Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Um...So Your Fantasies Aren’t Like This?

I’m a freak, I know it.

When I was in grade school, a conversation with my best friend led to the discovery that not every child makes up stories for at least thirty minutes every night in bed. I was honestly convinced I was normal until that conversation. But other kids, it seemed, did not make a point of going to bed at least a half hour before they needed to go to sleep, just for the purpose of fantasizing. Sometimes these stories lasted 45 minutes, an hour, and/or ran night after night like continuing soap operas.

As a busy adult I don’t spend quite that much time fantasizing before I fall asleep. And often, this is the time I use for planning for the fiction I’m writing. But sometimes I still do as I did as a little kid and just make up stuff for fun. What kind of stuff? Are you sure you want to know?

Okay, at the risk of revealing what a total weirdo I am, here you go.

Lately I’ve been working on a really great 19th Century, Dickensian tale featuring my current fave celebrity crushes. In it, I’m a 16-year-old homeless orphan girl named Pip. I was living miserably on the streets until, cold and starving, I was found one night by a renowned hero of the “dodgy element” of London, a fellow called Mister House.

Think Fagin meets House M.D.

He has converted an old decrepit workhouse to a clothes making shop/dormitory for homeless kids like me. And instead of training us in pick pocketing like Fagin, Mister House operates the place as a legitimate business. The older kids sew simple clothes, the younger ones do mending jobs and make easy things like handkerchiefs. I happen to have learned from my deceased mom how to embroider, so they set me to work doing monograms.

Mister House is a stern, curmudgeonly taskmaster, but actually much more beneficent than his modern TV doctor equivalent. He uses the profits of the business not to get ahead, but to provide food and shelter to as many kids as he can. He may not show it, but we all know he loves us from his deeds. Naturally he’s just as humorously belligerent as the TV version. And, of course, I’m sweet on him in my girlish way.

All goes well until one day on the streets I encounter a new fellow--or at least, he’s new to me. Handsome, with dark, curly hair and a long black coat, this guy arouses my curiosity right away. He’s a storyteller, and goes around the neighborhood telling tales, mostly to crowds of children. I’m intrigued, but before I can check him out more closely, Mister House intervenes. This stranger is no stranger to him; he’s the Man in the Black Coat, and House’s urchins are forbidden to go near him. Why? No explanation, just orders!

If you can’t guess who plays the role of the Man in the Black Coat, you must be new here. :-)

Well, one day I’m out wistfully staring at a fairy tale book in a bookshop window, coveting it. Who should appear next to me but the Man in the Black Coat! Before I can escape, he engages me in a fascinating conversation about how I don’t need the book, I have fairy stories, complete with pictures, in my head. I’m enthralled. But then he tells me he knows I belong to Mister House, and understands why I can’t come hear him tell stories to kids in the street.

Which results, of course, in my sneaking out to hear him tell stories. And of course he’s incredible at it and I’m head over heels. Still, I don’t want to disobey Mister House and know there must be a good reason for his command. Oh the conflict! There’s nothing like a fantasy with two charismatic protagonists at odds!

At this point in my fantasy, House M.D. character Dr. James Wilson insisted on joining the cast. Hey, no problem. He plays a wealthy, successful doctor from the upper crust, who also has a heart of gold and therefore provides free care to House’s kids. The two of them are longtime, trusted friends.

So, after my surreptitious spying on the Man in the Black Coat telling stories, I end up lost, and he ends up finding me. You know where this is his rooms, of course. Soon I’m fed, entertained with more tales, and bundled up in bed. Now the innocent Pip, so naïve and trusting, learns why the Man in the Black Coat has a bad rap with Mister House. But the thing is, I don’t mind doing what the Man suggests, because I think he’s super dreamy.

Meanwhile, back at House’s place, my having gone missing has become an issue. But just then, Doctor Wilson arrives, having seen me with the Man and suspecting where I ended up. Mister House expresses his vehemence not to go anywhere near “that vile Gaiman fellow” and recruits Wilson to rescue me.

In the morning he arrives chez Man, and demands my release into his care. The Man in the Black Coat complies in a most genial manner. I’m confused as heck. But the doctor seems very kind. He takes me to his office to make sure I’m okay and talk to me about what’s happened. With amazing candor for the 19th Century, we discuss the issue; I still don’t understand what I may have done wrong and Doctor Wilson tries to enlighten me about the inappropriate nature of the Man’s advances.

