By Dolores J. Nurss

Volume VI: The Rift

Chapter 4





I dreamed that Zanne did indeed find a way to get into the dome, and that it somehow had come from Belen.  I did not dream Belen's actual moment of death, but at the beginning of the dream she was there, and by the end she was not.

I dreamed vaguely of the fever that often overtook me late in the Charadocian Revolution.  I have filled in much detail while awake, though.  It's logical, anyway–her immune system would have to be so crashed right now that the parasites in her must have had a field day.  Dragging fever is not like malaria with a neat, predictable cycle.  The little beasts are more like microscopic javalinas, breeding whenever conditions seem most optimal.

I have repeatedly, throughout my life, dreamed Deirdre's dream the other way around, promising Deirdre and all the others to remember them, until I reached a point, right before the fanfic hiatus, where I finally argued.  All of this slipping back and forth between times and realities may be science fiction to you, the reader, but it's mundane life for me.  They say never to break "the fourth wall" between writer and subject, but I can hardly find it, myself.  Sometimes I wonder if I am a character in somebody else's story.  (Within the story itself, of course, this has the explanation of George the Changewright messing up the boundaries of space, time, and whatever.)

Greg Bear called it mental illness to confuse one's own writing with reality.  Fritz Leiber considered mental illness as valid a source of inspiration as any other.  JRR Tolkien just wrote whatever he had to write as it came to him, sometimes apparently believing in it and sometimes not, and seemed to go back and forth as to where he thought it came from or whether his sense of the story's substance was healthy; sometimes though, he did say, point blank, that he felt that he received rather than made up the tales he told, glimpsed from an existent reality.  (I do understand that feeling something and believing something are two different things.)  All that I know for certain, myself, aside from my certainty of the existence of God (who may or may not approve of, disapprove of, or regard with indifference what I jot down, beyond any guess of mine) is that for some reason I have to write this stuff, and write it so "accurately" that I cannot risk a publisher's interference, however it might improve the product.  I have no idea why. 

I can, of course, make guesses, without certainty in anything.  Perhaps my "sanity", or at least my capacity to function adequately in society, depends on wrestling with whatever archetypes lie behind these stories.  (If so, my mind is not so unique that these might not touch others as well.)  Perhaps it gives my Shadow an outlet so as not to invade my waking world.  Maybe a personality splinter writes them and then conscious-me feels as though I receive them from some muse.  And perhaps others need these tales more than I do, maybe someone among the very few who read them now, maybe others who might read them after I die, since nothing ever completely disappears from the Internet.  Many works had no popular meaning at the time their writer or their painter or their composer made them, but zoomed in popularity later when needs changed.  And maybe somebody external really did give me these dreams and this imperative.  I've known stranger things to happen.  Does it really matter?

            I wrote of Sanzio's encounter with Zofia, but as though a witness to something unfolding before me on the screen.  (Again, Tolkien's sensation of receiving something.)  I had no idea how it would turn out, no clue in the beginning that Zofia would kill herself or that Sanzio would burn the infirmary behind him.  I do not feel pleased that such things can mushroom up out of my imagination without my bidding, but it feels too true, in its own weird way, for me not to include it.  Somehow this, too, is something that Deirdre wants me to remember.

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