‘A dream unquestioned is a letter unopened’. Apparently. Do you agree?
Twenty years ago I was in the grip of prolonged and serious physical pain due to a then-undiagnosed condition. I couldn’t work as normal. I spent long periods confined to the house. Someone was very unkind to me and, as a way of acknowledging his fault without having to say it aloud, he handed me a book, saying I might find it of interest. I had plenty of time to read it thoroughly, footnotes and all and, in one of those, discovered a reference to a book that came to mind forcefully this morning.
I woke from a dream so vivid and engaging that I was able to write down the dialogue between the figures in it and to describe their outward and inward dispositions, partly because I had ‘been’ them all, inhabiting the action from their perspectives. This is not possible in waking life. At least not with the immediate and assured access a dream affords.
This morning’s scenes, I realised, in which I was both multiply participant and also the observer, opened up for me a way to go deeper into a character in the novel I’m writing.
The fourth research trip for my novel (6th – 17th April), coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, was necessarily a time of public reflection, assessment and forecasting about peace and conflict, in great depth and with many of the major actors back in the spotlight.
The third research trip for my novel started and ended with snow. My flight from Cardiff to Belfast was delayed by 23 inches of it near the airport and by another fall on the return but I encountered nothing other than warmth from the people I met in Northern Ireland.
It was a pleasure to spend time with teachers, schoolchildren, community workers, experts in Irish and Ulster Scots, journalists, farmers and agricultural experts. I also enjoyed two great reading gigs and came home with a prize certificate.