Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Not horror, but a dark fairytale retelling I wrote a bit ago on a lark…

Sleeping Beauty of the Witching Hour

Written under my pen name: Tasha Harlow

A Retelling of Giambattista Basile’s “The Sun, Moon and Talia” from the Pentamerone– 1634

sleeping_beauty by Victor Gabriel Gilbert

The now dusty chateau was once filled every Friday with hundreds of

masked dancers.  It was indeed at one of these balls that the host met his future

bride.

This Lord and Lady imagined for themselves a child, and after many fruitless

summers, conceived a daughter whom they named Evara.

She came out screeching at the first blush of three- nature’s most enchanted hour.    Her hair and smile dusted with gold, she filled their days with starlight.

However, they found their joy short-lived when wise men cast her horoscope.  “She will one day prick her finger on a splinter of flax, and henceforth be of the dead.”

Thereafter, no such seed was allowed into the castle, and the Lord and Lady prayed their daughter safe.   Toward this endeavor, never was she permitted to leave the grounds; and this walled dwelling became a world.

Seasons passed without rebuke or cause for sorrow.   The portent, though, remained in the air, and the child obeyed her parent’s rules with a child’s need to please.   Daytides passed with marionettes and toy soldiers.  Yet the age always comes when make-believe with dolls is cast aside for dreams of a more cardinal rapture.

Evara- whose hair and snow-white complexion fooled people into thinking her thoughts were just as pure- now passed many hours gazing into looking glasses and out of windows.   Her flesh somehow longingly remembering the touch it had not yet known.  Her heart, beating with a devil’s trill.

One day her lover would come.  Thundering he would ride in, bringing with him stories from beyond the gate.   His callused hands as strong as that of any knight.   His kisses, as inviting as the witching hour.

So it was written in the pages of her books.  So would it be in the pages of her

life.

She kept these fantasies hushed so they should belong to her alone.  For from

early youth she’d surmised that no one can steal the dreams you never share.

Rather than grow sulky or morose at her imprisonment, she revelled in these unspent desires that clung to her like the bougainvillea of the castle walls.

So it came to be that shortly after her sixteenth birthday, she was dancing about the great passages when she came upon the door which opened up to a long, narrow staircase leading up to the garret.  Never having before dared to climb these forbidden  steps- today she affirmed she was a woman and must free herself from the bonds of parental love.

As she ascended, oft heard warnings returned, clanging like the church bells from afar.  Never go unchaperoned into the attics or catacombs.  You could fall.  You could become lost.  You could prick your finger.

But with every prideful step, she brushed aside these auguries as she would any flea.

At last she came to the landing and beyond the door she discovered an elderly maid sitting at a spindle.

“What are you doing?”

“I am spinning flax into linen, my Lady.”

Only a few years ago at these words Evara’s body would have gone lax with terror.  Now, instead of slumping, her shoulders straightened.  Her eyes kindled with the desire to test fate.  And before the servant could stop her or even realize what she meant to do, she reached forward and grazed the unspun fiber.

She sucked in her breath and withdrew.

“Oh.” The servant cupped her hands around her mouth as Evara stared at the blood dripping off her forefinger.

The elan vital froze in her veins.  Her lips paled to ceruse.

She fell.

The servant, who’d only been disobeying orders in hopes of making pretty dresses for her granddaughters, let out one strangled sob before fleeing.

Upon finding poor-fated Evara, the grieving parents dressed her in silk and lace.

“My daughter.  My daughter,” the Lady cried while placing the girl onto her velvet-draped bed.   “Never shall you be buried with vermin.”

“ Come.” The Lord, choking back his own tears, took his wife’s arm, and they

departed.

Evara  slept.

#

It was difficult to breathe.

The second thing she became aware of was an unbearable weight pressing

upon her body.

A pain she never could have dreamt.

Her eyes popped open.

The man- the unbearable weight- shifted just enough for her to draw in much needed air.

“Mother.” The first remembered word slipped out in a hoarse whisper.

“They said you were dead, but as soon as my eyes fell upon your face, I knew you’d only been entranced.”  He leaned forward to kiss her.

She screamed.

#

At last when he was gone, she gathered herself together and went running down the cobwebbed halls.   Where were Mother and Father?  Wherever had all the help gone?  Her calls were greeted with an unrelenting silence.  She ran room to room, now occupied by spiders composing their traps.

