Waking and Real Nightmares For All

Half of the year is gone now. There is nothing new to report here. Everything remains behind the scenes and moving at an excruciatingly slow pace.

I’ve been thinking about dreams and nightmares lately. They are great tools in and out of fiction–as usual of all types: books, scripts, video games, and role-playing games. One of the common feelings about horror and younger people that keeps coming out, and it was refreshed for me through a movie lately, is that horror movies and comics and the like give nightmares to these minors, and new to the genre people. My experience is that immersing in these stories allows people to have their nightmares while awake and then they can have not necessarily less–in number–while sleeping, but weaker nightmares. This is a push and pull, and I think as you take more in that it is more prevalent toward pull into the real world. You reach a point where your nightmares are hardly different than the movies you have seen. You’ve seen the horrors before and had time to deal with them.

The key difference though between these waking and sleeping nightmares is intimacy. You immerse yourself in the story in front of you to only a particular degree. You are always a tiny step away from being knocked out of it. For the most part you are a degree separate too because you are not the viewpoint character of the story. In your sleeping nightmares, even if you are not you in the dream, you cannot step out of that viewpoint. You are stuck in whatever situation with no escape, or no release, until such time that the nightmare ends or you awake out of it. You can’t put the book down or turn the movie off.

On a different but related note, I’ve also been considering some works with the idea that there may be no difference between a (sleeping) nightmare and reality where certain events are involved. Obviously this consideration is for fiction in that no one decides to believe some traumatic dream events are real for the fun of it. They either believe such a thing is possible, or that it is not, and they can even change their mind, but not on a lark. The basic premise is that an encounter with an extra-dimensional entity such as an alien, devil, or other, in a dream or nightmare is as real as if the encounter happened while you (the character in this case) were awake. It’s just an idea I’m toying with using. I also have some possession related ideas I’m considering writing into something.

Music: Coma by Guns N’ Roses.

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Silly Side Slipping Filler

I’ve been watching four hour swathes of entertainment in the same setting, many times multiple nights in the week. It’s like slipping into another world for a time.* It’s like living someone else’s life from the outside.** It’s an experience that cannot be duplicated in prose or even audio alone. That is partly due to pacing, but mostly due to being a medium of sight and sound, and imagination.***

I don’t have anywhere that I’m going with this. I just didn’t want to leave this timeslot empty. Work progresses on different fronts that I have previously mentioned, and sadly some other work has had to fall by the wayside. Until next time…

* No I don’t, nor can anyone in real life, leave this universe for another.
** No I don’t, nor can any human in real life, leave my/their body and possess another person, whether that person is in this universe or any other universe.
*** Apologies to Rod Serling.

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Your Own Private World

When I first started thinking about what I was going to write today I did not immediately see the connection to last week. Now I can’t help but see it. I was watching a video last night about wearable cameras, augmented reality, and the future. A cyberpunk novel came up in the conversation involving select people who had access to an augmented reality layer that applied itself to a specific location. To the uninitiated it was a mostly empty room. To the wired there was something there, and of course to the in the know, the permitted, there was more yet.

I’m going to leave you with some homework of sorts. If you are interested in the intersection of what I said above and what was posted last week then I have to views of an article titled “When ‘Mad Men’ Meets Augmented Reality”. The first is from WraithStop(TM)… http://www.batteredspleenproductions.com/wraithstop/2009-11-17-17.htm#01nov17-2009 and the second from TechStop(TM)… http://www.batteredspleenproductions.com/rmtp/techstop/2009-9-3-24.htm#01sep24-2009

You may also want to check out the TechStop(TM) tag page for… http://www.batteredspleenproductions.com/rmtp/techstop/reality.php

Music: Gates of Tomorrow by Iron Maiden.

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Circles and Cycles Versus More

Things circle around, coming back over and over. Sometimes it is by design, other times it is by happenstance. Whether it’s a trend, your own targeted awareness, general popularity or an alarming increase in occurrences is debatable. When it comes to the online world one of the new blames is filter bubbles driven by social data sources. What are those you say? You go on a social network like Facebook. You connect up with friends with similar interests, similar views. They post similar items and share them around. They dislike the same things so those items never come up. You see more and more of the same until someone breaks the cycle, or if you have varied interests and friends in each groups. Then along comes the smart software that scores or rates what it thinks you will find interesting based on what you tell it you like and don’t like. It refines what you see and then you end up with even more of the same, and certainly not anything different, or so the fear goes–it’s not necessarily unfounded until the people creating the filters (algorithms) make them so that not too much of what you might want to see, but didn’t know about, doesn’t disappear.

