Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Dream Inspiration

I had a dream.

I was in a large, old building in London. The sort of building you see in the movies, that are owned by the rich, or possibly even a gentleman's club. I remember going through to the kitchen, and someone I recognised offered me a piece of chocolate cake. It was a huge chocolate cake, with white icing, but it was balanced on a breadboard on top of the washing up. As I turned to rescue it, it sank into the washing up water, and I ended up scooping it up in my hands and throwing it into the bin.

Poster for Peter Dinklage's movie,
(available now on Google Play)
I returned to the main sitting room of the "club" and Peter Dinklage and Al Pacino were there, discussing their film work. I sat at the table wanting to join in with the conversation, when a tall, skinny guy came up to me and asked who I was. He kept asking me strange questions, but I was frustrated because he didn't listen to any of my answers - he was just waiting for a space to talk to me about his project.

However, his project was a book. He handed me a copy and told me to have a look. It was large, like a phone book, and I started trying to read it. It was full of pretentious language and made little sense, but the further through the book I got, the more illustrations appeared. It became almost half graphic novel, half book, with individual words in different colours. Some of the images moved, parts we orientated differently.

I asked if he'd been influenced by "House of Leaves", and I closed the book. He pretentiously called it a Bible, but I recognised the cover from one of the advance catalogues I'd used at work.

I woke inspired.


But what to do with this information?

This is obviously my subconscious trying to tell me that I like the idea I'd already had for how I want the book to look. But who was the person telling me about his book in my dream? I seem to remember him looking a lot like Tony Hale from Arrested Development, but I haven't watched that in many years.

And why were Al Pacino and Peter Dinklage there? Maybe it's a subconscious thing again, knowing that Dinklage is in a movie I'm about to watch ("Rememory") that uses a headset device to access the memories of people... a sort of murder mystery type thing. Al Pacino? Maybe that's from Insomnia, and the video documentary I was watching about Christopher Nolan films?

They say you never dream of a face you haven't seen.

What should I do with this new knowledge? Go with it? Know that I'm on the right track?

Dreams can be quite an inspiration. There's always the legend of various scientists and artists waking from their dreams with ideas for formulas, works of art or songs, perfectly formed and them leaping to desperately note their ideas before they vanish.

Hell, going back to David Lynch (see previous post), one of the great inspirations for my creative life for many years. He uses dreams to inspire and even "catches the big fish" - that is, finds the inspiration and the ideas by swimming the great lake of the collective unconscious through transcendental meditation.

If my dreams are telling me that I'm on the right track, I just hope they give me ideas that I can use.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Never mind the quality, feel the width...

Just a quickie to say that there have been some minor cosmetic changes to the blog. It was annoying me that the actual area the text filled on the blog was tiny compared to the background. Recently, Blogger has added a way to adjust the width of elements, and I've done a little tweaking.

So, if you look at any of the older posts on here (after all, this is my 252nd post on here) and the pictures, and the runaround of the text around the pictures, seems a little weird, it's because I've changed the width. I've corrected a host of the major posts, like the Harry Potter ones, and the RPGaDAY posts, but some of the older ones may not flow perfectly.

Sorry! Hope you think the site looks better for it!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

We Live Inside a Dream

I mentioned in a post a while back that I was a huge fan of Twin Peaks (and David Lynch in general). I really wanted to write a post on here about the finale of the third season of Twin Peaks, or Twin Peaks: The Return as it's often called. But where to begin?

I LOVE the unexpected. Anything that avoids that moment when you go "Ah, I can see what's going to happen" is great in my book. I love to be surprised by TV and movies, to not see the same old plots and tropes. Twin Peaks is far from predictable. Where the first couple of series were a soap opera / murder mystery with some paranormal elements, the third / return series has been full-on David Lynch.

My old post was just after watching the first two episodes and I was already hooked and thrilled. It did everything I wanted - it introduced new characters, a new murder mystery, addressed some of the Cooper elements with the Black Lodge and the doppelgänger, and had some stand out weird elements.

