I have small notebooks all over. They are in my car, my bag, on my nightstand, and by the phone. There is even one on the bathroom counter. I call them my dreamcatchers.
The dreamcatcher originated with the Ojibwa culture and was quickly adopted by other Native American cultures in the 60’s and 70’s. It is believed that if you hang the dream catcher by your bed, luscious dreams would slip through the web and drip down the feathers to the dreamer. Bad dreams would be trapped in the web and burn away in the morning light.
Notebooks are my dreamcatchers. I like to browse through my dreamcatchers every so often. This evening I read an entry and I immediately thought about Tahoma, my little shapeshifting heron.
This is the entry.
The amulet was here somewhere. I repeatedly checked my calculations before inputting them into the GPS, which led me here to Honey Island, Louisiana. Not much of an island. More like an alligator breeding swamp. The last rays of sunlight were tucking behind the tree line as I got in the boat. There was a flash here and there of lightning bugs in the still air. As the boat started drifting in the water I picked up the scent of honeysuckle, the sweet nectar filling my lungs. I giggled as I finally understood the name of this place, Honey Island.
Starlight smattered the top of the water like a disco ball in the darkness. My eyes searched for the signs of the amulets presence. Its magic was so strong it would ripple through the air and alert its owner. I didn’t see any ripples in the air, and the only ripples in the water were from the drag of my boat. If I didn’t find the amulet soon, the hope of finding the lost city of Chamoura would be just as lost.
I reached for my backpack to check my calculations once again. There was a popping sound off in the distance. The water looked like an over shook soda pop, bubbles rising to the surface in quick bursts. My boat began to rock in the turbulence and soon turned upside down. The water was cold and murky, almost alive as it caressed my skin. My foot found the bottom and attempted to push off. The bottom of the swamp was a sponge. My foot was sucked into the depths. I fought it as hard as I could, but the caress of the water lulled me to stay calm. The last images I remember were of the lightning bugs that swirled around me in the water.
My first thought when I read this is ‘what the heck is Tahoma doing in Louisiana looking for an amulet?’
I wrote this piece in response to a writing prompt a few weeks ago. It said to use 6 specific words, Flash, Sponge, Alligator, Soda, Nectar, Starlight. Tahoma wasn’t on my mind. He was just steeping in the corners of my imagination waiting for his turn on the page. The fireflies are other magical creatures that appear in my longer fiction with the legendary world of Chamoura. Interesting that my worlds are colliding!
Gail Carson Levine wrote in her book, Writing Magic, “Save everything you write, even if you don’t like it, even if you hate it.” Her book was aimed at younger school age writers, but I follow the rule nonetheless. You never know when those few lines you scribbled a few years ago will inspire something wonderful. I believe ideas need to steep, find other ingredients, and brew a bit before the next bestseller can be written.
I’m not sure if Tahoma will actually make it to the Louisiana swamp or if the amulet is on his own Black River. He will let me know, I’m sure!
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