He takes me home. I get back to embroidering, musing all the while on my situation. Evening comes and with it our master, who has made an especially big profit on our wares and brought us a feast. Ham, bread, potatoes, carrots, etc. and even a lovely big almond cake--it’s like Christmas. All us kids party it up, but all the while Mister House ignores me. I’m afraid he’s really mad. At long last it’s lights out, and we all curl up on our little pallets. It’s only then that Mister House tells me to come to his study. What will he say? I’m so worried!

And there it is! Can’t you see why I’m eager to go back to bed?

I told my husband about this fantasy and he just shook his head in disbelief. Needless to say, nothing like this goes on in his brain at night.

Now you might say, this is just how it is with writers, we just write stories in bed. But I still think it’s all kind of weird. For example, here we are in London, and Mister House could legitimately speak with a British accent like Hugh Laurie actually does...but he’s American. Why? I have no clue! Meanwhile, it’s not so strange that the Man in the Black Coat has a British accent, on any count (all the years in Minnesota haven’t put a dent in how Gaiman speaks). But it’s really wack that Doctor Wilson is British too, not American.

And I really got excited about that almond cake. Why an almond cake? Who knows?

So truly I am not so deliberate with nocturnal fantasies as I am with story-writing. I would never, in a story, have a character that resembled Neil Gaiman in any way be possessed of a nefarious character like this guy; it’s really sick and wrong. But in large part this whole thing is happening to me, you understand--I’m not totally in control.

Sorry this entry was so long. I caught you up on like a week of stuff here. But yeah, this is what it’s like being me.

I’d shake my head too if I were you.


CC said...

ROTFL! I would never get to sleep if I spun fantasies like that at bedtime! You'll have to let us all know how it turns out with Mr. House.

Diana Laurence said...

CC, I'm glad someone managed to get through that entire saga! Here's an update from the past couple nights: Mister House coldly yelled at me for disobeying him and made me retreat to my bed in tears, thinking I've lost his trust forever. Then I came down with some sort of flu (inspired by a bout with asthma I had in real life last night) and Doctor Wilson had to take me to his house to nurse me back to health. (I love "nursing back to health" fantasies, as you know from my story "Between Earth and Sky" from Soulful Sex Vol. 1...LOL.)

Anonymous said...

I am a first time visitor. You had me at Charles favorite author. As a fledgling, yet unpublished writer, of erotica, I appreciate the way your mind works. You allow your characters to speak to you and lead you wherever they wish to go in order to tell their tale, not yours. Can't wait to see the finished product.
Just as a point of reference I would like you too know when I was a little girl I would go to bed with a yellow pad, pencil and a flashli8ght. When my n other turned off the lights I would turn on the flashlight and begin to write my stories. I am so glad I m not the only oddball...sic

Diana Laurence said...

Anonymous, I'm delighted to make your acquaintance! And we do sound like kindred spirits all right. I'm loving the mental picture of you scribbling under the covers by the light of your flashlight. Wonderful!

Miss Organizized said...

Aw MAN!! I wish you could really write this story!! I mean with edits of course, but still...I love it!! WRITE IT!!! :D

Diana Laurence said...

Katesi, you're hilarious! I think this is the closest I will get to writing it, LOL...

Miss Organizized said...

Boooo!!! :)

Zoe Stead said...

When I was younger I think I was very much the same as you. The idea for my first book came to me in a dream and I'd actually look forward to going to bed (not sleep) as my mind would be free to think and place me as the heroine of any story I wanted.
Your story sounds really intersting, and I can see why you parelleled with some of my characters. I do have a thing for mysterious handsome gents turning up in my writings, and girls who need protecting but are far to curious for their own good :D
So in responce to your title of this blog...err fantasies are like this, but then the souls of writers are mysterious things.
All the best! Zoe from DA x

Diana Laurence said...

Thanks so much for visiting, Zoe, that was so cool of you! I'm so glad to have met a kindred spirit. We seem drawn to the same archetypes all right.

I will be keeping an eye on your fabulous work! (Readers, you can see Zoe's stuff here: