I feel like the grainy Youtube screencap is the best medium to capture these years since most of the footage is from old copies of VHS tapes.
I’m trying to document what it was like to live in these eras so people my age and older can reminisce about the good old days, and so the youths now can get an accurate glimpse of these particular decades that aren’t taken very seriously in terms of pop culture or fashion/aesthetics, or are relegated to the same stale pop culture references over and over (there was more to the 90s than Nirvana and choker necklaces, I promise. The 1980s wasn’t just bad neon clothing and Madonna. The 2000s was an amazing time for music and ballsy fashion choices, etc.) I’m also going to try to avoid really obvious pop culture moments.
As I’ve said before, I feel like the last 30-40 years was spent analyzing and hyping the 1960s. I call this the “baby boomer industrial complex” and obviously it was magical and rad time in history for pop culture (I mean I run a Monkees blog like I get it), but I think now it’s time to take back the narrative from the boomers and show that other decades were just as exciting and strange and important.
So, you’ve probably already been told that writing dream sequences is a big no-no. That it’s capital-B “bad”. To that I say - ugh.
There’s nothing wrong with dreams in stories. Dreams in storytelling are as old as our oldest stories. Humans are fascinated with dreams, and for good reason. We don’t understand them, and it’s likely we never entirely will. They’re rich with symbolism. They represent a deeper part of ourselves. That’s not to mention that if you’re religious at all, they likely have some significance to you on a spiritual level, regardless of what you believe in.
So to dismiss dreams as “bad writing” is - well, it’s ridiculous. It’s just that, as with any type of tool, you need to think about them. Instead of just tossing them into your story you should use them skillfully. Meaningfully.
Don’t use dreams just because they’re an easy way to create drama or to convey some piece of information. Use them because it’s the right place and the right time to use them in your story.
Using Dreams to Show a Character’s Psychological State
One of the ways in which you can use dreams meaningfully is to showcase a character’s psychological state. However, be very careful about using dreams in this manner and realize that it’s probably best to save dream sequences for extremes in mood shifts or emotional peaks that your characters may be going through.
For example, let’s say that we have a heroine who is caught up in a Civil War in a fantasy kingdom, and the person commanding the forces on the other side in this war is her own half-sister. Knowing that she might have to face off against her sister is causing her extreme emotional stress.
As she grows closer to having to face her sister, she may have a dream about the situation.
Saria charged into the chamber, sword raised. The blade slid neatly into the woman’s back. But when she cried out, the sound was strange. It wasn’t a woman’s cry. It was a girl. Saria looked down, and felt her chest begin to burn as she saw the child collapse onto the floor.
“Ness… no!” She withdrew her sword. She tried to reach for the girl, for her sister, but it was too late. Her sister had fallen, was still falling. Sinking into the floor as if it were glass. All Saria could do was watch as it closed around the child.
Dreams as Prophecy/Telepathy/Connection to Spirits
In some stories, dreams serve another purpose. They may function as prophecy - allowing characters to see past or future events. Dreams may also allow characters to see events that are happening in the present, elsewhere in the world that they exist in. They may be psychically connected to other characters through dreams, or they may even be able to connect to lost loved ones through dreams.
One of the things that tend to be universally true about these types of dreams in stories is that they are generally less abstract than dreams that occur “naturally” - i.e., dreams that originate from a character’s own mind. And that only makes sense. As a writer, you would want these dreams to be a little clearer and a little more focused.
Êx. Vivienne reached out and let her grandmother’s hand close over hers. “Is it really you?” she asked, receiving nothing but a smile in response. And then they were walking together, side by side and hand in hand, just as they had when she was a little girl. It had been so long…
“You’re still so impatient,” her grandmother finally said. “But it will happen soon enough.”
“What’s going to happen?” Vivienne glanced over. She couldn’t mean The Enlightening could she? But that would mean…
“Don’t think about it too much. It’s a beautiful day. Enjoy these moments while you can. Life is so short, Vivienne. Even a well lived life is never enough. No reason to be so impatient.”
However, you probably still want to write them differently than you write your main narrative - and we’ll get to that in a moment.
Beginning and Ending Dreams
One thing that I feel necessary to point out is how important it is to think about the beginning and ending of a dream sequence.
Think about the last dream that you had. How did it start? What were you doing when the dream began? The thing is, dreams sort of drop you into the middle of the action.
So when you write a dream sequence, embrace the concept of in media res. That is, start the dream sequence with your character already in the midst of some sort of action. It makes the feeling of the dream being “dreamlike” a lot more believable.
And really push it with this. Amp up the surreal feeling here to make it as dreamlike as possible. Start the dream with the character in the middle of a conversation. Start it with them walking down a hallway, or hanging out somewhere they shouldn’t be and acting as if it’s no big deal.
The more the reader feels put out by it, the better. Because it’s a dream and it should feel a bit odd and off and strange.
Likewise with the ending. Dreams don’t (always) have natural conclusions. They end when you wake up, no matter when that is. So don’t (always) worry about completing the “story” of the dream.
Amping Up the Surreal Nature of Dreams in Writing
When writing dream sequences, one thing you’ll want to note is that you want to keep the writing surreal. You want to make it feel different than the main narration of your story. It’s a dream, after all. And there are some things that you can do to make that happen.
One thing that you can keep in mind is that things move differently in dreams. The way things flow in dreams is a good starting point. Rather than having everything perfectly linear, and having everything structured and moving forward neatly, play with the surreal quality of the dreamworld by making leaps and jumps forward. Move from Point A to Point C and ignore Point B completely.
