Monday, March 25, 2019

I Had Far Too Much to Dream That Night...

The other day I woke in a rather interesting dream. I say "in" and not "from" for a reason. I admit, it was kind of fun. Though some wouldn't have seen it that way at all. I am a horror and sci fi, and speculative fiction writer and screenwriter.

But this tale, is 100% true. It happened. And it was disturbing.

Also true is that since I first studied screenwriting at university, by the time I graduated my dreams had changed, had become much more cohesive, more linear, more interesting and much more affecting. At times scarier, and definitely with more impact.

This recent dream was reinforced by a couple of things from the night before. One being a sinus headache, so my grounding, in reality, was, pain. I've found that pain really enhances a nightmare. It was probably from a bit of a hangover in having had a good time and a few Hale's Supergoose ales at Bremerton's Hale's Barrelhouse up the street from home with some friends.

My other thing was immobility, sleep paralysis. A normal function of sleep. Unless you wake up during it. Which has terrified human beings from the beginning of time, and has led to beliefs in all kinds of bizarre things. Including religious beliefs. Demonic beliefs. And fears in a variety of areas.

Over Bremerton by JZ Murdock
It became all mixed up. I was dreaming, I was sleeping, I was waking. It was actually time for me to wake up. But not in the dream. Where it was the middle or early part of my sleep period. I was in bed too, in that dream, Where I was thinking in my dream about ethereal monsters in my attic. I was thinking I was dreaming, and dreaming I was thinking, in my dream. Yeah. Like that.

There was a feeling of others in the dream house being fearful of whatever it was in the attic. As for me, I was concerned about it, but wasn't afraid enough to not go to sleep. Though deep down, there was a kind of terror in my psyche, about it.

The dream was also continuing in some form from a previous dream, and I think some of the set up in my mind was being generated in the moment as this dream, or part of this dream, kicked into play. I know, this wasn't your normal dream. Or maybe it's just me in general. And I will not argue with you about that.
Above my bed was a ceiling light of a type where there is a dark space around the actual light. I felt I could see up into the attic when usually these are set in cylinders that seal off the room from the attic. In reality, I was lying in my bed in my dream, staring at that dark spot around the turned off light, expecting to see something move, something...horrific. I did not, however, see that. Not at all.

I then realized something took hold of my entire body as I was frozen in place, unable to move. In my slowly waking mind, juxtaposed with this dream, this nightmare, quite on the edge of a night terror, I could recognize that I was most likely waking up and in that frozen stage of sleep which is the thing of fear and mythology, as I said previously, throughout human history.

photo by JZ Murdock
I was teetering on the edge of dream and reality. Ruminating on that very same thing, within the dream state. The hope being that this was just that, a dream on the edge of waking.

Yet deep down I had this fear of the "monster in the attic". The Demon. The Terror.

I told myself, "This is a dream. Of course, you can't move because it is a natural condition of a stage of sleep. Nothing to worry about. Enjoy the ride!"

Still, deeper inside? There was the child within me. Bordering on terror. I could "see" a monster watching me from the attic, in my mind's eye. But I leaned into the fear. Then back out into reality.

Still, I could not move.

Then it happened. The fear I had been pushing down, a fear that something would happen to shift my safety out of reality, from it being "just a dream", to it being real and solid so that I was wrong, and this was not just a dream. Not by any means.

The hole and the light above me... shifted. As if in a cartoon, the light fixture, the access hole to the attic, with the terror beyond living beyond it, moved, smoothly, slowly, along the ceiling,

I noticed a sound, seemingly drifting down, coming from the attic above the ceiling. It sounded like a mosquito. A very large mosquito. A buzzing. But lower, slower as it moved across the ceiling.

As it started at the center of the ceiling, it had moved to the wall. It then began to slide down the wall. I could see it. But still, I could not move. I tried to shift my shoulders. But nothing happened.

I was grinning inside, somewhere. Thinking to myself, about what a roller coaster ride this nightmare was turning into. But also at a more primal state within, I was considering, "what if this wasn't a dream after all?"

What if, I may actually about to be attacked? Killed? Or worse?

I waited for the hole to stop sliding down the wall. What else could I do? I knew absolutely, that when it stopped, something was going to be coming out of that hole. Somehow. If it could do this unreal behavior, surely something large and terrible could come out of that tiny orifice?

The closer the hole got to the center of the side wall next to the bed, the more the immediacy of my need to escape became. I started to struggle, to force control of my body to return. I went through this for what seemed like forever. Struggling for control. Freezing for a moment, watching that cursed moving hole. Then struggling again.

I thought, if or when the hole stopped, surely nothing would happen. It was, after all, "just a dream." My entire belief system shifted then, knowing that once that hole stopped, that it was POSSIBLE, quite possible that I would be indeed be attacked! Maimed! Killed! Or worse! I contemplated what could be worse....

