A while ago, back in October when the trees had leaves and the temperature had a 2 at the front, Ivan gave me a suggestion for a first line. With apologies for the delay, I would like to present my response, below. As ever, your comments and constructive criticisms are all gratefully received, and if you have an idea for a first line, please leave it on as a comment on any blog post and I’ll post whatever I come up with.
(NaNoWriMo update – 35k and the fifth story almost done).
The Dream Catcher
It is said that in the night air there are good dreams and bad dreams, the Dream Catcher has a reputation for ensnaring the bad ones, letting only pleasant dreams slip through its web and into your sleeping mind. But dream catchers are made by the First Nations people, and they know a lot more about the world than we can ever work out with our machines and our science.
My Dream Catcher came from an old woman, whose long dark hair came almost to the ground where she sat. It was woven into two identical braids, and I found myself staring at them, entranced by the intricacy of their construction. These were not the casual, practical braids of a modern woman, but works of beauty, carefully knitted and held together by some invisible knot. When she handed me the Dream Catcher, I saw the same exquisite detail in its weavings and I hardly dared to touch it.
“Your dreams shape you,” she said softly, her voice several octaves lower than mine, and filled with the same spiritual depth I was sensing in everything around me. I wondered if I was intuiting all these sensations onto the place and the woman because of my expectations, built up by cultural stereotypes. Perhaps she was just an old woman trying to make a quick buck out of a credulous tourist.
“And now I will only have good ones. Does that mean I will be a better man?”
She laughed and turned away. “The Dream Catcher does not do your bidding,” she said after a moment.
The meeting ended a few minutes later, and I stepped out into the sun, admiring again the bright wolf fur which served as a door curtain on her little shop which was probably also her home. I wondered if doors made people like her feel too far away from the land they worshipped. But perhaps she just couldn’t afford a door, or it was out back on a couple of trestles having a paint job.
When I got home, I hung the dream catcher over my bed. That night I dreamed of hollering Indians and frantic horse chases, scenes from the cowboy movies I used to watch as a child. But in the dream, I was an Indian’s horse and the cowboys shot me. I woke up sweating, and almost in tears from the pain and fear I’d been experiencing a moment before.
The Dream Catcher spun in the moonlight.
My ancestors conquered this land and took it from the native people. I had spent a day poking and staring at them like a child pokes at a frog, waiting for it to jump. Or die. I thought about the woman’s smile and her words: “The Dream Catcher doesn’t do your bidding.”
It is said that in the night air there are good dreams and bad dreams, but maybe that doesn’t mean happy dreams and sad dreams at all, perhaps it refers to the lessons they teach.