As far as I can figure out, my obsession began with the film Wings of Desire by Wen Wender. Set in Berlin, the film opens with the eye of the camera panning around a huge, golden angel mounted atop a tower. As the camera slowly zooms closer, it becomes clear that someone is sitting on the angel’s shoulder. The film had a strong impact on me and I must have watched it three times.
Months later, my husband, Bill, began talking about a business trip he was planning for early December in Hamburg, Germany. He asked if I wanted to go along so I go could experience Hamburg’s Christmas markets. When I suggested that we also go to Berlin too, he asked, “What do you want to do in Berlin in December?”
“I want to look around,” I said.
We took a train from Hamburg to Berlin and arrived late at our hotel. I went to bed around ten o’clock, feeling tired yet restless. My eyes were closed, yet a vision began to unfold. The vision was more than a thought; the vision had life and detail, and the whole thing steeped in feelings of familiarly:
I find myself standing in front of a small stone tower. The tower sits on the summit of an extremely steep hill. Down below and to my left, a gentle river flows into the north Laughter and bits of muffled conversation drift through the air from the few picnickers sunning themselves along the riverbank. The air is stained with a golden hue, and I think, it’s Sunday afternoon here.
As I approached the tower, I see a carved header over the entrance featuring an enormous ribbon with trailing flowers. I know if I go inside and up a staircase, I will find Michael. I go inside and my focus becomes my feet as I climb the stairs ahead. I notice the details, the smooth shiny stone, from centuries of foot-traffic.
I emerge at the top and recall that this room once held grain. The space is empty now, but I see a young man standing in the middle of this humble place. He is flooded in a golden aura and he is beautiful. He is lean and muscular, with golden blonde hair that curls delicately around the back of his neck. He is wearing a white tunic that cuts diagonally across his bare chest and ends in a skirt mid-thigh. His sandals are straps that tie around his ankles. I rush forward to embrace him and when we touch, something exhilarating and exciting occurs. It feels like the fastest joy ride I’ve ever experienced, but it’s over before I can question it. We embrace in the physical, but the flow was energetic, I move through him. When I reach the top of his head, I complete a backward flip, and find myself standing before him again.
He instantly begins to fade and I stare at him now, attempting to memorize the details of his face. It takes him several minutes to disappear, until the only thing left is the stark impression of a face.
When all was darkness again, I opened my eyes, got up from my bed, and went into the bathroom of my hotel room. I looked in the mirror and my long, red hair was sticking out all over my head as if I had put my finger in an electrical outlet.
The following morning, my hair was still super-charged when I awoke. “What happened to your hair?” asked Bill. “Huh?” he replied. By now, he was growing used to my fantastic inner experiences.
We spent the day touring Berlin. In late afternoon, we reached Brandenburger Tor. Suddenly I saw IT, gleaming in the late afternoon sun at the end of the boulevard, the golden angel atop the tower that appeared in Wender’s film. I became as excited as a child. “We need to go down there,” I insisted.
Berlin is so openly vast, the structures so huge, that what looks like a short distance can be quite far. It took us almost forty minutes to hike down the Strasse des 17 Juni to the Siegessaüle (Triumphal Column), which is surmounted by the golden, Winged Victory. It was near sundown and we were the last visitors that day. We went inside and the stairs were eerily similar to the stairs in my vision the night before.
I wrote Alone as an experiment. The talk in New Age circles was all about finding the higher or greater self. I had explored the concept of the higher self in the best way I knew how—through my writing. During my initial draft of Alone, all I cared about was getting to the scene where Michael was born. As a result, I had to backtrack and create the entire story. I worked on Alone for a long time, but the dialogue between Mellé and Michael stands. For me, Michael encompassed more than a character in one of my science fiction novel for me, he became my inspiration for creating the Janaforma, yet the only glimpse of him was in that vision in Berlin.
Martha Fawcett copyright 2014