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CRAZY dream

Listening to: Season of the Witch

I just had a crazy dream. In it, we were on a cruise and stopped at places like a haunted house movie theater, an antique house that was actually a large amusement park ride, and a giant water park of similar design. As we went to each place, my friends and I (there were a lot of them, like 7) were constantly accosted by people trying to steal my bag or my iPad. I kept checking I had them, and if didn’t, it was Danger Panic time.

We went through everything the first time getting through panic without knowing why. Then the dream repeated, showing me all of the details I or the others had missed.

One villain in particular proved to be the author of all our troubles. An ageless Witch needed all of my devices–the contacts list on my phone, some unsynced notes on my iPad, and some pictures and an executable file on a flash drive. All stuff in my bag (none of it with a real life counterpart)

She befriended me on the train, but when she stole two of the things out of my bag, one of my friends caught her and stole them back. He told our oldest friend, sort of the group Dad, and he counseled secrecy.

This sort of thing kept happening. At the amusement park house, I caught her and made sure I got to my bag first as it came out of security. I also made friends with a guard who kept watch on the Witch on the cameras for me. When I found a spell in my bag, I told him her true name ( one of my seven original friends had snooped it out) and asked him to burn the spell papers in a bin under his desk and get that image into a collage that’s part of a scary bit of the ride.

She got the message.

The Witch kidnapped one of our friends–one she damned as silly–and found he had his phone. She let him keep it because she could monitor his use, and all he did was send selfies to his boyfriend.

What she didn’t realize was that his boyfriend was in our group of 8 friends and every one of those photos was of him posing or blowing kisses in a spot that, when combined, gave us the layout of the water park she had booby-trapped. We navigated the traps, got him back, and defeated the Witch.

I can’t write this as a story, it’s too disjointed, but it was one of those really vivid dreams that makes it hard to breathe when you wake up but you’re really ALERT afterwards. Maybe not even rested, just super alert.

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Why I Don’t Like Up

thoughtful

Listening to: Lilac Wine – Jeff Buckley

I think we should stop using the word theory for fan theories. Theory implies that it’s an idea one feels to be true, when there is not really such a think as truth in fiction–only accuracy, intention, or honesty. My thing about Up is not a fan theory, it’s a way that I have analysed the repulsing affect this movie has on me. I apologise if I’ve repeat anything I’ve said before. Also, I probably spelled names wrong and totally forgot one of the character’s names, but I’ll just have to be forgiven. I want to post this and if I don’t put Owen to sleep right now, he’s going to IMPLODE.

This morning, Owen was watching Up, a movie that I have never cared for, and he watches on effing repeat. A lot of people say that the beginning is too sad, and I agree, but probably not for the same reasons. After the tearjerker open, the rest of the story tugs gradually less at the heartstrings. It actually parallels fairly well with the increasing levels of silliness. At the saddest possible moment, when Mr Frederikson is seconds away from being forced to leave his home (which he seems to have as a placeholder for his wife, to the point of conflation, in an emotional sense) the whimsy kicks in.

It’s a great moment, but everything that happens afterward is zany. I hate that word, and it describes exactly what it’s like to watch this movie. As in a dream, elements of Mr Frederikson’s life are combined and spat back out in unlikely ways that give him things that he wanted in his life, which were never possible.

Russell’s character is obvious. The Frederiksons wanted to have children, but were unable to do so. So his mind takes the actual child he met and crafts a believable fantasy. Not just a kid to bond with, but one who slowly erodes whatever defences he built up when he learned he wouldn’t be a father (“I don’t like kids anyway” kind of thing) and then provides a fulfilment of the protective instinct by needing a father figure where his expected one failed.

A blurry one is the dog, Dug. From what we saw of Mr Frederikson’s family, they appeared to be repressed and strict, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that he was one of the many boys who wanted a dog and couldn’t have one. It also looks like he lived in a city (I assumed Manhattan for some reason) so there’s another reason a dog might not happen. And don’t even get me started on the significance of dogs in dream interpretation.