Her flight brought her outside to the inner courtyard.  There she burst into tears and wept till her heart became bone-dry.

Birch and elder reached into the sky, their branches gnarled and interlocked.  The bougainvillea coiled with poisonous ivy to mask the gates and walls.  There was no longer even an opening leading to that mysterious other world.

A hundred years might have passed.

Too weary to attempt the climbing vines, she surrendered to the idea of existing alone.   Enough wood was chopped to endure many years if she lit a fire only in one chamber.  There was no fear of going hungry.   The entire staff must have fled in a hurry, for the castle held enough food to last her beyond silvered hair.

Her dreams of love vanquished, her desires churned once again.  It was her mind she cultivated as carefully as she tended the flora.

In the richly paneled library, she poured through the thousands of books, discovering the different personalities within.  Every book had its own time, its own season.  There were the books to relish in the sunlit garden.  And those to be enjoyed while curled by the hearth.  Elegiac tales to fit the autumnal sadness.  Dark velvet prose for winter.  Those with twisting, ornately-inked lines to unravel during those long nights. The light, airy stories of spring- blooming with wistful hope.  The romances of summer, which she now perused with detached amusement.

And there were the thick, dusty tomes- mysterious and abstruse.

She read.

And she learned.

Her stomach grew.

#

They were born in pools of blood.   She bit off their cords.

She named them Raphael and Anabentine.

#

 

Overnight, seeds sprung into marigold.

She sang lullabies to her children.

The vines grew ever higher, furious in their design.

After sunset, her favorite jackdaw would often flitter through the window.   He would dart about, picking up the shiny trinkets she’d left out for his amusement.  Then, from time to time, he would perch on her shoulder to see what kept her so engrossed.

A passionate librarian and restless student, she sat clothed in robes of black and silver.  Tome after tome searched for their hidden keys.

Shrouded night by night, she learnt of the stars and of the prevailing moontides.

She heard voices in the wind and understood.

#

 It was in the embers of August that he returned with men bearing swords that

slew her beloved vines.  In he came through the revealed gate, a pack of hunting

dogs at his side.

 The prince- for that was his title- kissed her hello as though he’d been invited,

and picked a room for his own.  “For this shall now be my special retreat.”

 As he and his attendants infiltrated her home, she soothed her babies with

aphotic promises.  She planted wisteria around the castle proper.

Three days into his stay he came upon her as she sat by the fountain.

“Ah, there you are, my dear.”

She slid her book onto the ground and kicked it aside.

“Good morning, your Highness.”

  “Now, how many times must I tell you that there is no need for you to use such  formality?” He smiled softly.  “You are angry.  As is your right.  How lonely you must have been.  But let me tell you what transpired.   On that day, I was hunting in these forests when my falcon flew from me.”

Without lifting her head, she cast a sideways glance.

“I raised my eyes to follow his flight and my gaze fell upon these towers.  Naturally, I asked who lived there and was warned of a young Lady who died tragically and now haunted its premises.”  He remained standing, while bending one knee on the bench. “According to tales, no one was ever able to make it into this  earth.  The vines themselves were said to come alive and strangle any trespasser. “

He paused to drape an arm over his bent thigh.  “I knew I must see you for myself- what an adventure that should be.  I climbed the creeping plants into the yard.  Room by room I searched.  And then, in that great gold room, I found not a ghost, but you.  I never should have left afterwards.”

She bowed her head further.

  “To think you have cared for them all alone.  Yes, you have every right to your anger.”

“I thought you would never return.”  She twisted the pearl bracelet around her wrist.

“Tis true that I left here and returned to the businesses of my own city.  But the memories of your sweet cries oft invaded my mind.   I never should have left you.   And now that I am here and see what I begot, I know you must never leave my side again.”

“But your wife.  The Princess Grisel.”

 “Has brought nothing to my home.   There is a cottage by the sea in which I shall send her.  And you shall take her place upon the throne.”

“I don’t think I am worthy of such an honor.”

  “How could you ever think such a thought?  Look at them.” He smiled down at the two enjoying their nap under the bushes where thorns of brier and thistle sage interlaced.  “The most lovely of all my gifts.”

Evara shivered as he lifted her chin.  His hands, so horribly clean and smooth.

Hideous with their perfectly trimmed nails.

