Charlotte McGary & Sharon Faiola-Petersen
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April 12, 2015

ShardLihanna: Always Hidden in My Dreams
By Sharon

ShardLihanna welcomed her like
a long-cherished memory.

I wrote that line about the character Anlee in "The Dream Crystals of Gandara" because ShardLihanna had welcomed me like a long-cherished memory.

When Charlotte and I divided up the writing chores for Part 2 of our book, we agreed that—other than all battle, army, and action scenes (Charlotte's specialty)—I would create this mysterious high-desert world and the occupants of its ancient monastery. What surprised us both is that I ended up writing the foundational scenes for ShardLihanna in one long writing session, from 2 a.m. one morning to midnight the next. By the end of it, my yellow legal pad was filled with handwriting that had grown increasingly indecipherable with each new page, as if I couldn't set the words down fast enough.

There was never any hesitation in my mind of what the monastery and temple looked like, the way the village appeared, and the rich scents that filled the air. I knew the monastery abbot as though he were an old friend and his beliefs had been pressed long ago into my heart.

No, I do not believe I had been possessed by some alien spirit. But I do believe that, over the years, my subconscious had been building this amazing world out of the memory tendrils of long-ago experiences and childhood daydreams. I can actually trace some of ShardLihanna's elements to specific times and places in my life:

– The barren terrain and winding valleys of ShardLihanna were inspired by far too many barren and winding sermons delivered in my family's small East Los Angeles church. As a child desperate to escape the boredom, I would lose myself in the baptistery's hand-painted mural of the rocky hills above the Jordan River and imagine all sorts of wonderful adventures amidst the craggy peaks and twisting trails of the ancient land.

– Earthquakes, scalding hot springs, boiling mud bogs, and the ever-present scent of sulfur all come from a vacation to Yellowstone National Park when I was 7. The day before we entered the park, a major earthquake had jolted the region resulting in a myriad of aftershocks and frenzied hydrothermal activity: newly created geysers erupted, gaping fissures spewed newly escaping steam, and madly bubbling "mudpots" spilled over the tourist walkways. The experience was so alien, so other-worldly . . . despite the hellfire-and-brimstone surroundings, I was in heaven!

– The monastery's "physic garden" is based on the Seattle area's Herb Farm. Although located now in the wine country of Woodinville, The Herb Farm once nestled in the verdant Fall City valley, where I would often spend a day wandering through the farm's richly scented gardens of medicinal and culinary herbs. The best time to visit was after a rain when the heady aromas of lavender, thyme, rosemary, and mint would rise like incense as the sun warmed the glistening plants.

– I didn't realize it at the time, but apparently my subconscious paid no attention to the constraints of chronological time during the creation of the character Ab Santos! The monastery abbot's theology and even his appearance seem to be patterned after Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest/author whose writings about dualism, unity, and spiritual interconnection I learned of only recently. Pretty strange . . . and kinda' wonderful.

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Thoughts, musings, and words of wisdom from our distinctly different minds and POVs.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in one author's blog do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the other author!

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