The furniture is different.  I've come to expect that from a dream.  We have less than 24 hours.  It is moving day. Or perhaps it should be better said it is packing day. And in less than 24 hours it will be moving day.  Six a.m.?  Nine a.m.?   I don’t remember now.  But it is time.
I am uncertain if we will be able to get everything out.  I certainly don’t have boxes or even enough time to pack everything up.  And yet I am calm.  Moving through the house to see what absolutely positively has to be taken, I have to walk around a stuffed bear with long eyelashes and a hint of femininity.  This is not a baby bear.  She's the kind that you can really cuddle up with on the couch. 

There are stuffed velvet kittens and some plastic sharks in a goldfish bowl.  A six foot Labrador standing on his hind legs and a floppy eared mutt down on all fours crowd in the hallway.  Standing next to them is a funny big nosed stuffed person, all head with itty-bitty arms and legs, about waist high.  He is cute in a cartoon character sort of way, and red.  In fact there are two of them, the one standing next to the dogs in the hallway, and another one tucked almost out of sight behind the couch with her arm around a brown mare.   A saddled black horse with white mane and tail is kneeling near the front door looking toward the couch.  I don't remember owning any of these stuffed animals, have never seen them before.  

Surfacing up out of the dream I remember that the props crew goes to a lot of work to find things that will fit into the set of my dream dramas.  The details vary from dream to dream, just as the stories that weave together into the tapestry of each imagining are different.

It is almost time to leave.  I don't know how I know this.  It feels as if I've been handed a script and the screenwriter has given it as part of the background. Regardless, somehow I have to pack all these critters into boxes to take them with me.  I don’t know where I am going.  How I will get there.  Or even if I am going alone.  I just know it is time to go. 

Wandering into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee I am stopped by a thick spider web strung across the walkway from the ceiling, though the creatures hanging in it aren't spiders at all.  Striped like a tiger, orange and black they have twelve pairs of legs.  And clearly they spin webs. They don’t look poisonous, but one never knows with a new critter.  Hanging in their web over the fridge, they have anchored a cable to the very center of the floor, making it hard to move around the kitchen.  

I really don’t want them jumping down on me, I’m not fond of that.  But their web is in the way.  Heart pounding, I disentangle the thread and one of them jumps onto the floor.  I do not want it scurrying under the fridge or worse - running up my leg.   I believe in 'catch and release' so I choose to trap it under a glass bowl from the counter.  The other spidiger thing seems to be tangled in the web and is easily caught in another bowl.  It must be really sick because the poor thing is just laying in the bowl on its back pretending to be dead.  

Looking around the kitchen there's an air of unreality about the whole thing.  There are two of these tiger-spidery things.  I return to the living room and began to realize that there a lot of the things are present in pairs.  Two red head guys.  Two dogs.  Two chairs.  Two canisters.  There are even two identical doors on the fridge.  It is bizarre.  And none of it is alive.  There are stuffed fabric animals, plastic bugs, dolls, drawings, stick figures, sculptures.  Two of this and two of that.  Pairs of things. Everywhere. 

Something very strange is going on.

Shaking my head, I go back into the kitchen and carefully release my captives, apologizing to the spidigers even though I now realize they are made of plastic.  I'm polite that way.  And even though they're not real, something says I could have hurt them.  Not wanting the props guys to be upset, I put the couple carefully back into their web and re-anchor the broken thread out of the way on the window blinds.

I need more information and wander into the bedroom.  The bed is empty, covers turned down, waiting.  But lying on top of a very long dresser is a bear, quite comfortably stretched on a white blanket folded for padding.  He reminds me very much of a brown bear puppet I had some years ago.  Only this one is human sized.  He is waiting for someone.  Me?  I don’t think so.  But there is a quiet smile and softness around his mouth as he dreams. 

“Do stuffed animals dream?”  I ask out loud to no one in particular.  And then an idea occurs to me.     I return to the living room and bring the feminine bear to the doorway of the bedroom.  She leans against the door jam, waiting.  If he wants her he’s going to have to ask her to join him.  And together they can go out into the forest - or discover the softness of the feather pillows.

Not your ordinary dream
I finally realize that I am seeing the equivalent of an ark.  In house form.  Or perhaps more properly the stage of an ark… a theatrical stage.

Perhaps of a new world in which animals live together, harmoniously.  They don’t eat each other, they don’t need to.  That somehow they absorb their energy from the world around them, without depleting it.  They build for beauty and usefulness.  They explore for the joy of exploring.  Play and work together.  Using the strengths of each to create their world.  The small and frail are as useful as the big and strong.

This is a world with peaceful rules.  And anyone who decides to bring violence and war to this world will be removed, and sent back to school.  Those bad behaviors are things we learned by watching too much television when we were young.  This is graduate school.  When they grow up and let go of the violence they will be allowed to come back.

As I return to the living room I can see through the window that a man is sitting in a glider on the front porch, waiting for me.

I now realize that I will not be taking these things with me.  That I was, am, supposed to leave them behind.  


And then I wake up.  And remember.

So now the real question is… is this the stuff that new worlds are made of?  What if... this is how it works?  We set a new stage, and then say "the Word" and the action begins.  What is the word that a director uses? 

Ah yes … “Act……”   But I don’t want to say it yet.  I still have a character that needs to be cast, the actor hasn't said he will take the contract.  But one way or another it won’t be long.

Action
In the Beginning Was the Word.



Gayle McCain, Fantasy Author
Sacrifice and Forest of Mists 


No comments: