I had a pretty incredible dream about a year ago... It's long, so have patience with me.
I typed it up because Lost at E Minor is having a contest, giving away beautiful hand-screened pillowcases to the five best dreams posted on there. We'll see what they think of mine.
My mother and I had moved to a rocky island far, far from any mainland. It was formed from the junction of two jutting mountains that poked above the waves. The sea about it was shrouded in an impenetrable grey mist, and a cold rain was perpetual. There was a kind of small valley between and to one side of the two mountains, with terraced rock and carved stairs that led from either mountain down into the vale. The only vegetation on the island was a patch of tall grass at the very top of those terraces, and two tall pines that sheltered against the sheer rock.
Both mountains were practically hollow, and riddled with caverns. There was evidence that both had been lived in, though one had been emptied and the other had only a few material remnants of the former occupants. My mother and I were the only ones on the island now, and it had been deserted when we arrived.
We had moved into the caves that still contained some furnishings, scant though they were. There were a few beds, covered in damp sheets, and a great portrait on the wall of a middle aged man with white hair. There was no food on the island, and no apparent way to get it. I searched extensively through our caves, for anything that might have been left behind. I discovered what looked like a pantry, but all that was in it was a much-folded and hand drawn map. It was of the opposite cave system, and though I had explored it as well and found it entirely empty, the map showed an icon shaped like a purple vial in one of the long galleries there. I went to investigate once more, but found no trace of any such object.
The food situation was getting desperate. From the limbs of one of the two pines, I fashioned a kind of trap. I was hoping that some traveling gull might fall afoul of it somehow, though I had nothing to use as bait and so this hope was really quite pathetic. I was descending the stair one day, to check the trap (I had set it in that protected spot near the pines) when I looked up to see a full grown female boar standing in the lee of the pines. With each step I took closer, though, she faded, and eventually was gone altogether. The trap had been sprung, though, and in it I found two baby boars, both sound asleep. Overjoyed, I reached in a took one of them, waking it. It looked at me with big, dark eyes, shivering, and I was unable to bring myself to kill it. My mother was more pragmatic, however, when I showed it to her. She seized it by the chin and slit its throat cleanly with a knife. My job became cooking it. I set up a small collection of firewood and grass, with the piglet spitted above it. The cold wind and rain worked against me, however, and I failed entirely at my attempt to get a fire started.
Despaired, I wandered back down the steps to where the second piglet still lay. It was awake, and upon seeing me it slid out through the bars of the trap and approached.
"Hello," it spoke. "Have you seen my sister?"
I was dumbstruck. The image of the other little boar, spitted and hanging over my failed fire, hung in my mind. I felt too guilty to say anything to her, and only sunk to my knees. She climbed into my lap, small and furry and brown.
"I guess she must have wandered off somewhere." I did not reply. Settling down, she began to tell me her story.
The island had originally been settled by a great and beautiful Sorceress and her followers. It was no more plentiful then than it was now, but by her powers they made do. The unique geography of the island had forced the group to split into two parties of eight people each. The Sorceress had settled in the entirely empty caverns with some of her disciples, and the rest had settled in the one in which we now lived. Among the ones in that second cavern was the white-haired man of whom the portrait was painted. As time advanced, he had begun to think of himself as sort of a co-leader of the group. Eventually, he even felt that he should be the logical choice of consort for the beautiful Sorceress.
The Sorceress had taken for herself the long gallery I had seen marked on the map. In it, she kept a long row of enormous purple vials, at least two or three dozen. Each contained, suspended and inanimate in violet fluid, a creature. There were all manner of birds and fish, mammals and monsters and a few that looked much like the Sorceress herself. All she needed to do was climb into one of these vials, and she could travel away from the island in whatever form was held within. There was one that appeared very much like her, but with the delicate hooves of a boar instead of hands and feet. It was in this form that she had met and fallen in love with a man on a far island, and with him made her two girls.
The unrest on the island had grown. Knowing how dark and jealous the white-haired man had become, she had hidden her daughters from his knowledge. But one day, the white-haired man sneaked into her chamber whilst she was traveling, and saw in the vial an image of her embracing her lover. What exactly happened was not clear, the little boar girl had not been there to see it. All that she knew was that she was utterly alone now on the island.
"Except for my sister," she said. She looked up into my face. "She's very quiet, and shy. Are you sure you have not seen her?"
That was my dream. I still get this cold, guilty feeling in my gut when I think about the poor little boar-girl and her sister.
And falling back in love with intaglio, especially drypoint. Here's a spontaneous drypoint I sketched out the other day. It's state proof #1, so it's far from finished. Definitely adding more definition to the cat. Perhaps burnishing and adding some scenery.
Indeed I am. Look at the things I make!
The semester, feeling as though it has just begun, is in fact coming to a close... and ever closer looms my midyear critique. The thought scares the shit out of me. I am seriously going to make note cards beforehand. 'Tis a lot of pressure, being singled out and grilled by 5+ people at once, your peers clustered close to stare. And we each have individual dates! So it's not as though they will finish with me and move on to someone else. All those people will be there just for the sake of critiquing my progress (and oh are they tough at midyears).
I am trying hard not to be sick from the very thought.