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.
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.