Then I relaxed. I tried to force my belief that I was safe, mere in a dream. But the possibility of being wrong leaped up into my throat and grabbed me!

Did I really want to take that risk? Chance that this was just "a silly thing"? Flashbacks to others within the dream's pre-dream, those unknowns who were so terrified of the reality of what was in the attic and my own proof now that they were correct and it would be my miserable demise. A heavyweight of fear filled the room, crushing me in my bed, in my mind.

Graphic from The Unwritten novella, by JZ Murdock

Finally, I just went for it. Moving side to side, I tried to lift my arms, from the shoulders, using my body as my arms were immobile. I kept it up until I could move. I broke through the other side...I opened my eyes and...I was surprised to find the ceiling light above me. In reality. But it was an entirely different kind of light fixture, proving quite clearly that it had all been, just a dream.

I lie there for a few moments. Internally grinning at myself. At my foolishness. Telling myself, "See? All along you fool? It was... just a dream."

What a way to wake up, to start my day. What could possibly go wrong, or worse, than that? Through the entirety of this bright new day? I thought this through the relief of reality and the pain of my sinus headache. A throbbing I did not mind much as it helped me to wake, to distance myself from what had seemed so very real. Even as it seemed such a nightmare.

And my next thought? That I should write this experience up.

And so, here we are.

Hi! I hope you have a great and pleasant day!

Cheers! I'm so very happy to be here, now.

#horror #dream #nightmare #nightterror #macabre #sleep #sleepparalysis #fiction #murder #monster #EAPoe #Poe #unReality

Monday, March 18, 2019

A Defectively Conservative Status Quo

If you think you're a "Conservative" you then have to ask yourself, are you for conserving resources, or the status quo? Because they are not one in the same. And resources doesn't just mean water, the environment, etc.

Def of Conservative: 1. "Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change."

First of all, tending to oppose change is nuts. But ignoring that for now....

In a way it really doesn't matter which you are for because to do either effectively typically requires not only being a progressive, (or some use the more derogatory term, liberal) but also evoking change. To spout a couple of pleasing platitudes, "the one thing after all that never changes is change itself". One could say that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results."

If in order to maintain things as they are in an ever-changing environment, like the world we live in, if it requires you to do the same thing over and over again, you yourself would then evoke change and thus cut yourself off from your own desires as to what you believe you stand for. Confusing? Counter intuitive? Maybe. That's in part what confuses most conservative mindsets.

It also leaves the rest of us as we are now, wondering just what in the Hell it is you are trying to do. Because you are saying one thing and doing something else. Yes, it looks like you are doing the same as always, but it's not bringing about the same change. Look at the current state of the GOP. They're useless at this point and have been for some time now. Longer than you would think, actually. There may be some outside influences. Russian come to mind. Greed and capitalism also.

This is the primary reason there is such a problem with Conservatives, today. What they are trying to be and to do are counter-intuitive and typically they have trouble thinking in that way. Because it's hard and it's complicated, two things diametrically opposed to what they want their world to be.

We have got to be more than we are being. To think better, more, more out of the box, more...creatively. More, progressively. For some dullards? Yes, more liberally. But more intelligently, also.

What have YOU done each day, in a creative or artistic way? I'm not talking about a poem, or painting a picture. I'm talking about your job, your day, your rut, if you will.

IF we all paid attention to acting more creative, more artistic, incorporating that into our lives, actions and thoughts, I suspect this would be a far better world for us all. It would bring more creative solutions to our lives. More, functional solutions.

You don't even have to actually DO anything creative.

Just start building those muscles to be and think in creative, and artistic ways of thinking.

This corporate form of thought we have allowed ourselves to be lulled into for so very long now, at times beaten down into, before any of us were even alive, has dulled us as thinking beings and as a nation.

A conservative knee jerk reaction would be to question not using "tried and true" methodologies. There is some truth in that. But to use them intelligently, even creatively. To apply them again, when they have already failed, especially to claim they haven't failed, when they have, is lunacy.


Some new technologies have even aided us in this. They have seen this, the crippling effects of corporations on people and have tried to be creative in their endeavors.

Things like "Don't be evil" a motto used within Google's corporate code of conduct.

But we need more and today with there being no money for anyone, unless you're rich (where's all that money?), where people need two, three or more jobs just to make do? We need creativity, we need even artistic solutions.

Not art or creativity for it's own sake to use up more money for "pretty", but for productive forward momentum, for real-world solutions and not just the same old fast, cheap, profit, profit, profit thinking...corporate thinking, which also includes showering CEO types with millions, or billions that should really be going elsewhere.

