With all children there comes a time when the wonder of Santa and Easter Bunny begins to fade. When our oldest was six, she asked, "Momma, how does the Easter Bunny get around to all those children... in just one night?"
I was ON it.
"Do you love me and Dad?" I answered.
"Can you SEE it?" I asked. "Can you see the love you have for me and Dad?"
The explanation was that, like the place where you feel love for other people, this is also the place where Easter Bunny and Santa and all magical creatures live. Just because you can't see something does not mean it does not exist. I explained even if we can't see somewthing with our eyes, if we can imagine it, on some level, it exists, right?
The six year old believed me.
There was a time, when the kids were little, when my middle name was 'Tired'.
Dawna Tired Wightman, dragging her sorry behind to three beds filled with a sleepy child. Before they drifted off to sleep I always told a story from my head. Each sleepy child got to choose what was included in the story - so there was everything from raspberry jam and flesh eating dragons to robots to boxes with holes that peeked into dark places, spilling out of my mouth like so much hushed lamplight.
One bedtime story went haywire. What started out a light, bright tale about a little boy who finds a rusted typewriter morphed into A YARN OF BONE & PAPER - my dark fantasy novel.
It has fairies.
When I began writing the novel I was interested in fae, but did not exactly believe in the fae. I was interested. Since story is conflict I knew the fae in my novel would include those who were not twinkly, not cute and nothing safe.
Writing a novel is the hardest thing I have ever done. Sleepy children and Easter bunnies have moved out, but still this fae story haunts - follows me everywhere. Even writing this to you now, characters from my novel softly shuffle in my foyer, patiently waiting for me to write, write, write them onto printed pages. (You get the point - this fae story has taken on a life of its own).
I have spent four thousand dollars on this novel: classes, editors, printers, countless recipe cards, pens, courses. Still, the story wants to get born. It drags along this poor author (me). At this point I am so far into the writings that to back away would mean ten years of funds and precious life lost: ten years of missed summer days, special events, lazy mornings and tea with friends.
This fae story must be written.
After my latest editor tells me I must SCRAP everything I have ever written this far (GASP!), I write back that he should be ashamed - he alone has murdered a new novelist. Editor takes pity. He agrees. Do not give up. He sends me complicated questions to analyze the story. Analyze? Analyze how? Huh? What the hell do fae have to do with 'analyze' ? I couldn't analyze to save my life.
So I cry - spend a whole day in bed, licking my paws. Getting up, I have become religious. I actually get on my knees. (who DOES that?) Me. I pray to my Pentecostal childhood God / sweet Jesus / dear Allah / Oh the Universe / Wise Buddha / the Dude / Field of Potential -
"Hello God? Hi? Would you help me finish the novel? Get published? I know, I know, the story is a tangled mess of too many fingers and not enough toes but I need to finish it. Can you help? Please, please?"
This process includes faith - I think of Easter Bunny - of believing in something that must exist even if I cannot see it.
Then I GIVE UP on the FAE NOVEL.
Days later the universe gives me covid.
I re-dedicate my life to the story. I give up my day job to spend all my free time writing the novel & here, on buymeacoffee).
I join fairy Facebook groups.
Through these groups, I meet E, an academic, yoga instructor and reiki healer. E is a fairy witch who dedicates her life to the good people.
We become friends.
To support a friend, I take E's class - Fairyology 101. Back of my mind is hope for my story - will learning more about real fae help?
Four hours. The class is four hours. Another sunny Saturday lost to the faint trail of my fae story.
The class is mostly E talking, but at the end of four hours she tells us to lay down, get comfortable and close our eyes for a guided meditation to the land of the fae.
Dawna Too - Exhausted - for - Words - From - Trying - to - Write - a - Fae - Novel Wightman closes her eyes, thinking this is not going anywhere but it will be a great nap.
E begins talking - her voice smooth as velvet. My brain lets go, trusts. Her voice tells us there is a misty place...
A misty place. Many paths.
Though for reals my eyes are closed, they open when E's voice says 'look down, see your feet walking a path'.
My feet are bare - I look around. I am walking in the Quinte Conservation Area, on a path I tread years ago, walking dogs.
E's voice says choose to walk the path to the lake, a cavern, more choices and the Beach.
I choose to move from the Quinte Conservation to the beach. In Toronto. At dawn. In my imagination.
I am alone.
It is raining, the kind that blows in sideways, from the lake.
Deep silence coats this place.
I know this is here, the place I told my kids. Santa? Where is Santa? Probably somewhere popping pills from one glance at this - I hope to see the Easter Bunny, but no rabbit of sound mind would hang out with this guy. This is not Easter Bunny country.
Through thick mist, a figure is coming towards me. It starts out jiggy jaggy, as if someone talented sketched it on paper first but ink passed the lines. It is way down the shore, but getting closer, walking fast - a black trench coat, hands dug deep into rain slicked pockets. Though hunched I know it is male.
Faster he approaches me and bam! He stops on the sand, feet from me. He stands at an angle, him not aloof and not friendly. Shrouded in this thick silence, his face is covered by a long mask, no, not a mask, a skull - a bleached raven skull.
Either the skull hides his face or the skull is his face, not sure.
My stomach thuds.
My stomach thuds.
Far away, E suggests this is our fairy guide.
I know I am laying in my office but I am also here on a beach at dawn, alone, with a male figure in trench coat and long, bleached bird skull. The beak could tear me apart.
Far away, another world, E tells me to ask the fairy guide their name.
"What is your name?" I ask.
The guide lifts the skull, speaks a string of guttural pops and lots of 'ssssss'...
My fairy guide's name is Amos.
Amos. Amos? I have no connection to anyone named Amos. Never have. Beautiful name, but no connection.
Could Amos be my guide...FAE guide?
I am in deep.
April 11, 2022
(from Facebook) JADE BEALL PHOTOGRAPHY
Dawna Wightman (my reply to a pic from Jade Beall's FB group)
Dear. Each sweet soul in these pics. Achingly real, which makes them all true gems. (Add it up I nursed our 3 kids a total of 47 months. Best bonding time.) Thanks Jade.
April 12, 2022:
3 people LIKE the above post.
One of them, the name pops:
Works at treasure hunter · School of Hard Knocks, The University of Life · Lives in Murray, Kentucky
April 12, 2022
(posted privately on FB)
Hello Amos. I have a story that might include...you. I am not sure. It is still being written. This is the oddest reach out ever, I know. Would you be my Facebook friend?
to be continued....