When Ricky the Cat woke me early this morning, I was deep in Tudor intrigue. There was Thomas Cromwell, as he looks in Hans
Holbein’s portrait, slightly stout and clothed in the rich garments suitable to his station in life at that point. He was standing and talking to two other men, who appeared equally wealthy, if not as powerful, perhaps. I wish I knew what they were discussing, but I don’t remember the rest of the dream.
I’ve been reading—savoring actually—Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Each section is like a scene in a movie, and just as vivid. I picture the characters in my head, and the rooms they are in, too. I hear Cromwell’s voice—at least as he sounds to me in Mantel’s book. I see him at his desk. I see him talking to Lady (formerly Princess) Mary at Hatfield, as she sits before a weak fire. I am with him as he talks to Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and Thomas More, and I can picture all of them.
I love having dreams about books I’ve read, and where I feel as though I’m actually there. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s like a special gift. (Of course, there are books I would not want to dream about—The Shining, for example. Nope, don’t want to visit THAT hotel!)
I still remember falling asleep once as a teenager and having an extraordinary dream about a book I had been reading. It was set in northern England near the border of Scotland, perhaps in the 17th century. I actually don’t remember the book, but I remember the feeling of this dream because it was so real to me. I was with a few other people, and I think we might have been fleeing from someone. We were on horseback, and then we stopped to regroup or discuss something. I felt the cold air; I heard the snorts of the horses, and I was there in the hilly north country. The most amazing part to me is that I spoke with a Northumbrian burr—something that I cannot do at all in “real” life, but which I felt that I could do when I first woke up. I really felt like I was there in Northumberland—a part of the world I have never visited. Alfie the Dog woke me up that time. (Pets waking me up seems to be in constant in my life.)
I know people who don’t read fiction at all, but sometimes doesn’t fiction seem more real than real life?