The woman of my dreams. . . hmmmm. . . I can only imagine what you are thinking in this particular moment as you read this title. Perhaps there are a number of questions floating through your mind: What is the woman of his dreams (what characteristics and attributes does she exhibit)? Who is the woman of his dreams (is it someone famous used as a model for such a woman or a real, everyday individual that he actually knows)? Has he found the woman of his dreams (Has he become acquainted with this woman, is he friends with this woman, is he dating this woman)? How has the woman of his dreams responded to him (is she indifferent to him, has she rejected him, is she flirtatious with him, has she fallen for him)? Is he going to write about the woman of his dreams (is it simply an ideal that he is going to write about--not an actual person, but the attributes and characteristics of what he would like most in a woman)? Does the woman of his dreams exist? and etc. Well, pick whichever one intrigues you the most and brace yourself. . .
The woman of my dreams of which I write is none of these, but is literally the woman of my dream (my apologies to all of you with inquiring minds that really wanted to know. . .). I awoke a couple of days ago from an interesting dream. The truth of the matter is that the dream itself was nothing unrealistic or out of the ordinary--probably a dream that most people would promptly forget by mid-morning. But it was precisely the dream's simplicity that struck me; that, and the fact that this particular woman mentioned that she was from a town which I had never heard of before but upon awaking knew that it must exist, so I looked up Sjöviken, Sweden and sure enough it is a small community on the eastern shore of Sweden, not too far from Sundsvall. So, "who cares?", one may ask. I will make the connection for you later.
I enjoy creative writing, whether it be poetry, short stories, tales, or what have you. Finding time, inspiration, and the right language and structure to write can be daunting. I saw in this dream an opportunity to write.
Kvinnan Från Sjövik *
In the phantasmagoric realm of sleep
I saw myself descending down a steep
And winding street with houses bright
In Skandinavisk style,
Which led to such an awe-inspired sight
That words, too weak, would defile
The sacredness of such a view.
Happiness enveloped my whole being,
Rejuvenated by this moment, freeing
All the discord one may hold inside.
I walked, face to the sky,
Exulting in a moment oft denied
By worldly cares that oft belie
The sacred nature of our souls.
My friends walked onward, leaving me behind,
A simple soul left lonely to unwind
Within the thriving summer air.
I looked out t’ward the sea—
A tranquil bay reflecting the sun’s glare
Made my heart dance inside of me
Some strange diverting jig.
And in this moment who should then appear
But some fair maiden with her hiking gear,
Petite and healthy, on a stroll,
Backpacking as travelers do
Through foreign streets, picturesque and beautiful,
Experiencing something new.
We caught each other’s glance.
Walking onward, side by side, we spoke
Of treasures the world hides beneath its cloak
And all we’ve hidden deep within
Our hearts and in our minds.
It seemed to me with her all life begins
To unfold mysteries we find
Too simple to ignore.
But as is oft the case with sudden dreams
The light of sleep unraveled at its seems—
To morning silence I awoke.
To bring her back, ah please!
What torture my unconsciousness evokes
To dream up one who lives beside the seas
On Sweden’s central shores.
The last words that I heard her speak:
“Jag bor I sjövik”**
August 24, 2009
*Kvinnan från Sjövik (Swedish: The woman from Sjövik)
** Jag bor i Sjövik (Swedish: I live in Sjövik)
Alright, so you are probably wondering why the sudden jump to the poem and why the poem ends abruptly. . . well, it is just like a dream--it materializes suddenly and just as quickly ends. So, why write of this and why the fascination? Let me explain a little.
Several years ago I had many young nieces and nephews who would often visit my parents' home. Those of you who know me well are familiar with some trolls that I have purchased from norway. As a form of entertainment I used to gather around my nieces and nephews who were interested at the moment and take my trolls and offer troll stories. The kids would line up on the edge of a bed and I would take a chair facing them and with trolls in hand would begin some fantastical tale or another as if the trolls were speaking themselves (I'd use specific voices for each troll and pounce the troll around as if he were real and speaking to the kids--I know, I know, many of you are terrified of the trolls and have a hard time believing that I would subject my nieces and nephews to such scary creatures, but that is a learned response, and the kids were actually endeared to the trolls and would beg me for troll stories when they saw me). I made up several troll stories on the spot and the kids would often give suggestions as to what the story should be about (my nieces particularly enjoyed stories that involved princesses and berries). I even purchased trolls for each of my nieces and nephews one Christmas and wrote them their own stories to go with the troll. But I digress. The point is, during this time period I also wrote a number of "folktales" which I didn't share with my nieces and nephews as they did not fit their age range at the time. My dream having come across a woman from Sjöviken, Sweden reminded me of one such tale that I placed in a nearby location: Sundsvall. Needless to say, here is the tale:
The Maiden at Sundsvall
Once long ago, in the coastal town of Sundsvall, there lived a young woman who would look upon the sea and dream up stories and songs within her head. She would arise early each morning and stumble through the darkness from her cottage to her favorite spot upon the coast—a large boulder which she would climb atop and view the rising of the sun as the morning waves would gently summon it from sleep with their rhythmic lapping upon the rocks below. She would attend to her duties by day, but always she set aside time enough to return to the boulder before sunset and view the evening hues as the sun descended beneath the forested hills that lay inland.
The young woman’s beauty was no secret, yet her character was greater still which caused all the young men throughout the region to swoon at the mention of her name. She was modest and showed her love for friends and family both in word and deed. She was unaware of the effect that she had upon men as most were too shy to approach her or to express how they truly felt. Thus, she continued on her daily course of life dreaming and reflecting upon the joys which surrounded her—the simple pleasures of nature and family.
