Tuesday, October 2, 2018


I just woke up from a long, detailed 'plot-driven' dream where I was struggling with dropping out of medical school.

Did my dream scripts get mixed up last night or something? Like who writes this shit?

(I have never, ever considered going to medical school. This is literally...from the day I under stood what being a doctor entailed - sometime in senior year of high school - I knew I absolutely did not want to be a doctor, so this isn't some case where I am like dealing with some long repressed desires or current angst or anything like that)

And it's not like this dream was surreal or strange in any way. I was pretty much just going around campus, attending small classes, talking with people. There were three separate incidents where I bombed an assignment. I literally drank from a water fountain at one point (that was sort of funny because the water fountain was next to a computer or something and the librarian thought I was on the computer and she said something about how the computer was broken (but it was something technical and related to the computer - like 'the disk drive is broken' or something) and I tried to make a joke about how the water fountain was broken in the way the computer was broken and then AND THEN: she didn't hear me. And I had to repeat myself. I just want to point out, again, and for emphasis, how banal this dream was: I made a stupid joke and I had to repeat myself because I didn't say it loud enough the first time (probably because I knew how stupid it was).

Jesus. I need new dream writers or something.

I guess there was one cool part: At the end, after I had pretty much decided that I was going to drop out the next day I needed to finish up some task. So it was dark, and a little drizzly and I was walking around campus and I went to this very tall building on the medical campus. It had this high speed elevator, sort of like a pod. When it ran you could feel the g's pulling on you. And I went to what I  assume was the top floor which was this very futuristic, quiet, dark lab setting, and I laid these four or so glowing orange parallellograms into a pool. That was it. Then I descended the elevator and walked around a bit more. There was a research building which advertized that they were 'Verifying the claims of Apple 3.1' or something, which I wondered around in the dream but I guess it mean that apple set out these claims for one of their OS's and this research group was like checking these claims which I guess was a full time job and very important in that world.


I guess waking up from that dream made me think a bit about my writing. I guess it made me think about how some dreams, at least some of my dreams can be very plot driven or very impressionistic. I guess I find the impressionistic/feeling based ones way more compelling and interesting. The plot based ones are generally less so (though I mean here I am, writing at length about one of them at three am, but this is an exception, and most just because I am so amused at what the mind will do). And so it caused me to reassess the sort of writing that I want to do, which is impressionistic.

I guess if I could write a story that had no plot and no characters (and maybe even no setting, though I mean this in the sense of no formal setting, but with a great deal of 'setting' in the sense of atnosphere) I would be very happy. I feel like some stories can act like programs. literally analogous to computer programs, where the sequence of words can act like a set of rules that hit just the right keys or whatever in a person's mind and elicit a feeling.

I mean maybe I am conveying this in a strange way, but this should not really be that unusual. A banal example would be this: There is a man and a woman. They come to love each other to an a significant and unusually high degree. They marry and have a child. The child has some strong physical characteristics of the mother as well as natural mannerisms and traits that come from the mother. The mother dies in a tragic accident. The child is still so young when this happens that she never really forms any memories or conception of the mother. Now when the father sees characterists of the mother in the child he is reminded of the mother and how the child will never get to see herself in her mother. The father is made very sad by this.

So a story like this would engender a feeling of sadness in the reader. Of course you need to flesh out the story a great deal, with more plot and characters and so on to really make things pop, but in this case the heart of the story would be evoking that sense of sadness in the reader, trying to convey that sadness that the bereft widower felt every time he saw his child.

But can't we strip things bare and evoke even more abstract feelings?

I admit I haven't searched super hard online, but I am surprised I haven't ever heard mention of 'abstract fiction'. I mean i guess this is what poetry is: writing stripped away from its unnecessary bits. But what would abstract or impressionistic fiction be like, fiction that uses broad strokes or stripped away features in order to elicit a feeling?

What would be most interesting would be eliciting more abstract and complex feelings, ones that cannot be boiled down to just 'fear' 'joy' 'sadness'. We can experience such a wide, subtle range of feelings and there must be some that are rarely, if every, evoked by fiction.

Time to break new ground I guess.