The last and zaniest fantasy is that of meeting his childhood hero. This one is a giant Torgue-y level of explosion noise, psychologically speaking. Mr Frederikson doesn’t just go to that long-promised vacation spot. He meets the explorer whom both he and his wife admired as children. This is basically what brought them together. And upon meeting the man, he discovers that he is psychotic, murderous, and although his accomplishments remain the stuff of admiration, the man himself goes from hero to threat.

Where to even start with that one? I could liken the childhood hero to Mr Frederikson’s marriage, relationship with his wife, and/or the inspiration and drive to just live every day. His wife’s death was like finding out that the hero was evil. What good is love, if it ends this painfully, one might say. (I wouldn’t, but other people do think that way) I thought that the plot point where Mr Frederikson has to throw out a bunch of his material possessions so that he can save the day seemed tacked on, an extraneous message that didn’t need to be there.

But what if. What if it isn’t just an anti-materialism message? What if the hero/villain does represent the pain of Mrs Frederikson’s death, and letting go of all of the things meant that in order to save himself from that pain, he had to stop living in the past? Maybe he was forcing himself to stop using his wife’s possessions as a crutch to avoid accepting her death. Eventually, the house “dies” with the villain.

The ending is idealistic and the sense of scale is insane. There aren’t any consequences for spending days in South America. The only important thing is that Russell gets to have his father figure fulfill a specific need. The mind is not rational in fantasy. None of this is real.

To me, though, it doesn’t come off like a funny fantasy story, not with a beginning like that. To me, it looks like the last spinning dream of a man who has given up. Manic, frenzied, telling jokes that aren’t funny and then laughing at itself. Nothing feels real because it isn’t.

I don’t like this movie because it feels like watching someone hallucinate while he lies dying.

 

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Travelling via Novel

Just woke up, and I have only a few minutes before Owen has to eat, so this probably won’t be terribly coherent or long.

When I’m really tired, which right now is pretty much of the time, and I try to read just about anything, it affects my mind. Directly. To most people, this simply suggests that I dream about what I read. This is kind of but merely part of it. It changes what I dream. Not just the content, though. It changes how deep an effect my dreams have on me, including in my waking moments.

But it isn’t just what I dream. Maybe it’s because I spend so much of the time that I am tired trying desperately to stay awake, but when I’m reading and I doze off or shut my eyes and fail to open them, I stay helplessly awake but adrift. Even if I mean to sleep and am actively encouraging that change in state, my body physically fights it off. And as some kind of side effect, I think more densely and often rapidly than when I am just awake.

Depending on what I’m reading, those dense and rapid lines of thought can get pretty strange. Everything from shots of random weirdness to fully comprehensible concepts that seem to pertain to a nonexistent reality. To elaborate upon that second sort of happening, it’s kind of like… say I think that it’s Abraham’s turn to pick up the kids from soccer practise so I’d better take the opportunity to work on my thesis. Who is Abraham? My only child is not old enough for soccer. I say “football” 99% of the time. I don’t think I’ve even read a thesis in a while.

It could probably all fall under a heading that’s abstractly set to the music of a Plumb album. There’s a clear link between the different kinds of thoughts and all those factors, and what I was reading. But it’s not a very understandable link. I had a very detailed conversation with Hubby, not a word of it actually spoken in reality, while dozing off in the middle of Stranger on Raven’s Ridge, of all things.

Still, it made me think about the concept of mental travel via fiction. Wouldn’t it be much more interesting if it was more like this than it is like people usually depict it? That way being akin to visiting an amusement park made by people who never actually read the book in question.

Gotta make formula and feed mah bebe.

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nightmare

A really persistent one. I thought I slept fine last night, was up and showered around 5:00, but then I laid back down a couple of hours later and konked out.

Kind of wish I hadn’t. At first I was cold, but I guess I overheated and had a nightmare anyway. I woke up from it a couple of times, but it came back as soon as I fell asleep.