One morning, as she ascended the boulder in the morning twilight, she was surprised at the sight of a figure sitting in the darkness. Startled, she froze upon the ledge staring at the man who sat motionless looking out upon the vast ocean to the emerald horizon. After a moment’s hesitation she resumed her course and sat next to the man. Neither spoke as they peered out upon the blissful scene. The sky began to illuminate and the shadows of the distant clouds were outlined with rose-colored hues and silver reflections. Alas, the first rays of the morning sun shot across the water, skipping back and forth upon the waves in route to the couple’s vision. The waves beneath the precipice rumbled to and fro with a delightful ditty and the morning birds took flight from the bosom of the sea.
“It is a glorious scene and a harmonious sound that awakens the earth to a new day,” said the man.
“Indeed, it refreshes the soul and makes life worth living,” she responded.
They sat for some time beneath the morning clouds chatting upon the scene and upon life whereupon it was revealed that he was an aspiring composer. He looked upon the beauty of the morning dawn and the beauty of the woman’s nature as the world around them sung in exultation.
“I should like to capture your beauty and this scene within the notes of a grand symphony, whereupon this moment may be immortalized in my composition, if you will allow me to do so,” he softly said. She consented and they met each morning thereafter to enjoy the dawning of the day, to discuss life, and for the young man to drink of the inspiration which would move him to compose his masterpiece. He was very skilled in various instruments and would play one for her each morning upon the boulder, shewing forth his progress, and indeed it was lovely.
On the very evening which the young woman met this man she returned to the boulder to ponder upon her labor for the day and upon life as she would enjoy the inspiring scenes of nature at the day’s end. The long afternoon shadows stretched far across the earth and all the world seemed to glitter and shine with the spectacular evening hues. She began to ascend the boulder wherein she would take in the scene as a whole and with the parting of the sun call the day complete. As she reached the top she noticed a man, different from the first, sitting atop her prized location. What a strange surprise she beheld! Bewilderedly, she finished her ascent and sat next to the man, both staring out upon the forested hills, which extended endlessly inland. The evening birds took flight from their nests and the leaves sparkled as they fluttered in the wind quickly eclipsing the evening sunlight. The treetops swayed in a tireless dance and the sky was aflame from the burning clouds. The sun wrapped itself in the bosom of the earth and the light faded into the perpetual darkness.
“It is a wondrous spectacle to behold when in the earth’s bosom the sun doth fold,” said the man.
“Indeed, it rejuvenates the mind and make life complete,” she responded.
They sat for some time beneath the evening stars chatting upon the scene and upon life whereupon it was revealed that he was an aspiring poet. He looked upon the beauty of the evening mist and the beauty of the woman’s nature as the world around them gracefully embraced the shadows.
“I should like to capture your beauty and this scene within the words of an epic poem, whereupon this moment may be canonized in my composition, if you will allow me to do so,” he softly said. She consented and they met each evening thereafter to enjoy the closing of the day, to discuss life, and for the young man to drink of the inspiration which would move him to write his masterpiece. He was very skilled with words and would recite for her each evening upon the boulder, shewing forth his progress, and indeed it was lovely.
So it was that each man continued to meet with the maiden upon the boulder at their respective hours. The first man composed such soothing music which brought peace and tranquility to her soul, and the second man wrote such beautiful poetry which brought excitement and joy to her heart. After some time, the two men desired to marry the young maiden, and each increased his efforts to woo her.
They both would present to her the depths of their minds in the respective mediums that they used. Each would state that they would produce the most elegant and beautiful works for her and indeed they showered her with the greatest pieces of music and poetry that she had ever experienced. She thought that both men were great and wonderfully talented which left her all the more confused as to who she should marry. As a result, she asked the two men not to join her for the next few weeks upon the boulder in the morning or in the evening so that she could be alone in those tranquil scenes and ponder upon their propositions. The two men agreed and alone sat the maiden each morning for the rising of the sun and each evening for its setting.
Early one morning during this time a third man appeared upon the boulder. He said nothing as she climbed the boulder’s height and neither spoke as they watched the sunrise and enjoyed the whispers of nature. The sky was ablaze when the young lady arose to return to her daily chores. She returned in the evening to view the sunset and to her surprise the man was still stalwartly sitting upon the precipice. Once more they sat in silence viewing the setting sun and enjoying the silent sounds of nature’s voice. The stars appeared one by one until thousands of them littered the sky. The young woman arose to return home for the night and the man, still sitting, asked, “What is it you have been thinking about?” The maiden sat back down and explained how the composer and the poet produced such great things from their minds which they gave to her and how beautiful their works were and how she could not decide who she would marry.
“Do you perhaps compose music or write poetry?” The man asked.
“O no,” the maiden responded. “I would love to learn how to produce such beautiful things but the men have only produced them for me.”
“I see,” said the man. “Then I shall teach you to both compose and write the things of your mind and heart so that you too may produce such beautiful works.”
The third man and the maiden met each morning and each evening upon the boulder to greet and bid farewell to the sun, to enjoy the soft voice of nature, to discuss life and to learn how to compose and write the things of the maiden’s heart and mind. Before long she too produced the most peaceful compositions and the most beautiful poems. Once more the fair woman sat upon the boulder as Sundsvall singing her songs and making up her stories as she listened to the morning waves summon the sun from sleep and as she felt the evening wind blow the day beneath the forested hills. The vibrant hues and the soft tones of the world about her were peaceful and inspiring. The wind brought with it a chill that was warmed by her husband’s embrace and hers was a feeling of happiness.
December 26, 2000
Needless to say, I wrote several tales based upon the Scandinavian style of folklore between the years 1999 and 2002. I think that I need to take up this form of creative writing once again. What do you think?