In September I dreamt I watched my own birth. I held my newborn self and listened to her terrified cries.
Pregnancy and newborn dreams often signify the start of something new for me, but in this I couldn’t tell what it was. Maybe this time, I told a friend, my brain was wrong.
In October, I dreamed I went back to college with my mom for some paperwork. Every time we split up, a man cornered me. He acted concerned for my well being, but I was terrified and frozen. The weird/not so weird at all part? He looked just like the cultist/kidnapper from The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s funny, but also not.
I knew he had done something to me in the past, but I couldn’t remember what that was. He always vanished before my mom came back and I lost the words to talk about him then.
Finally I’d had enough. I broke free of the building, seized a megaphone from a student protest, and exposed this man and his deeds in front of everyone.
In November I began the first draft of The Secret Heart of Maeve MacGowan. The second draft, I finished around the end of February. In March as I began reading Women Who Run With Wolves, looking closely at the archetypes and the woman’s psyche is reminding me that the past few months have been pulling me towards this work and my novel in several ways.
“If a woman does not look into these issues of her own deadness and murder, she remains obedient to the dictates of the predator.”Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph. D., Women Who Run With Wolves
The first idea for my book is no longer a clear memory, but the choice to follow my own emotional resonance is. Without fully knowing how, I was taking years of the ‘predator’-both external environments I lived in and the internal voices that hounded me–and pulling them out of myself through writing. The urgency and clarity this gave me is unprecedented in my writing experience.
“When the predator’s psychic energy is rendered, it is formable into some other purpose. We are creators then; the raw substance reduced down becomes then the substance of our own creation.”Pinkola Estés, Ph. D.
For me, this story is taking the predator’s energy and turning it into art. I couldn’t hear the words I shouted into that megaphone in my dream. Instead, I wrote them in this book. The Secret Heart of Maeve MacGowan is the new thing my subconscious knew was coming. My newborn cries were the cries of a story desperate to be brought into the world.
Like my dream-self, I’m shedding irrevocable light on the nature of predators, and by threading fantasy over and through my own emotional journey, I weave my way to experiences shared by many women. I wrote not just about the harm I and these women endure for having to twist and contort ourselves into shapes society finds acceptable (non-threatening), but about what can happen when we realize we no longer need endure that.
We can stand up and take our real shapes.
For anyone who loves archetypes and symbolism, or has lived with great shame, or simply loves to see girls and woman claiming their own bad-assery, this book will be for you. I can’t wait to share more of The Secret Heart of Maeve MacGowan with you.