It’s just two weeks now until The Enchanted Life is officially published. In some ways, it seems like an age has passed since I handed the final manuscript over to my editor at the beginning of October; in other ways it seems all too recent, as I find myself some days still in the throes of what my husband calls ‘post-book traumatic stress disorder’.
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
W. B. Yeats
At the still point of the turning world, there the dance is. Are you dancing yet?
Yesterday afternoon, a curious thing happened here in the hills of Connemara. A young boy got out of a car which was presumably driven by a parent, walked up our drive, and knocked on the door. We opened it to find that he was holding a live wren in a jar, with a few holes in the lid to let air pass in and out. In return for showing us the wren, we were apparently supposed to give him money.
Yes, there’s some overlap in these recent posts; after all, I’m making it up as I go along. Each early morning with a notebook brings a new set of reflections to add to the soup. Dream-makers, memory-keepers, storytellers – in a sense, they’re all part of the same thing. But they each have different gifts, and each of those gifts is critical at this time in its own unique way.
Dream-making, yes – that’s one part of what’s needed in this crazy, on-the-brink world. But there’s something rather more than that which was nagging at me as I was writing yesterday’s post, and it came to me last night, in the middle of a rather strange but mostly enjoyable young adult book which I’ve found myself reading for reasons I can’t quite remember. Except perhaps that it includes a sort of alternative world in which storytellers are the most powerful characters – which probably appeals to my sense of what might be appropriate in a good, honest utopia of the kind that I’d like to live in. Anyway: the passages I’ve copied below grabbed my attention because they relate to something else I’ve been pondering – and by no means for the first time – in these dark days of midwinter. And that’s how to live well, when the world is crumbling around you, and when most of things that most of your fellow humans seem to care about while that crumbling is happening seem to you to be signs of mass insanity, verging undoubtedly on an increasingly virulent species-wide psychopathy. We don’t need to wait for the zombie apocalypse; we’re living in it right now.
Well, we’re back to caves again. You can’t get too much cave, at midwinter. At this time of year I feel very bear-like, drawn to the warm darkness of my dreaming-cave. It’s a time for dreaming, for sure. For me, this year is a time for dreaming up new stories, letting the voices dream their way into me. It’s a bit of a hibernatory time, curling up in bed for an hour before sleeping with a book that makes me dream of better worlds. It’s a time for incubating dreams of all kinds.