  “Don’t worry, my love.”  Deep within his overcast eyes- a hunger

gleamed.  “Soon, I shall be rid of the hag, and you and I will be together as we

should with our Sun and Moon.”

She  went frigid as a thousand Decembers.

  He kissed her immobile lips, before merrily heading off to join his friends for their daily hunt.

    Her children continued to sleep peacefully.

      She plucked a rose from the nearest bush.

        The thorn cut into her finger.

         She did not bleed.

#

She caressed her bird’s tender plumage as he perched on her finger.

Knock.  Knock.

“Go now,” she whispered and he took off, flapping his jerky wings.

Her chamber door opened before she announced for the prince to come in.  Not that she’d expected him to wait.  He swept in, his chest protruded, his doublet unbuttoned.  After taking her hand to his mouth and making a false pretense of asking after her day, he came about announcing the matter at hand:

Princess Grisel.

“Reports from home indicate that she has heard rumors of you.”

Evara raised her chin.

In the distance her bird let out a metallic kak-kak.

 “I will depart in the morning so as to allay the situation.” He put both hands on her shoulders.  “I will not allow her to cause you any concern.”

“Thank you.” Evara reached out and stroked his cheek.

#

“By my word, this is delicious.”  The prince shoved another piece of meat pie into his mouth. “Will the cook be serving this tonight?”

Grisel ran her finges along the edges of her fork.  “No.  He has other plans for dinner.”

“I was thinking, my dear, that before autumn sets in that you might enjoy a visit to the-“  He started to cough.  His spoon clang onto the floor.

“How does your poison taste?”  His wife’s lips, usually puckered as though

sucking on sour lemons, now twisted with amusement at their corners.

“You.”  He toppled out of the chair onto the floor.  “How?”

“I have friends in the most unlikely places.”  She loomed over him, her hands against her ample hips.

“My-“ His body writhed and he let out one last groan.

#

Princess Grisel sauntered into the kitchen, her long red hair flowing down her

back.  The cook was alone at his stove.  His workers currently tending to other

matters.

“Thank you, Henri.”

“It’s a simple recipe.”

She touched his arm.  “Good.  For I hope you shall not be too tired this night.”

He stirred the thick stew.

He smiled.

#

“You will kindly tell our guests that I have a headache and shall have to excuse myself from the night’s festivities.”  She rubbed her temple.

“Yes, your highness.” The maid curtsied.  “Will you be wishing to have anything brought up?”

“I don’t believe so, but shall ring if there is need.”

And so Grisel retired to her chamber while the prince’s friends sat down to dine.

#

Evara unfolded the note which her bird had returned with.

“It is done.  Never shall the prince be found.   As for you, I shall make sure the tales spin only wilder.   No one shall dare approach the enchanted castle.  But if you ever have need of anything, you know how to send word to me.”

#

“Hush my children.” Evara sat by the side of her children.

“Tell it again.  Tell it again!” Raphael insisted as Anabentine smiled in agreement from her own bed.

“Of course.” She kissed both their foreheads.  As she settled back into her chair, the back of her neck prickled.   She closed her eyes for a moment.  Yes, the ivy and bougainvillea were uncoiling, alert, ready…

Another one.   How many in these past four years?   Dear Grisel had underestimated the curiosity and pure stupidity of mortals.

Ah well.

   She pressed her hands together.  Do your thing, my lovelies.

     “Mommy?” Raphael fidgeted.

“Shh…listen to this tale of a wicked prince.  Once upon a time ago…”

Kak-Kak.        

The jackdaw flew in and perched on her shoulder to listen to this story again.  The children’s favorite as it always soothed them to sleep.

#

Outside, a fool approached.   The light of his lantern pale in comparison to that of the full moon.  Fretful nights filled with dreams that would not disperse in the morn, had led him to embark on this journey.

With each step, his heartbeat increased.

Ever nearer, he crept toward the castle.

He’d fought his way through the thicket of hedges- those which according to lore had entrapped many men to their lamentable deaths.

His own face and hands bled from the thousands of thorns.

Still he pressed on.  Only sometimes glancing back when the moon cast deceptive shadows.

One foot landed in a small hole.  Set off balance, his body lurched and he fell  forward onto the grass and dirt.   Despite hitting his head, he was aware of the vines springing from below the earth and wrapping their tendrils around his ankle.  He remained conscious as they coiled around and around, tighter and tighter, up his legs and thighs.  Squeezing and constraining his chest.  Teasing his throat like a pair of strangling hands.

