Thursday, January 16, 2014

Nikademus, the Dragon Lute Player

So last night, I didn't sleep worth a darn.   It was 2 am before my oldest son's cough finally settled down.  But then the cat kept pouncing me...she wanted snuggles and petting and I wanted sleep.  (It was clearly a lose-lose battle.)  And then, on a mere 2 and a half hours of sleep, I bolted wide awake and attempted to sleep (unsuccessfully) for the next hour and a half before my alarm clock announced my pretending to sleep was over and it was time to start my day...can I just sum this up as, "Hello, Full Moon!"?  So all of that to say, last night, I dreamed but it isn't anything I could write about.  It was disjointed blotches of color and the impression of organic shapes.  That was it.

So here I am thinking, ah well, no dream to write about today.

And then when I got home this evening, I see that I received a surprise package in the mail from my father.  He sent me copies of two charcoal drawings I did my senior year of high school.

They're the front and back of Nikademus, the dragon lute player...that I dreamed.  People often ask me about remembering my dreams and the thing is, if I can remember my dream, I can (so far anyway) always remember my dream.  Looking at him, I remembered this dream clearly.  It helps that at the time, it was one of the most vivid dreams I'd ever had.

It was spring of 1995, and I dreamed that I was at a medieval castle on faire day.  The streets were tight and cobbled and full of people.  Some of them celebrating, dancing, laughing, talking, vending.  None of them nobles.  All of them common.  When you think of a wench, you've pictured every young woman here.

Looking up, flags and banners fluttered in a muted rainbow hue of colors, contrasting sharply with the laundry lines strung between the building with clothing flapping as merrily as the flags.  Children laughed and ran, playing in the street.  I could hear a fountain bubbling, but did not see one.  I was there, but I was just watching.  It was kind of like going to a Renn faire in mundane clothes.  Merely a tourist passing through, trying to see everything.

The apples in the cart beside me looked so delicious, I picked one up to inspect it.  And suddenly I was being chased by guards for stealing.  I clutched the apple and ran, upturning a vendor with caged chickens, their squabbles and squawks behind me the only clue that they were slowing down the guards.  I was concentrating on where I was going and did not spare a glance to look.

I dodged down side streets through rickety bamboo lattice work and could hear dogs behind some of the pens baying while pigs contained in others squealed.  I was afraid they would tell the guards exactly where I was-- but I realized they always made that much noise and were probably good cover of themselves.

And suddenly I was in a different part of the castle, scaling over short towers, some no taller than 2 feet off the ground, with people everywhere.  I was in the entertainment section.  Jugglers.  Chalk artists.  Bubbles-- It reminded me of being a child in Heidelberg and I followed the sound of lovely music.  When I found the source, I stopped completely-- frozen in a mix of fear and fascination.

There were three musicians playing.  A frame drummer, a lute player and a flute player-- and all of them were strange alien looking dragons.  The flute player had breasts and a softer curve to her body or I would never have been able to distinguish their genders.  No one else noticed or considered them out of place.  And people passing by would toss coins into their lute case, as they would do for any musician who played as well.

As I stood there listening and watching, a haze, a flicker out of the corner of my eye, indicated that what I saw and what really were were not necessarily one and the same, and with this realization, reality peeled from the scene before me like a ripple across water.

I realized that here, I was the one that should attract attention, as I was the only 'person' there.  But they were all friendly and inviting in a way the real people had not been.  The pen was full of pigs alright, but they were pigs with wings, which suddenly explained why a pig pen would need to be closed on top.  And many of the patrons leaving coins had bits and details that announced they were not fully human, or perhaps just wearing a human costume.  A tail here.  A bit of feathers there.  A sharp claw instead of a hand.  Gills.  It varied.  And they accepted me for my oddities as a full human as they accepted each other.

And still around all of these strange and interesting sights, the music wove hypnotically around them.  The players were really quite good.  I went to give them my apple, as it was all that I had to give,  when it was time for me to wake up.

This dream was so vivid in my mind that day, I couldn't shake it.  So when we were given assignments in art class to experiment in charcoal creating the front and backside of a thing-- I knew I had to bring a part of my dream into the waking world with me.

And I so I created Nikademus.

"Nikademus, the dragon lute player".  charcoal on charcoal paper.  Interested in having him for your very own? Prints and other merchandise available here.

I wanted to capture the feeling of friendliness I remembered from my dream and so he is smiling and waving in welcome-- inviting me to return.  So far, I never have, save in memory.

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