Thursday, February 14, 2013

Eight View of Dreams

Where do dreams come from?

Do they sneak up upon us when we rest our anxious minds? Do they sneak in and play on the idle machinery like children in a construction site, building mountains of sand and pebbles that fall apart by the next morning? I think they are the stray bits and curious thoughts of people who cannot care for them. People whose lives are too serious, and maybe they have the dreams that others are far too silly to concentrate on. I think they are rejected thoughts trying to find a home.

Dreams could be bits of the future, swimming against the gradual flow of time and entropy to lay eggs of wild thoughts in our resting heads. They could wither and die as their strange goals are met. Perhaps our regrets from times that have yet to happen flock to us when we sleep and try to push us towards a future wherein they cannot live. Would that make them suicidal? We may never know.

What if I told you that dreams were parasites. Purely conceptual creatures that grazed upon the left-over observations that we had not stored into our memory properly at the end of the day. They follow the moon as it circles the earth, much as fish follow the tides to feeding zones. Great hundreds of dreams might roam through your head each night and nibble at your head. Sometimes one or two will get trapped when they leave, crushed to death within the pages of your memory, and those are the ones you remember. They will have some of your thoughts left within them, but they will have the undigested observations of many, many more.

Dreams are mirrors of yourself, but actual living mirrors. Dressed in fantastically ornate clothing and perfect mirrored faces, they act out pantomimes of what your life could be. Like all mirrors, they are slightly warped and exaggerated. They describe your deepest fears, wildest fantasies and act out your most abstract thoughts. They regularly compete against and visit other dream actors when you are awake, and sometimes hold vast parties during certain cycles of the moon. This is why people go mad when they sleep under the full moon: their mirrors all leave and are replaced by those of others.

Dreams are actually the bits of fluff the fall off of great interdimensional beasts as they travel between strange stars. They are experiences that transcend our eight senses and have to fold into complex and disorienting shapes so that we can see them fully. We substitute the multifaceted eyes and rippling tentacles with familiar faces, and the howling void with fanciful locales. We go mad each night trying so desperately trying to reason with the unreasonable and understand the unknowable that we forget most of what we have seen and only remember what little we could comprehend. Perhaps our nightmares are just us seeing things more clearly.

I once heard a story that dreams are television signals from a parallel world. They leak in through the fabric of reality and catch us when we are most vulnerable. We are watching the soap operas and dramas of a million different worlds just like our own. Sometimes signals mix, and sometimes we get interference from the signals from our own world. It is difficult to say which and where any of them came from, or how their humor and culture could possibly differ from our own, but that may be.

In the beginning of the world, a great spider wove the night sky in place to keep out the sun at night. From the holes of the sky, we have the stars. Each strand is wound so tight that when the sky moves, it produces a note. Each strand is so long, and their notes so low, that we cannot hear them sing to us. At least, we cannot hear them when we are awake. Each song that they sing filters in with the starlight and fills our ears and sleeping minds with a beautiful, haunting song. These are interpreted in a million different ways, and each person may hear a different song from the same notes. That is why we dream.

Dreams are nothing more that our brains recycling information that they have processed during the day. As they shuffle short term memory into the long term, they reactivate the pathways that were used during the waking hours so that they can be transcribed into the long term. Each time you remember something, you are only remembering the last time that you remembered it. The older the memory, the more daisy-chained it has become, but what this means is that everything that we remember we have remembered in a dream. Dreams are our way of establishing memories. What we remember, we dream, and what we dream, we remember.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What? He's posting again?

Hey there,

It's been a odd little while. I know that I should write more in here, but I've been up to my ears in grad school stuff and I can't in good conscience keep this up when I'm suppose to be planning out the next few years of my life. (It is really weird to realize that the stuff I'm doing right now will be determining what and where I will be doing stuff for the next few years. That's always the case though.)

Senior year right? It's the point where everything comes to a close somewhat. I've got two last fencing tournaments as a college kid. (There is no way in the seven hells that I'll travel for fencing in grad school. They can't make me.) Then I give up my squad to the kids I've been helping raise for four years. It's an odd feeling that I really am not use to. I'm trying to plan who will be in charge and who will support them, but it's really futile trying to plan stuff that will happen naturally. They will be fine (I hope) and there is nothing new that I can really do, other than what I have been doing.

I know my lab managers are starting to realize that I'm not going to be around for much longer. They're trying to get me to teach the younger kids how to properly do my job. (Which is a lot. I've been working there for almost four years, and I can single-handedly run the general lab stuff if I need to, which is no small feat. Also really exhausting.) They've got a few good kids, but research labs are always places of high turnovers. Between the grad students, the undergrads, and the post-docs, there is really very little staff that has the intention of staying there for more than a few years. It's a weird feeling that there will only be two people left working in the lab that were there before me when I leave. Strange feelings.

Finally, one thing that I can actually start doing again is writing. You guys probably don't read this for my opinions on the fencing community (of which I'm effectively just some kid in the backwaters of the country) or the research community (of which I am just a mouth-breathing undergrad aspiring greatness), but maybe you guys are here for the writing and my charming personality? I thought not, but I will pretend that's the reason. I've done some dialog and some setting description, but I've only just started drafting stuff again. Which of course comes down the the great topic of anxiety and strife for me around this time of year: Clarion.

Two stories, a few things about myself, and a hope or prayer that will whisk me off to California for a summer of highly intensive and formative short story drafting. It's an odd thought that I might be able to do it this time. Second year of applying, but that's nothing when I talk to people that tried futilely for six years to get in only to suddenly break through. I've got Socks, one story from last time I tried applying, published and am very proud of her. My other story from last years submission has been around the stocks a few times with little success, and though I love it dearly I think that I will try something new. I've got a short little 800 word prompt that I think has a lot of potential... I just have to expand it to a normal length and make sure it's not too complex.

That is mostly my goal for the rest of the month: polish this story until it shines. I think that it is a reasonable goal and I think it will move smoothly. I'll also polish some other drafts and take them out to a few markets while I'm waiting for Clarion to get back to me. Tell you guys what, if I have any stubs or starts that just aren't clicking for larger work but I still like them, I'll post them for your enjoyment. I've got a few NaNoWriMo things that never quite got off the ground and would be fun to post, but we'll see.

For the moment: Clarion.
All other things come second, at least for the month.

Good talking to you guys again.
I'll see you around some time, but I wouldn't be too surprised if I get all worked up into whatever project I've holed myself into.