That elusive and most necessary thing we all need; no matter what the occupation. And when we most crave the spark that could develop into a work of genius, or at least something worthy of a self-congratulatory pat on the back, it remains irritatingly beyond reach.
Conversely, when a shiny bright idea strikes, it tumbles out voraciously, demanding immediate chronicling.
Some insight, however, sneaks in subliminally and takes a while to recognise.
The Toy Sorcerer inveigled its way into my consciousness after twenty-odd years of vividly persistent night terrors. Like most people I forget the majority of my dreams shortly after waking, but there are some images that remain as dramatic as the full HD late night features that invade on a regular basis.
As a child I was terrified of the nightmares that wouldn’t let me out; repetitious horrors that forced me to participate, despite my being aware that I was dreaming. Decades later I learned that they were lucid dreams. Had I known how to control them as a child, I might not have woken up to a sweat-soaked imprint of my entire body in the bed sheets. When they raid now, I turn the tables and go where I want to, after a fashion. It’s very difficult to describe the boundaries of what you can and can’t manipulate within a lucid dream, but essentially, one creates an entire ‘realm’ with a single thought; almost as though the thought itself is the architect of the landscape. From that point on you interact with and design more dreamscapes. When you finally exit this state, it manifests as an indistinct transition between sleep and consciousness; sometimes taking a while before you can be unequivocally certain that you are actually awake. I occasionally go through a déjà vu stage where I dream that I have sat up in bed and am about to switch on the light etc. It’s only when something mad happens that I realise I’m still caught up in the maelstrom.
Lucid dreams took a bit of getting used to, but I actually look forward to them now. I haven’t yet managed to trigger one, but I know there is a way to train your unconscious to respond to certain stimuli, such as a flashing light or rhythmic sound at the REM sleep stage. Nevertheless; my realm adventures come to me when I most need them and that’s good enough for me.
It took years of self-analysis to figure out that my nightmares were the symptom of an abyss of repressed feelings. And it took years more to fathom out what to do about it, but once I did, The Toy Sorcerer was born. There is always a little of the author in every fiction book; either in a character or characters, or in their experiences, but Alice is one projected facet of me. Through her I heal myself.
Self-analysis, as opposed to the professional third-party kind, might be considered a cowards way out; hindered by egotistical bias and denial. But even the most tenacious psychoanalyst can never be certain they’ve penetrated the murky depths of their subject’s inner miasma.
Only I can be sure of what is true and real. Dealing with that truth, however, is an entirely different matter. Fortunately for me, I write. And these outpourings have proven to be my salvation.
But I’m still barking mad, thank God!