One aspect of all of this is the aforementioned lack of ability to know if something is becoming more prevalent or just more reported. Put a different way, it can be hard to differentiate between a real increase in the number of events per population (whether that is population of people or of articles/ideas) or just that with a larger group there will naturally be more instances.

So what is the point of all of this? It’s part general observation based on particular articles, news stories, and subjects that I keep seeing crop up. Partly I don’t have a specific point right now other than to throw this out there as something to consider both when reading and when writing.

Music: Incense and Peppermints by Strawberry Alarm Clock.

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Changing Vision

Let’s talk about changes. I’ve mentioned before an odd desire to make collectible card style games–though I don’t like the collectible bit in the sense of some cards being astronomically priced or hard to get a hold of. I may or may not have mentioned comics. I’ve been kicking that idea around for as long as the cards. Both of these require visual art components. It’s no secret that I have an online gallery of art (Macabre Male’s Grotesquerie http://www.macabremale.com ) that I have been adding to over the years. The consistent element between cards and comics and writing books is providing entertainment revolving around story. Characterisation, plot, and the depiction of emotion through a fictional framework–from character emotions to situation moods and less tangible feelings inherent in a milieu–are what I think drive me. The tiny dabbling I’ve done in musical scores is in a similar vein.

As much as there is a greater satisfaction in fiction writing, especially the long form, I will be leaning more heavily in the art direction this year. Tight finances are a big part of this. Timing ties in directly to the money aspects. A piece of art is a snapshot of a piece of a story, and since there is much less connective tissue between one piece and the next even in a series that tells a tale, the creation time is less. There are some issues involved that having nothing to do with creating the art that I need to sort out. One of them certainly is dealing with censors. There is a sales site I have been eyeing, but they seem uneven in their treatment of what images can be sold. Another site seems better but isn’t free like the more conservative one. I do not intend to pursue as dark or as graphic art as I do fiction, but still it is a consideration.

I do not intend to do away with any of my blogs. I want to discuss the same sort of topics here as always, but the posts may be more about the snapshot-style of story elements, and the artistic markets and the considerations with dealing with them, in addition to the writing market-speak that has occasionally come up here. I may tie more things back and forth between here and Learning Dark Arts ( http://www.batteredspleenproductions.com/darkarts/index.htm ), my blog for talking about art–frequently from the point of view of the software that I use to make my art. We shall see what future posts hold as they come out of my head and into my typing fingers.

Music: Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.) by Motley Crue.

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2012 Quick-Busts a Move

Hello and welcome to 2012. Welcome to the future, right now. Will this be the final year for all of us? I seriously doubt it. Normally I would begin with a look back. There is no time for that. It’s onward and upward. There is no time for lollygagging. It’s the 20th of January already. It’s Friday, which means there is nothing to post anywhere on my sites until Monday again. Next Saturday I will re-ignite On Dark Rhoads(TM), but it will no longer be called that. I knew from the first post that I would be changing the name sooner rather than later. In the interest of surprise I will not tell you the new name or what changes there will be. You will not want to miss any of it if you even marginally liked On Dark. One thing I can say it is still will be Joshua Rhoads telling his story as it unfolds around him. I guess I can also tell you it will get darker and more frightening. It pretty much has to do that given just a fraction of what I have in store.

Cheers, and let’s make 2012 everything the previous year was and way more.

Music: She Makes Me by Queen.

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The Year in the Rear-view

The first half of the year was quite outwardly productive with the release of the third year of Killing Time – Horror E-Rag(TM) issues. Then after that things quieted down. Killing Time’s fourth year will not begin this year (2011). At this point I have no expectation of when it will happen. I won’t get people’s hopes up. It will arrive when it does or it won’t at all. I have not worked any further on the serial story and I will not begin a new year of issues without that done completely in first draft this time. I will also have to do most of the short story work first. I’m keeping the submissions page open at Battered Spleen Productions(TM), but it’s all a chicken and egg process where I don’t count on submissions until the certainty of the E-Rag is resolved. I do not expect it would be any different even if I offered to pay a pro rate. That’s the way these things go. Time will tell.

R.G. Male’s Dark Corners made its transition to it’s new home. There are still miles to go before I sleep on that one but it’s been a mostly smooth transition. It was a fine year over at Learning Dark Arts. I created a number of tutorials. I posted throughout the month of October during Dark Corner’s “13 Nights of Hallowe’en” rather than taking October off entirely there. I made a fair number of images this year not even counting the ones from Killing Time. The big event of the year was On Dark Rhoads(TM). It burst onto the scene in April and ran almost every Saturday until December 3rd. It had a great run and you won’t want to miss what’s going to happen when it returns in January.

Okay. That is all I have. I wish everyone a Happy December/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Solstice/Yule or a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. See you in 2012!

Music: A Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives.

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