It was in at least two parts, but the only one I remember now was the second half–which, if this had been a book or a film, would have really been the first part. Sort of like a flashback. All I remember of the first half was that there was a man in a house in wanted to kill my husband and me, but less than he wanted to kill everyone else. We got out of his satanic mess alive, but there were coffins and headstones everywhere at the end of it.

The second half was supposed to explain it somehow. He and his sister had been very similar to us (looks and situation, obviously nothing to do with our being a married couple) and while they’d been at a store, some angry white guy had accosted them. The workers there hid them, but he waited for them.

He caught up with them in the parking lot, and mostly picked on the sister. She brushed him off, but in the first part of the dream, someone had said she’d gotten herself killed with a song. That was when she sang it. Basically a jab at the angry guy for being a loser. He pulled out a gun.

Somehow in the ensuing frenzy, her brother took him down and the stupid angry guy shot himself. But for some reason after that, there were people who sympathised with him and wanted to hurt the surviving brother. While trying to drive away, injured sister in the back, someone threatened to kill them for their car being in the way. It was absurd. I woke up mad, wanting to kick in the stupid driver’s window and attack him with his own set of stupid-looking knives.

That’s mostly what I remember. Being terrified and hating the stupidity of this person with knives who thought it appropriate to threaten to stab someone instead of waiting for the car park to freakin’ clear a little.

I haven’t written about my dreams in a while. They’ve mostly been nightmares like this. It’s all down to being too hot no matter what I do and for some reason not being able to breathe.

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The Beautiful People

I probably should have tried to record this dream as soon as I had woken up, but I had a hectic morning. It involved the ability to actually wash my own hair (gasp!), a Blue Screen of Death, and almost forgetting my cane.

My morning, not the dream.

Anyway, there was one part of my dream that has really stuck with me, in spite of the fact that it was the most mundane part of it. The really crazy stuff was that these people all lived in smarthouses, and that some of them worked for the government as some kind of spies. They were all pretty young adults, and every one of them was conspicuously good-looking. In an unsettling way.

I don’t remember any names, although they did have them in my dream, but there were about five of them that stood out. I guess I could give them names now, but I think it’d just confuse me… Oh well, I’ll try anyway.

Two of them were women, best friends. One of them, let’s call her Heather, had nearly white platinum blonde hair in a pixie cut, with narrow eyes and a generally icy and severe appearance. She was very practical and observant. Careful. Her best friend was a curvy and absolutely adorable brunette named Meredith, but everyone called her Beth for some reason. Beth was agile and amiable to everyone in the world. No one could not love this girl.

Beth’s other best friend was… er, Matt works. He was a handsome rich guy who came from old money and had the nicest smarthouse. He lived with his boyfriend, and his family thought he was gay, but he was bisexual. He pretended to be gay so that his mother wouldn’t try to set him up with ladies and demand grandchildren. Instead, she did that to his brother, and one of those girls she wanted to marry into the family was Beth.

Matt’s boyfriend, who did not have a name or much “screentime”, was cheating on him. Heather caught him, but kept it to herself for a while because other stuff was going on.

Some Japanese agent (who may have been a cyborg I dunno) moved into the neighbourhood and started breaking into their houses. She had basically been sent to kill them all.

One of the other agents, possibly the plainest, was a young woman named… Careigh. She was short and kind of intense. She noticed that things were going missing, so she gathered everyone together. The Japanese agent flooded the room, but one of Careigh’s demon animal sidekick things (my dreams are weird) attacked her, forcing her into the flooded room.

David, the last of the circle of agents (whatever they were) managed to turn off the water, while the others fought the Japanese agent. After it was over, everyone was wet and annoyed. They let David and Careigh take care of business and went home. Beth and Matt tried to act normal and hang out, but then the dream did this weird static shift thing, and kept replaying one scene.

That scene was of Matt’s boyfriend leaving, just the back of his head visible as he walked away, and then Heather hopping down from the trees to talk to Matt. She told him that his boyfriend was cheating on him, and the Beth was in love with him (Matt). She said that she didn’t care what he did about it, so long as he didn’t hurt Beth. He implied that she might love Beth, and she ridiculed him for making such a stupid suggestion (and was quite sincere).