-The end

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I shuffle the cards to clear the deck. With my eyes closed, concentrating on my brow chakra to activate the inner sight, I ask the Spirits to guide my hand to the card which represents my current state of mind on the creative writing process.
“I will shuffle nine times. Let the card on top be the current answer.”

I shuffle and turn the chosen card.

Six of Swords

bohemian gothic tarot six of wands

“Getting through a hard time calmly and quietly. Making a profound change in your life, which will take some time.” Are some of the sentences the Bohemian Gothic Tarot uses to describe the meaning of this card.

And yes, like most writers, I have gone through some difficult times with my current manuscript. There are the days when the words flow seamlessly and I bounce like an excited child as I type away. Giddy that I am a sorceress creating magic with the touch of my fingertips against the keys. There are the times when my brain is frazzled and I just can’t get the images in my head down onto that screen, and I wonder how I ever wrote two novels when I can’t even now get one damned paragaph down. More often than not, there are the okay days, when the words don’t flow, but with patience and faith, they do eventually come.

As I gaze at the picture above, I see a woman asleep, floating on a boat. The water, so symbolic of dreams. Below, is her double. Awake, and staring up at her twin. The conscious and subconscious.

To create one must go deep, deep within themselves into the forests of their mind. This is where story ideas and characters are found. Yet it is the conscious which enables us to weave tales in a comprehensible fashion. To revise and edit and make all words clear and meaningful.

It is a beautiful mental dance.

And yes, it often takes a lot of time.

And that, is all right.

“Writing about the unholy is one way of writing about what is sacred. ”- Clive Barker

“Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work.” ― Clive Barker

“Welcome to the worst nightmare of all, reality!”― Clive Barker

“Gather experience… Look at what you should not look at. A feeling of anxiety is the sure and certain evidence that you should do this.”
― Clive Barker

“At best you can hold death at bay, you can pretend it isn’t there; but to deny it totally is a sickness. And I think that horror fiction is one of the ways to approach these problems, and, perversely perhaps, to enjoy a vicarious confrontation with them.” ― Clive Barker

“Nothing ever begins. There is no first moment; no single word or place from which this or any other story springs” ― Clive Barker

“I don’t like to make a distinction between the writer and the painter , finally , because I do both things anyway . Everybody’s dreaming and trying to put down their dreams in the way that their hand knows best . I feel as much a unity , as much comradeship , with painters as I do writers .”― Clive Barker

“The whole point about vision is that it’s very individual, it’s very personal, and it has to be confessional. It has to be something which hurts – the pulling out of it and putting it on the page hurts. Art can be about the individual writer’s response to his or her condition, and if that response comes out of a predigested belief about what the audience wants to hear about the writer’s condition, then it has no truth, it has no validity. You either write with your own blood or nobody’s. Otherwise it’s just ink.”― Clive Barker

“Keep it simple. Trust your imagination. Discover what is unique about your imagination. Don’t simply read a story and copy it.
I go into myself. Then I transcribe what visions I have. If those ideas are original, and you are devoted, you will go far.” ― Clive Barker

“Don’t bury personal obsessions. Capitalize on them. “The connection between personal obsession and the work you do is the most important thing.”

— Be yourself. “Singularity is what you need.”

— Avoid self-censorship: “We are very self-critical in a way that can be very destructive. In our culture there are voices in our head which have taught us to say, `Oh, I wouldn’t do that if I were you.’ Don’t ever think about anybody peering over your shoulder.”

— Don’t be afraid to show off, even if you think, “I’m very close to making a complete fool of myself.”

— Don’t be afraid to entertain. “I want to entertain. I don’t want to lose people. I feel responsible as I write to give people the best time I can.”

— “Love your failures” instead of beating yourself up over them.

— “Learn to love the process” of writing.

