Thursday, October 22, 2009

Guest Blogger: Michelle Picard

Michelle's winner is: Penny Watson. Congrats, Penny! Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Michelle. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Thank you, Lynda, for inviting me to guest blog today. As part of my celebration of my Friday release, RULING EDEN at Crescent Moon Press, I’ve been reflecting on the nature of dreams. I’ll tell you why in a bit. RULING EDEN is part fantasy romance; part urban fantasy. In it I introduce my heroine, Rachel, a tough, modern woman who grew up on the streets, to a new existence including paranormal and mythological creatures galore.

I wanted to crash Rachel immediately into her unusual new world and show readers both her vulnerabilities and her strengths. In my research I’d come across a mythological creature called the baku. Baku are Japanese supernatural beings that, when called, devour dreams and nightmares. They ensure that a person’s day can begin in peace without the shadow of nightmarish fear. The idea fascinated me. I thought, what if Rachel woke from a recurring nightmare and found one of these sniffing around her bed?

So I wrote the scene and found out. She arms herself for a fight, that’s what she does. Later, when Gabriel, the half-angel, half-demon hero comes to her rescue and explains the nature of this beast, and that it’s been attracted to her nightmare and wanted to eat it, Rachel shows no relief. You’d think after a lifetime of bad dreams a person would want to be rid of them. But she’s never interested in this for herself. Why, I wondered?

Theories about dreams and their meanings abound. Sometimes seen as projections of parts of the self that have been ignored or rejected, or as representing aspects of the dreamer. Freud had suggested that bad dreams let the mind learn to gain control over distressing emotions. According to these thoughts, as well as other historical understandings, dreams can be used for healing. Assuming you don’t just view a dream as the “junk” floating around your head trying to be purged, they have meaningful roles in our lives and reflect who we are and who we’re trying to become. Should we be willing to let the baku take away a piece of ourselves altogether?

Rachel isn’t eager to erase her nightmares because she wishes to keep her fear. She sees it as a useful tool in helping her control her explosive anger, and as a check on the enormous magic power she gains in her new reality. She’s familiar with her “issues” and, sometimes, no matter how much we say we want to change and remove the burdensome shackles in our lives, changing is less desirable than the familiar. Change means hard work. Heck, it means an entire character arc must be played out through the story to lead my heroine down that road of transformation.

So what do you think of your dreams and the idea of the baku? Would you choose to have it come and eat your nightmares to make them disappear? Let me know.

www.michellepicard.com

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Michelle's winner will be selected and posted on Friday night. Stop back by to see if you've won.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Penny Watson said...

Hi Michelle! I have been having very weird dreams this week, including an alien invasion dream...that was a first! I don't think I would like a baku to take away my bad dreams. I like thinking about them the next day, especially the really vivid ones. Even if they are scary or disturbing, they could be a source of interest to a writer.

Congrats on your release and best of luck! So happy for you! :)

8:00 AM  
Anonymous Michelle Picard said...

Thanks, Penny. As writers, it may be a particular loss to erase our dreams. They're such fun fodder for our work. Speaking of which, I did use a segment of a dream I had in high school in RULING EDEN. It was a vivid color dream with whimsical Doctor Seuss-like animals flying through the air next to a train I was riding in the sky. The images helped me create my picture of the Faerie realm in this novel. Glad you reminded me. Thanks.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous sher LeScott said...

Whoohoo Michelle, This reminds me so much of Sherrilyn Kenyon's dream gods and that whole world.

I have to admit, I'm glad the baku dont take away my dreams. The become the stuff in my books.

Congrats on your release and best of luck! Very happy for you!

Sher

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Daria Drake said...

That's a fascinating use of a mythological creature to raise questions about identity and sense of self. I have to read this book!

Also, in your research, did you happen to come across any info that suggests how one might invite a raku to visit?

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Michelle Picard said...

Daria--The only reference I found to invoking a baku refers to speaking aloud, "Devour them, O Baku." Whether this is said before you go to sleep or after you wake from a nightmare, I don't know. If you care to experiment, let me know (grin).

Sher--Thanks for the good wishes. There's so much wonderful stuff a writer can mine from dreams. And the one time I tried to dream journal, the techniques really worked. But it takes dedication to grab the journal first thing each time you wake. I think the intentionality of it makes a difference.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Brenda ND said...

I would want my dream back. As for waking and finding a creature in my bedroom--that happens all the time, my cats love to visit. I believe they keep my bad dreams at bay by purring. :)

12:38 PM  
Blogger Cybercliper said...

Hi Michelle...I don't think I'd want the Baku to take the bad dreams - unless those bad dreams were not really mine, but some undue influence. My grandma once told me that dreams are your past, present, and future and have a lot to tell you about who you once were, are, or will be if you know how to read them. Considering my dreams, that's kinda scary.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Love this post. In the past I've had Night Terrors and have had nightmares for so long it just doesn't brother me anymore when I have them. I actually look forward to waking up in the morning and trying to figure out why I had that dream and what it might mean. I wouldn't want anyone or anything to take away my dreams, not even my nightmares.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Dalton Diaz said...

When I was a kid, I had a dream every single year, right about this time, about trying to evade cockroaches. Yup, I said cockroaches. I know now this was due to living in Israel as a small child, where they were huge and they flew!
Given a choice then, I probably would have chosen seeing a Baku once over having the dream recur. I haven't had it in a good thirty years, but I still remember it every fall!

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Michelle Picard said...

Brenda--I bet the baku could take some lessons from your cats (grin).

Cyberclipper--I think when any of us think about our dreams it is a bit scary. Especially if you believe they reflect us. That's where you should start looking at them with squinted eyes and see the fuzzier but bigger picture.

Mary--I love your attitude about your night terrors. Seems like you have grown into that bigger picture. So far, folks, it doesn't seem like the baku's getting many votes.

Dalton--I shivered a bit hearing about that cockroach dream. It's funny how humans seemed almost genetically programmed to be freaked out by insects. Maybe because they will be taking over the world one day (Ha!). Perhaps kids see things more simply and would vote immediately to have a baku visit after they have a nightmare. But perhaps their understanding of the world doesn't necessitate analyzing their lives through their dreams. Things are more basic.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Ella Drake said...

This makes me wonder if I have a baku. I never remember my dreams! Love the post, Michelle. Lots to think about.

7:00 AM  
Blogger ddurance said...

I don't think I'd want to awaken to a baku sniffing around my bed. It is an interesting idea and if I didn't have to see it, there probably are a few nightmares that it could devour for me. lol

Deidre

1:12 AM  

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