Don't think conservatively. Don't think like a corporation, like a brain dead capitalist dedicated only to profit and not humanity. Wisdom is knowledge and experience, not just what has been done, and so we need to think no more.

Be creative. Be productive. But do it not just for your boss, your corporation, your job, rather for yourselves (not just, yourSELF), for your group, OUR country, and humanity at large. And yes, even for those who do not look or sound or act like you.

Yes, even for your "enemies" and for conservatives, because in our actions here and now, in thinking in new ways, they may one day become our friends.

One can only hope.

Creative thinking
A word of caution: There are many ways to use creative thinking. Find the ones that best fit the structure of your brain/mind structure. But test to be sure it's the most effective it can be. Do not fall into the logic traps and dead ends we see so much in society today.

Monday, March 11, 2019

American Zeitgeist and White House Lies

I'm feeling emotionally shaken inside right now. No, not about a movie. But kind of.

I was watching the director's cut on Netflix of Fair Game about when the Bush white house outed a CIA officer, Valerie Plame and tried to destroy her husband Joe Wilson. Because Joe spoke the truth and they wanted to destroy him, through attack his wife. A CIA officer of distinction. They slandered them both. This is well-documented int heir books, both of which I recommend reading. Note that it was a Republican administration who did this.

Valerie Plame and husband, Joe Wilson
I've seen this film three times now. I've read both their books long ago. I have for decades had an understanding of the processes and history of covert ops related to American, British, Russian and world history as well as related to this particular and disgusting situation.

There is a scene where Joe and Valerie are arguing and she wants him to stop because he's considering going up against the White House. Because it is the right thing to do.

Played by actors Naomi Watts and Sean Penn
In the heat of their argument, he asks her if he shouts louder than her, does that make him right? If the White House shouts a million times louder than him, does that make them right?

Then he says the words that shook me...

"They lied, Valerie. They lied!"

The White House ... lied. Once. One lie. Many small lies really that led to one big one...the Iraq War. And 100,000s of dead. A region destabilized. And many more bad decisions in the aftermath all because... no one planned for what to do once Iraq was defeated.

It was a war where the George W. Bush White House forced our intelligence community into finding intel that would support exactly what they wanted to do. Intel, that simply didn't exist. Some of that intel that Joe Wilson tried to tell the administration and the country, simply did not exist.

Some in our intelligence community also refused and were replaced with those who wouldn't.

Until they found someone in the Middle East who would supply the lies needed to give the White House, exactly what they wanted. That, along with other disinformation and...

It was all a lie. A very big lie.

And yet, I compare that lie and those times to today with a Donald J Trump administration and a collusive GOP. A Republican party and theirs in Congress who have turned too often, a blind eye toward what a president has done, is doing and plans to continue doing.

And so I feel now that that lie, those lies, during the Bush administration were somehow... quaint.

Almost refreshing in their level of at least attempting to appear "honest".

And it was that, which shook me to my very core.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Communicating With Others

We are human beings. We are social creatures. We are structured by language. We invented language but it has also changed us. Language, has meaning. Against all that is surmised and presented by all pundits especially conservative Republican types, with their thrashing efforts in trying to take power, even illiberally, even illegally, or to retain it once achieved and against all reasonable efforts, actually has meaning.

Every word has a different meaning or connotation. Sometimes it requires etymology to divine that. In some languages, differing utterances have different meanings by the same word but in various situations and connotations.

Words strung together are known as phrases and phrases strung together are known as sentences.
Sentences make paragraphs. Paragraphs make speeches, stories and articles, and books. These are all placeholders or symbols for the things and actions they refer to.

To re-summarize. words have meaning.

We all need to be responsible to and for our language, the language we use or abuse. We need to understand what we say to others. Their meanings to us and to them.

Now, bear with me a moment as I take a massive tangent... for some.

Communication is a two-way street.

Using language, is what? Words having different meanings, uttered in certain ways in certain situations, having various connotations. When you speak to someone, it is indeed their responsibility to at least TRY to understand you, your meanings, your references and the bigger (and smaller) "pictures" or references.

But, it is also our responsibility to speak clearly, succinctly, and to gauge our conversant's ability and orientation in order for our words to convey to them the meanings one is trying to convey.

As a society, we have lost track of this. Pretty much, all of it. Social media has not helped in this. Or one could say, it has helped far too much and inthe wrong directions.

Stop it.

Start it back up again. This is WHY traditionally, people had all through history a common set of educational agendas and goals. So we could all understand one another through a commonality of understanding of the world, and the universe.

Diversity is great.

Yet I'm concerned that in our seeking diversity (which is in some extent about human boredom, thrill-seeking, and a lack of a well understood and practiced skills to maintain and track concepts and related information and associated details)...we have lost our ability to properly communicate. Social and international media have really punctuated this issue even further.