— Just do it. Barker likes something director Stanley Kubrick said: “If you want to make a film, pick up a camera.― Clive Barker

“My imagination is my polestar; I steer by that.”
― Clive Barker

“I really believe that there is an enormous appetite amongst readers for an originality of vision. In other words, be true to your own dreams and there will always be people who want to hear them.” ― Clive Barker

“I can certainly throw out some observation about the process of creating which may be of use. Firstly, it’s the best & the worst of worlds, because the only fuel you have to make the fire blaze on the page / screen is the stuff of your own being. An artist consumes his or herself in the act of making art. I can feel that consumption even now, sitting here at my desk at the end of a working day. In order to generate the ideas that I have set on the page for the last 10 or 11 hours I have burned the fuel of my own history. This is, obviously a double-edged sword. In order to give, the artist must take from himself. That’s the deal. And it’s very important to me that the work I do is the best I can make it, because I know what is being burned up to create. As the villain of Sacrament says: “living & dying, we feed the fire.”― Clive Barker

“I’m an inclusionist. I’ve always divided up (very, very broadly, I admit) the artistic instincts into the inclusionist and the exclusionist. The exclusionist is Raccine. The inclusionist is Shakespeare. I’ve always felt like I’d prefer to throw 45 things into the pot and hope that maybe 36 of them will taste good. You may choke on 9 of them. I’d rather do that than only have half that number of elements and each one perfect. That’s because I know that people choke on different things…. I think that when I was a kid, the experience of things, the experience of just finding words for things, of finding somebody else’s world and being able to leap into it and, like any world, you pick up the geography instantly. You expected the thing to unfold, you expected there to be valleys that upon entering that world you were barely aware of. For me a novel, particularly a large novel, one you put down at the end and think, ‘Hell, that was interesting. I’m not sure I understood Chapters X, Y and Z, but maybe next time I read it or talk to someone about it, I will’… that’s a very different experience to the immaculately formed, beautifully honed, finished ‘art’ thing.” ― Clive Barker

“Even today I keep a Dream Journal. It’s whatever’s going on in my subconscious, or things from dreams or even interesting items that pop into my head. I have thousands of pages of notes which I hope someday will turn into stories, or movies…Being on the road gives me breathing time and the opportunity to think about what to do next. In fact right before I came down for lunch today, I was writing down notes about my feelings. Things that I need to do to keep motivated. I need to be motivated if I am to going to devote fifteen months to writing another book. And I couldn’t write a book just because it’s a commercial idea. I need to have a compelling reason.”― Clive Barker

“People often ask me what advice I have for writers, and I reply that the most important responsibility I believe a writer has is to his or her personal truth. Don’t be misled by the best seller lists. Just do what feels true to you. Speak your heart, however strange or revelatory it is. Don’t be ashamed of how your imagination works. What a reader wants to discover in a book is what you hold uniquely in your head.”I think making stories which touch people deeply is always hard. I’ve been writing plays and books for 20 years and I still go to my desk every morning with a mixture of excitement and dread.”― Clive Barker

“By and large I think art is made by people who have discipline married to talent in sufficiently large amounts to work even if they don’t feel like it. Anybody can get maudlin and decide to write poetry at 11 at night; the question is, can you do it at 8:30 on a Monday morning..?”
― Clive Barker

“Make your own worlds. Make your own laws. Make your own creations, your own star systems. Don’t feel answerable to anyone, or as though you have to create after some preordained model. You don’t have to write like myself, or King or Anne Rice: be yourself. Nothing is more wonderful than discovering a new voice, particularly if it happens to be your own.”
― Clive Barker

“I’m constantly trying to make what Stephen King called head movies or skull movies: things should be playing out on the inside of your eyes, if you will, without you having to think about me as an author being present.
I have no interest in being present, in intervening between you and the work. My job is to be as invisible as possible. My job is to say, ‘Hey, I wrote this book and I’m on the cover, bye bye!’
The story should have its own momentum; it should make its own way. I have no patience for that showy kind of writing, which is all about how clever the writer is. Postmodern stuff just leaves me totally cold. I’m much more interested in being drawn into a book, and I want to create the kind of writing which hopefully makes you turn and turn the pages.”― Clive Barker

“So you can’t please all the people all the time. All you can do is what pleases you, and hope that it pleases other people.
I love my readers, and I respect my readers, but I’m not going to simplify or echo myself, copy myself, just so the sales will be better.”― Clive Barker

“Every day is a writing day. I get to my desk between 8 and 8:30 in the morning and then work through until 6pm, and then normally I’ll take up whatever will be happening in the evening, usually painting or photography.

I do about four drafts total. I do handwritten drafts because I don’t type and I have no wish to type. I mean, I know how to type, but I have no interest in putting the words down that way.
Maybe that’s because I’m an artist and because I’ve always used a pen and so there’s a sort of natural feel to it.

