By Dolores J. Nurss

Volume 1: Welcome to the Charadoc!

Chapter 43



I invented the scene with Yeshu, based loosely on my waking memory of my friend Fritz's last moments.  Except that he didn't pray—that had been my other friend, Viola, many years later, and I hadn't been there at the very last moment for her; that belonged to her family.  Rather, I'd watched Viola's lips pray at a goodbye ceremony a few days before her transition, her awareness of us in and out, between worlds.  And Fritz's grip didn't slacken, I let go; alarmed by the spike in his temperature, I let go to grab a get-well card to fan him with, and so I didn't hold his hand at the very last minute, but his wife did on the other side, and so love still became his last experience in this life.

            And then a nurse came in and took care of his body, not me, and that was strange enough for a dream, though it happened in the waking world.  For the instant that he'd breathed his last she ran in from some other part of the hospital, swiftly performed her final services for his body, and only when he lay there ready for the coroner, straight and peaceful and smiling, did she stop and blink, wondering.  “I just knew,” she said.  “I knew the moment that he died, and that I had to come here right away.  I always know.”

            Cantimar I did not invent.  She was there, in the dreams of the infirmary, in the background.  Nor did I take her name from a list.  It was actually the name that a high school teacher considered for his first daughter—but then rejected for fear she’d be nicknamed Candy.  It means “Song of the Sea”, and for some reason it fits this girl of Novatierre, though I’ve never dreamed any association with her to sea or song.

For Jake's dream I borrowed—very loosely—from a crucial dream in the life of St. John Bosco.  For Deirdre I wrote what felt right—vague and brief, but many dreams are like that.

Father Man just showed up.  My random writing music brought up the wild, feminine Gregorian chant of Hildegard of Bingen, and this elicited the mad priest from the deeps.  It’s hard to describe what that feels like, knowing just from sentence to sentence what you will write, knowing that the character already exists, out of your line of sight; you just have to do him justice by finding the right words to breathe his life.  Since then Father Man has always surprised me.  And he has become dear to me, and important to the story, disrupting outlines right and left wherever he crops up, throwing storylines into chaos, making me scramble to reconfigure them—always better, with greater depth and more curious twists than I could have done without him.  I don't know why, but I cannot imagine him without most of his fingers missing—and struggling on anyway.

His story has some basis in fact.  When waging war against us, the Mexican soldiers (not to be confused with the Mexican people) would sometimes set fire to churches where Yaqui mothers, children, and elders had taken refuge.  Anyone who could do that would have no compunction against making a priest buy lives at the expense of finger-joints.  Worse things than that have happened.

I did dream of Alysha saying that the revolution began with Cyran.  But other dreams plainly refuted this. I reconciled this by recognizing it as a child’s perspective carried on into teens.  And I recall how, in the waking world, I struggled in my own teens and twenties, even my early thirties, to hold onto beliefs patently untrue, from my childhood, for as long as I could.  My dreams showed me Alysha’s contradiction with her reality for a reason—it was no inconsistency, after all.

And what else might it mean for revolution to begin with Cyran, and yet simultaneously stretch back for generations?  Revolution—major change, overthrowing longstanding dysfunction—can simmer for generations ineffectively,  before it can finally find its voice in someone or something who brings two opposite sides together, as Cyran joins male and female.  Sometimes, the key to great changes, paradoxically, is compromise and reconciliation.


Main Page