What proof is there to this? Look around. See? This is in part my point. Not literally looking around you. But figuratively. Using your mind to consider the issues presented here. See (or "see") how this is true.

The problem I'm relating here is not just about words having meaning, but that we need to be able to understand when they are used in various ways outside of their meaning and in context. Symbols (letters, numbers, etc.), words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, etc. Taken as a whole, we have human behavior deeply involved in the communication of these things. In conflating our individual intelligence and knowledge some have become verbally and logically sloppy in order to look more than they are. It has even become standard with many. Too many.

Think, paragraphs. AND paragraphics. The use of mental diagrams in calculation and design, in consideration of these symbols, these words and their phrases and so on.

So that now when someone communicates to you, hopefully with you, there is less misunderstanding between you. When someone says something to you, are you seeing the explicit meaning and intent? Are you also seeing its abstract references? Its associated elements, historical, sociological, psychological, eschatological, and so on?

Considerations that should take only a brief instant. Typically? No. In daily life, we do not tend to see these things and we have become more and more superficial with our ever-shortening attention spans. And desire to seem more informed and succinct than we may be.

That is why we used to have in our "classical education", similarities in all we learned. But at some point, it bored us and we turned against that concept. Both a good and a bad thing.

Vastly different education, education across cultures and so on, are great. As long as we still have an understanding of what is a similar orientation to go from. To allow us to accurately communicate.

We are and have been dumbing down our education in a 19th century way as if we merely wished to educate only factory workers whose only need is to understand orders on the factory line.

Intercultural (communication) competance
Yet, the world is far more diverse now. And so we are today misunderstanding one another on a massive scale. Some who understand this, or perhaps do not well understand it, but can see what is happening, have found ways to profit off of it. The media for one. Conservative agendas to name another. Authoritarian agendas yet others.

Politicians have always known of this at least somewhat, functionally speaking.

This may all be a lot to take on. It's a lot to consider, to... alleviate. But awareness of it is a start.

For years in the first part of my life, I found it was hard to understand people around me. I was extremely well read and they, for the most part, were not. I found at times when they spoke, it was like listening to someone speak a foreign language. Their speech left so much open-ended that it was hard to tell what they were talking about. In asking questions to try to narrow down their meaning and intent, I got a lot of...

"Are you stupid?"

Was I? I grew up thinking I was. Was I stupid because they didn't understand all the reference they were invoking in their open-ended speech because they were ignorant of them? It was a case of the more you know, the less you understand. It was to say the least, awkward. And dysfunctional.

What I said tended to be very clear. I would sometimes respond to them mirroing what they said and they would simply agree. So I would try explaining what they had said, as I saw it, and pointing out how what they had said was open-ended. They would start to go glassy-eyed, fading on me. Some in realizing what I was saying would get irritated and try to move on from the topic. I found with time it was useless. It was simply up to me to try to understand them, from and in (their) context.

Their context and not just the meaning of the words they used and how they ordered them. Because at times they were saying the opposite of what they meant, yet the context could make that clear. To take them in the context they were seeing from in their limited and relational experiences and to try to experience that in the same way and try to share that with them in return, to convey it back productively to them.

It was a nightmare at first. One that seemed to me, only I could see.

I realized it was in part a frustration and an irritation, to me, how they were so sloppy in their word use and in their understanding of language. But also so very many topics. Was that their fault? Only their problem? Well, yes and no. But that doesn't help things much, does it? After all, blame doesn't get us communicating. Pointing out their defectiveness doesn't set one up for productive communication, sad as that may be. Being a word or "grammar Nazi" usually doesn't help much.

My point in this is simply this...try to be aware of all this. All of this. Work with it. Not just against it. Where you can educate without irritating, give it a try. Try to be helpful and not just enjoy the catharsis you can acquire from it. Because that is petty and immature, and just not productive.

Try to be clear. Try to be compassionate in your speech, in your communication. Understand the responsibility in communication is on both sides. What is expected on one side, is also expected on the other side. Obviously today we have another issue for another time. That of those doing all this for political purposes, in twisting reality and facts. In claiming truth and facts are fake. On that channel, best of luck to you. And to us all. Because once you try to make lies truth and truth lies, you have already lost the game for everyone. Even if you win your current battle.

Still, by considering all these things and trying to be functionally productive in communication, then we will all begin to understand one another in much greater detail. TO eliminate so much of the friction we've been seeing today in this heavily polarized world.

As for those abusing all this for their own means and gains? They may likely always be around. But in the rest of us learning to understand one another better, to actually communicate, we can decrease the effect those types have on our society and on all of us individually.

And maybe, it will one day, soon hopefully, decrease the numbers of those who abuse so very many of us as often as they have been doing today. From the Office of the President of the United States, on down.