I don’t know how familiar you are with Blake’s illuminated texts, but you know very often he’ll literally make words flower. It’s really this glorious thing in bringing words and pictures into the same place, the same space.”
― Clive Barker

“I want to be remembered as an imaginer, someone who used his imagination as a way to journey beyond the limits of self, beyond the limits of flesh and blood, beyond the limits of even perhaps life itself, in order to discover some sense of order in what appears to be a disordered universe. I’m using my imagination to find meaning, both for myself and, I hope, for my readers.”-Clive Barker”

weaveworld

me: “Damn. I overslept this morning.”
other: “Til when? Eight or something?”
me: “Five.”
*cue incredulous stare*

Tis a conversation that I’ve had many times to my amusement. The fact that I tend to (voluntarily, without a gun to my head) get up most days between two and three in the morning, tends to bestow upon me more odd looks than if I had announced I came from planet Romulan or danced naked beneath a grove of Cypress trees. A little understandable considering that some article I came across (and of course, can’t find now) stated that only about three percent of people rose before the sun.

Yet a few days ago, I was speaking with a new friend of mine (a musician) and to my surprise, he didn’t blink at all. Rather, he nodded. “I used to love getting up at 3 am. I used to do some of my best work then.”

me: “Yes! It’s so peaceful. The whole world seems to be asleep except for me.”

Then my friend brought up Jung and his theories on the collective unconscious, which got me thinking…perhaps it wasn’t just the serenity of the hour, but the fact that so many people were in the midst of sleeping which heightened my senses, my creativity. Could I not be tapping into some of their dreams and nightmares?

While some writers believe their stories fully come from within themselves, there are others who believe they are tapping into something “other”. As Isabel Allende said, “I spend ten, twelve hours a day alone in a room writing. I don’t talk to anybody. I don’t answer the telephone. I’m just a medium or an instrument of something that is happening beyond me, voices that talk through me. I’m creating a world that is fiction but that doesn’t belong to me.”

While surely some of my beliefs and life experiences bleed into my work, I’ve always leaned more towards the second camp of thought. As I was discussing with a dear writer friend of mine, as she was trying to explain her process of creating her characters and plots, I mentioned how to me, it felt more like the people and events already existed, had occurred, or was occurring, and I was simply telling their story.

The creator vs the chronicler, if you will.

In any event, it hardly seems accidental that most creative persons prefer either early morning or late night for their endeavors. While I’m sure they exist, I’ve personally never met a scribe who called themselves an afternoon writer. Perhaps due to circumstance one may have to do their writing during the day, but it is during the dark hours that most of us are called to our art.

Girl-Writing-By-Lamplight

My current soundtrack:

Goblin’s Suspiria (from Dario Argento’s film of the same name)

Ennio Morricone’s Una lucertola con la pelle di donna (American film title: A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin by Lucio Fulci)

Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire

Mussorgsky’s Night On The Bare Mountain

Goblin’s Deep Red from Argento’s Profondo Rosso:

Keith Emerson’s Inferno (from Argento film of same name)

Hexentanz’s Mark of the Witch

Hexentanz’s Devil’s Mass

What music are you listening to during your creative endeavors?

Some years ago, I chanced upon DARK SHADOWS ALMANAC. Included within its pages was a wonderful essay by Lara Parker detailing her journey writing her first book, Angelique’s Descent
As a long-time fan of the gothic (and charmingly playful) 1960s daytime soap, I was delighted to hear my favorite actress from the show had written a book detailing the life of her infamous character: the romantic and very scorned witch. The woman who would curse Barnabas Collins to eternity as one of the living dead.

th

From the moment I began to read I was swept away in Ms. Parker’s warm recollections for the show, and her determination in honing the craft of writing.

“How in the world does an actress end up writing a novel? Actresses are those vain, frivilous creatures who bask in the limelight and would never think of holing up in a dark office for months sruggling to produce a piece of fiction,” she began.

Afte Jim Pierson (director of the official fan conventions) spent much time convincing Harper Collins to consider releasing brand new novels based on the show, Ms Parker was called in to meet with Caitlin Blasdell, an editor from the publishing firm.