The weird thing is, the things that she told him were backed up by other events I had seen in the dream. I saw the cheating, the fact that only Heather saw it happen and confirmed that it was more than a one-time deal, and that Beth and Matt were sort of star-crossed.

David and Careigh kept their minds on their jobs and their weirdness.

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Stream of consciousness

Sometimes when I open up 750 Words to write, I don’t know what I want to write. This can get so severe that I put off writing for much of the day. Usually I can think of something, but it’s always a little bit funny when I do.

Today I got started because I’m probably not going to have any time to write anything today. It’s my niece’s birthday party, and we have to drive out to West Jordan in ten or twenty minutes. You’d think I could have written about that, heh.

Instead, I wrote about this weird dream I had. It was bizarrely calm. Just these two guys talking about their love lives in the basement during a sort of personal apocalypse. One mistook the other for having a crush on one of the girls in their party, and upon learning that his friend had no romantic leanings towards anyone at that time, allowed himself to be coaxed into talking about his own failed relationship with one of the other girls with them.

Writing about it got me a much clearer, more interesting and rather wordy understanding of what had been ‘said’, and I decided that while I probably didn’t like this girl that they were talking about and did find the guy talking to be rather more appealing as a character, it wasn’t because of the topic the two guys were discussing. He wasn’t dumping on her, but I had a feeling I just didn’t like her.

What he said about her was that neither of them understood the other well enough to make a relationship work, and that she was the one who had broken it off, that she had given reasons he didn’t believe to be accurate but that he didn’t think she was lying about them. Just wrong in her assessment of what had gone wrong.

Anyway, yeah. I guess I like writing off the top of my head, but I don’t think it makes for very good fiction. Probably not very good blog posts either.

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Prose Roleplaying: No Need For Dream Sequences

When writing a prose RP, in email or a forum, wherever, that runs for a significant amount of time, there may come a time when a player’s character is rendered unconcious. This is most commonly either sleep (voluntary or not) or being knocked out by force. Blackouts are pretty much the same thing as the latter. But no matter how the character is incapacitated, or how appropriate to the RP’s events their change in consciousness is, it always has one rather major consequence: the person playing is momentarily out of the action as well.

This is absurd, when you think about it. The way that I have always seen people deal with it is by writing dream sequences, invariably to exposit the character’s tragic backstory. There’s really no need for this at all, an it can be pretty irritating to the other players, especially if the character in question has been harping on “tantalising hints” constantly.

It’s really lazy, and the failure to think of anything else just baffles me. There are tonnes of things that you could do instead, especially if you’re writing in third person. Write about how your PC feels about something relevant to the story. Talk about backstory in an upfront way, using a part of their backstory that isn’t meant to be a shocking reveal later. Take a step out of the character’s head and reflect, about anything.

Example:

Curled up in a corner of the big bed, Jamie slept on. Nathan had been missing since the second attack. If he had still been around, she would not have been able to rest so easily. Her companions were noble people, if a little strange, but they didn’t understand what he was capable of. She rolled over; her arm flopped up to cover her eyes.

No dream. And not necessarily backstory-dumping, if the business with Nathan is plot-relevant.

If you’re writing more than one character, it’s even easier. Just don’t write in Blank’s POV while he’s asleep. Use someone else’s.

In first person and only one PC in your hand, I can see why you’d think you have to do this. You still don’t and it’s still lazy and boring. You can write the character thinking in retrospect.

Example:

[After being knocked unconsious] I had never been good at this stuff. Fighting. I couldn’t even win a heated argument. Whatever had made me think I could go up against a guy with fists the size of Chrismas hams? A question that would go unanswered. If I was lucky.

Many people will tell you not to write dream sequences at all, ever. Myself included. They are clumsy, generally unwelcome to readers, and pointlessly lazy. But in roleplaying, no one seems to know that there is a different tactic. There is. I just talked about some.