Last night I dreamed of a man with no eyebrow. He was a burly medieval in the service of Richard III. He didn’t wear a little white boar badge announcing his affinity; I just knew, in the surreal way you automatically know things in dreams.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on Richard III lately for a book I’m working on, so it’s not surprising I’d dream of something to do with him. It’s too bad Richard himself didn’t show up in my dream, ready to answer all my questions and solve the mystery of the little princes, but my Muse is never cooperative that way. Like Joss Whedan, she gives me what I need, never what I want.
No Eyebrow loomed over me and put his face close to mine and told me many important things — none of which I can remember. The extremely close encounter revealed to me that his right eyebrow was bushy and black, while his left eyebrow was naked with the exception of a few scattered hairs. Does he pluck? I wondered. His bottom teeth were crooked and thick with yellow plaque. I expected his breath to smell, but I don’t remember ever smelling anything in a dream. (I don’t know why, like a proper writer, my Muse doesn’t know to use all the senses when she presents a scene to me.) No Eyebrow’s face filled my dreamscape, so I don’t know whether I’d been transported to Unmerry Olde 15th-Century England, or if he was wearing lovely Spanish-leather boots. (Why are boots in medieval novels always made of Spanish leather? Why not Portuguese or Italian Leather?)
I don’t usually remember my dreams. When I do, I know how to pour the pertinent details onto paper and analyze the symbolism to pinpoint what my subconscious is trying to tell me about a current situation in my life.
No Eyebrow isn’t letting me do that.
With all the research I’ve been doing at the moment on Richard III’s life, it’s no surprise I’d dream of something to do with him. I’d rather it had been him in the dream rather than some stranger with no eyebrow, but that would be too easy, and easy is something my Muse doesn’t do very often.
Since I can’t plug the symbolism of No Eyebrow into my current real life, I’m considering using him somewhere in my Richard III novel.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could train our Muses into introducing us to a character a night? Each character could tell us their greatest fear, their greatest desire, and what wonderful-horrible things happened to them in the past to make them who they are. Further, they could reveal the best use we could make of them.
Right now, all No Eyebrows has given me is a starkly visual gimmick. He’s going to have to give me a lot more before I can see if he even fits into my world.
Have you ever had someone introduce himself or herself in your dreams? Did you end up using them as a character in your work, or did they help with something in your life? Tell me about it?