By Dolores J. Nurss

Volume VI: The Rift

Chapter 58



I dreamed that Zanne met people on farms who hadn’t gone mad, but I created most of the details.  For instance, since this fell on a Sunday, the guards would most likely be people with a different day for their Sabbath, and Hassidic Jews would be distinguishable on sight due to their particulars of dress and grooming.  This also highlights the mood of cross-cultural cooperation of All Sorts Sanctuary.

I invented the cork bead curtain, but I did dream of Deirdre having a mission before this in Duerlongh, where most homes do have bead curtains, and she liked them.  I especially remember a dream of a woman named Amar walking through one such, the beads outlining her form as she passed through.

The narcotic pastries came up in a number of dreams, including this one of a salesman.  They probably have to do with my hypoglycemia, not yet diagnosed at the time of these dreams, and they tried to warn me that sugar had a not-so-sweet mind-altering affect on me.

I wrote Deirdre’s religious difficulties because dreams of her later life clearly show that her years in the Charadoc shattered her previously fervent faith, and she could only sometimes piece together parts, in fragments, that often fell apart again.  She didn’t so much disbelieve in God as in her own salvation.

I could, as Dolores, write extensive refutations for all her doubts, but that wouldn’t be true to the character.  She had them, she didn’t experience more than nominal relief from them until (perhaps) the last hours of her life, and I can’t tell her story honestly without them.  Few who have not themselves invested deeply in their faith can know how hard this is to do, this literary restraint.  But I usually have on or near my desk, wherever I might live or travel, a crucifix, to remind me that I must strip as naked as Christ on the cross in the telling of these tales, and to not lie if I can help it–that is my cross to bear.  One of them.

Perhaps one purpose of such dreams is precisely so that I can refute them when awake.  It’s the questions you don’t dare ask that trouble you the most, in the back of your mind.  It could also be part of the package deal in God answering my request, so many years ago, to understand people not like me.  I know from Deirdre what a prolonged failure of faith feels like.

(For the record, I could also refute Cherone’s religious issues as well, but I am not the one to deal with that, as dreams have pointed out.)

For that matter, Deirdre cusses, and I have to record that.  This might seem hypocritical to some, because I kick people off my facebook wall, now and then, for breaking my no-cussing rule there, as part of my insistence on civility in that forum between the people of different politics, religions and philosophy who consider me a friend.  But Deirdre’s not on my wall, engaging in debate with my friends.

I do believe that cussing has a specific role in society—every civilization has forbidden words.  They serve a purpose for extreme circumstances, when your emotions twist you up so wrenchingly that you absolutely have to break something—so they provide a taboo to break.

The mischief comes when you use them all the time.  The power of taboo wears off.  It’s no big deal, then, when someone cusses, so what’s left with which to vent one’s rage?  Violence.  And we have indeed become a more violent society as we strip taboo words of their potency.  People who can’t take it anymore scream bullets now, not cusswords drained of potency.  Once an F-bomb had shock-force enough to make one’s outrage penetrate the thickest walls of indifference, but now folks resort to IEDs.  Murder has become the last obscenity.

And Deirdre has become violent.  Nine years before this she shocked her friends into listening just by saying “Damn!”  Now there’s hardly any aggression that she would stick at.  She’s losing everything that stood between her and the abyss of fury deep beneath the depression of all those abandoned in childhood.

On a more positive note, trying to write Deuterocanonical studies on a Sunday, when I normally don’t work on my fiction at all, I nodded off at the keys and wound up instead with a dream of being Deirdre repeatedly telling Kiril to stop loving me, and Kiril refusing, progressing from murmurs to shouts.  The part of me that believes it imperative to see no worth in myself is losing the battle.

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