Years ago, while researching and writing my first novel, historical romance Red Bird’s Song, I had a dream–the entire story was inspired by a dream–but this was particularly significant. Dire, even.
An older warrior appeared before me, darkness all around but I saw him clearly, long gray hair, wrapped in a blanket of the same hue touched with silver. He never spoke a word. His message came to me telepathically, and was one of warning. If I continued down the path I’d embarked on, the way was filled with hardship. He also wanted me to be fair to his people. I was in the early stages of research and had not yet gained the empathy for Native Americans that I’ve come to since then. His profound request compelled me to deeper insight with a focus on Eastern Woodland tribes and the Shawnee–one of the main tribes my ancestors encountered.
As for turning back from the path I’d chosen, I couldn’t. I realized I was alone on a boat in a black sea drifting away from where he stood on an icy shore. I don’t know how to sail, and I didn’t have oars. Nor did I know where I was going, or might find a safe harbor. Forbidding, yes.
And he was right. Completing this novel, many times over as I honed the craft, plus all the subsequent stories, and navigating the baffling world of publishing is like being adrift in an uncharted sea. At night. To persevere has taken unbelievable tenacity. And the adventure continues. This warrior, whom I have thought of many times, took the form of Wicomechee’s grandfather in Red Bird’s Song. The English version of his name, Eyes of the Wolf.
I always knew that was his name.
For more on Red Bird’s Song, visit this post. And search this blog.