But nothing prepared me for the now legendary Episode 8 (aka "Gotta Light?") where, after a brief period of relatively normal narrative, we are treated to a live performance by my favourite band ever (Nine Inch Nails), then 45mins of strange black and white sequences with the nuclear explosion at Trinity, the birth of BOB from the "Mother", the Fireman sending a golden orb of Laura Palmer into the desert, strange frog-legged bugs crawling into the mouth of a young girl as she sleeps, and various woodsmen breaking into our reality and killing people.

The birth of BOB in Episode 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return

That was the moment I had an epiphany. Twin Peaks had a message for me.

"Do whatever you like. Don't try to please everyone, just create."

Do you think David Lynch, when he was coming up with that episode, thought "I really shouldn't do this, people won't get it." I know Mark Frost co-wrote this series, but there's so much Lynch in this episode - so much Eraserhead and his wacky b/w art-movie feel - that I don't think Frost got much of an input on this one.

But it really did make me think that I should stop worrying about what I'm writing, and just get it out there. Not everyone is going to like it, but someone will. Maybe just one person who's as nuts as me.

Then came Episode 14, aka "We are like the Dreamer". Like Lynch, I'm fascinated by dreams. I wish I could do the transcendental meditation where he catches his big fish. But if you've followed my game writing, especially for WILD and what I've been trying to do for the last six years with it, you'll understand. When Episode 14 started and Gordon Cole (played by David Lynch) says that he had "another Monica Bellucci dream" and we see the strangeness that unlocks a memory of his encounter with Philip Jeffries (the late, great David Bowie) back in the movie Fire Walk With Me - you'll know I was squirming and giggling with delight.

The ever amazing Monica Bellucci - subject of Gordon Cole's dreams...

"We are like the dreamer, who dreams, and then lives inside the dream. But who is the dreamer?"

The finale was shown as two episodes (17 & 18). Everything was perfectly wrapped up in Episode 17 pretty early on - evil Cooper doppelgänger (Mr. C) had been dispatched, the BOB inside was punched into oblivion, and then it all gets REALLY weird. With a close up of Cooper's face superimposed over a lot of the scene, Cooper foreshadows what he intends to do - "There are some things that will change. The past dictates the future." But the superimposed face of Cooper reminds us - "We live inside a dream."

While Cooper travels back to the night Laura Palmer died, he tries to intervene and stop her murder. We see scenes from the first ever episode, as if Laura was never found "wrapped in plastic". But she vanishes when Cooper tries to lead her home and Cooper leaves the Lodge to be greeted by Diane. They set off to travel into another reality to save Laura. It all gets even weirder as the final eighteenth episode progresses with changes of personality, of name, of reality. All culminating in a final scene that will resonate in TV history and spark even more debate than "How's Annie?" ever did twenty six years ago...

"What year is it?"

Twenty six years ago I was just as obsessed with Twin Peaks. As I mentioned in my previous post, I recorded them all off of BBC2, and analysed them as much as my younger brain could. When I had to present a project for my graphic design course (the project was to explain something to someone) I foolishly picked Twin Peaks.

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a photo I took of the project, trying to make a relationship map with all of the characters from the original two series.

Photo of my Twin Peaks relationship map project from 1992

It's not very good, and I didn't have the internet to check all of the relationships, but it does show how completely and utterly obsessed I was with the series back then. I hope it raises a smile at least!

Now, with the finale out of the way, it still inspires me. There are huge elements that tie in with what I've been writing - dreamlike narratives, the strange seeping into reality, tulpas, etc. I'm looking forward to a rewatch of all 18 hours (though it may be a bit mindblowing to do it in one sitting).

All I can really say at the end of all of this is a huge thank you to Mark Frost and David Lynch. For letting us into their world, and telling us that it's okay to be inspired by our dreams. And thank you to everyone involved with the series. For challenging what a TV series can be and getting everyone talking and thinking.

Please don't leave us wanting for another twenty five years!