“I appreciated the opportunity but I really didn’t believe I’d be able to do it…I was neither foolish enough nor presumptuous enough to assume that I would have the ability to generate hundreds of pages that in any way would resemble the many fascinating, intriguing novels I had read in my life.”

While Lara confessed she would be interested in writing about Angelique’s childhood- all the heartaches she must have suffered to turn her into the woman fans saw on the show, she was surprised by Blandell’s confidence in the endeavor.

The other explained in a hushed tone, ” ‘Please don’t worry, Lara. Just write it the best you can. We have professional writers at Harpers who will take what you do, fix it up, and make it into a real book.’ ”

“My pride was injured, and all I could do was think how much I resented her offer.”

Invigorated by the challenge in front of her, Lara immediately began to study literature, digging deep into the lush language and intricate plots of Daphne du Maurier, the Bronte Sisters, Dickens, Stoker, Poe, as well as many others. “I read Interview with the Vampire and Gone With the Wind, digging beneath the stories to focus on structure and point of view. I was determined to steep myself in the romantic style.”

Thinking upon the character she had played decades ago, “I began to imagine ever more heartbreaking events which would harden Angelique. Her hopes would soar, only to be shattered agaisnt the rocks….Any student of literature will recognize the obvious symbolism I struggled to put into place… Since Angelique was a child of the sea, water was her emotional center….I played with these elements, only because, despite what I said about actresses in the beginning, I was an English minor in college, and these things returned to me.”

The book was ultimately published as Lara Parker wrote it. No need for any ghost writers for that lady!

next post: Angelique’s Decent: Book Review

source for this post: Dark Shadows Almanac
edited by Kathryn Leigh Scott and Jim Pierson

“It was always when I first opened my eyes that the desired ideas thronged upon me.”- Sir Walter Scott, author of Ivanhoe, amongst other classics

“I woke with a start and witnessed, as from a seat in a theatre, three acts which brought to life an epoch and characters about which I had no documentary information and which I regarded moreover as forbidding.”- Jean Cocteau on the dream which inspired him to write the play, The Nights of the Round Table

“When he lay down to prepare himself for sleep, he no longer sought amusement, but printable and profitable tales.” And his dream producers accommodated him. He noticed they became especially industrious when he was under a tight deadline. When “the bank begins to send letters” his “sleepless Brownies” work overtime, turning out marketable stories…And for the Little People, what shall I say they are but just my Brownies, God bless them! who do one-half my work for me while I am fast asleep, and in all human likelihood, do the rest for me as well, when I am wide awake and fondly suppose I do it for myself. That part which is done while I am sleeping is the Brownies’ part beyond contention; but that which is done when I am up and about is by no means necessarily mine, since all goes to show the Brownies have a hand in it even then.”- Robert Louis Stevenson describing how the dream process and his fairy helpers who he called the Brownies, helped inspire him to write his famous works, including The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde

Whether ideas spring from one’s subconsciousness or from outside Muses, it is at this threshold between physical reality and sleep that epiphanies so often arise.

Why is this so? The hypnagogic state (defined by Merriam-Webster as the period of drowsiness preceding sleep) is the time when lights, flashing colors, geometric shapes, familiar and unfamiliar faces and scenes flow before the near-sleeper’s inner eye.

Author Robert Moss in Dreamgates calls this borderland, The Twilight Zone. He further writes, “Active dreamers tend to spend a lot of time in the twilight zone, even whole nights. In everyday life, the easiest way to embark on conscious dream journeys is to practice maintaining full awareness as dream images rise and fall during twilight states…As you spend more time in the twlight zone, you will discover a notable increase in both your creative activity and psychic awareness. Going with the flow of spontaneous imagery in the twilight zone puts you into the stream of the creative process. It puts you in league with your creative source, mediated by mentors who appear to you in the half-dream state.”

Whether it be for artistic endeavors, strategizing business, or scientific breakthroughs (Einstein stated his theory on the relativity of time came to him immediately upon awakening one morning) one of the best things one can do is to learn to utilize this borderland. To do so, get into bed early, before you are so exhausted that you’re bound to fall asleep right when your head touches the pillow. Try to stay awake and watch the colors, the lights, the shapes and scenes flow before your eyes. You need not do anything but try to stay alert as long as possible until you enter a trance-like state. At some point you will either fall asleep, or consciously enter a lucid dream. But that is a post for another day.

-sources. Robert Moss’s, Dreamgates