This is as true in psychological as in prophetic/telepathic dreams in writing. As I said, you want to differentiate the real world from the dreamworld, and this is a GREAT way to do that. It’ll help you keep the reader on the toes. (Not the only way to go, of course, but it’s one that I’ve always liked to use.)
And Finally - Dream Symbolism
I can’t go without noting this. Dreams are intensely symbolic, and you’d be remiss not to take advantage of this in your writing. Even if you’re not a writer who uses a lot of symbolism intentionally, writing dream sequences gives you a great chance to pull out all the stops and to fill your writing with symbols and hidden (or not so hidden) messages.
For example, if your character is anxious about death, illness or dying, you could fill their dream with images of dying animals and have them dream about being wounded. Yikes, right?
Just remember that dreams do not have to be literal representations of anxiety and, in fact, it may be a lot more interesting to readers to use symbolism instead of actual representations of their anxiety to get a message across in a dream sequence.
Anyway, that’s all I’m going to write about dream sequences for now. My WIP is about dreams so I’m always open to answer any questions you may have about dreams in writing, in myth, or what have you, so send me an ask if you want to know anything. I’ve done tons of research!
The amount of emotions you manage to convey through your beautiful art is surreal. Keep the amazing job!
aww Thank you so much sweet anon çAç Emotions are very important for me, I mean emotions “make the life alive”. So with empathy I try very hard to put what I feel in my art in general, and I’m so happy you can see it.
This is my sanctuary, my place of beauty and happiness 💖It’s my studio where I create most of my artwork and all of my paintings 🎨 I dub it my Artists Cave 😘And I want to share it with all of you! 😊I’ve been thinking it’s time to let people into my rainbow world 🌈 So I’d love to open my doors to the public to come and visit me in my studio in Vancouver! 🎨✨ I was thinking of maybe even doing an art lesson or two! What do you lovelies think? 😄 If ya want to come visit me and my sanctuary email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put you on the visitors list! 😊❤💻 I’d love to show you around! I have lots of goodies in my place that no ones ever seen before 😘💕now I’m off to keep painting!!
[Above] is a character sheet for a comix story I wrote in 1978. The script, if there was one, is long gone. It was a spoof of a hard-boiled detective story, ala Chandler or Spillane, and all the characters were based on my friends.
The character here that really pops out, of course, is “Father Dahmer,” the neighborhood priest! I discovered this long-forgotten piece in a box of high school drawings stashed under my mother’s basement stairs, as I was engaged in the herculean task of cleaning out her basement of 50 years of accumulation. I thought I had uncovered all my Dahmer artifacts years earlier, but here was a trove of drawings and memorabilia. Like all these discoveries, chills ran up and down my spine as I looked through this stuff. When I saw this drawing, I burst out laughing in disbelief. Father Dahmer???? Good gawd. It was just a goofball riff when I drew it, but now it was creepy and surreal. Keep in mind, this is likely drawn from life, too. I’m sure I was staring at him as I drew his face.
so, it’s been a rough week. monday at like 2 am my family and I ran out of the house and piled into the car. we were under mandatory evacuation until yesterday, but now we’re back! im in my own home, my own bed, while the fire moves on (baring any significant wind changes) and leaves us to clear the ash and try to keep going. it’s been surreal, even though my family has been extraordinarily lucky and our house & neighborhood are unharmed. still just. weird as shit. smoke and ash are still in the air, we don’t leave the house without masks, but people are going back to work on monday.
it’s only been a week, but I feel like I’ve been out of it for longer. doesn’t help that I got blackout drunk from stress-drinking wine at a friend’s house halfway through the week OTL
but anyway. i’m alright, my family’s alright, and that’s what matters. glad that the not-knowing part is over, and glad to be home.
ETA: i forgot to actually say why we were evacuated, it’s the fires in california rn, they were like a mile from our house at one point :(
the next day’s saturday. simon keeps his phone on his bedside table, sound turned fully up.
just in case.
(of what? just in case baz texts him? simon doesn’t know what he would say to him.
“i hate you.” even though that’s not quite true.
“i’m terrified of myself and everything i’ve ever been taught is crumbling around my shoulders,” maybe.)
and he doesn’t come out from his blanket cocoon, to eat or shower or drink water-
it doesn’t matter. there’s no one around to notice.
monday comes too quickly.
simon’s barely slept- all he can think about is how soft baz’s lips were, and what they made him feel, and shit shit shit he can’t be gay he just can’t be-
then he realizes that really no one will care if he doesn’t go to school, so he just wraps his duvet tighter around him and pulls the blinds to block out the sun.
he keeps remembering.
it feels so surreal- the way the moonlight softened simon’s face and how vulnerable his eyes looked and the sloppy, quick press of lips.
and he left so quickly.
and he doesn’t know why, or how, he was there- maybe he had been dreaming.
he convinces himself.
on wednesday he gets up and showers and comes to school halfway through the day.
baz is at his usual lunch table, and simon can’t stop sneaking glances at him.
“what’s wrong with you?”
dev’s lip is curled, and simon glares. “nothing. go away.”
he smirks, raises an eyebrow. “what’s wrong, snow, do you want to beat up the pitch-bitch again? would that make you feel better?”
simon eyes flash, and he gets up in dev’s face. “shut the fuck up,” he snarls, and dev backs down.
“whatever,” he mutters.
they don’t interact until thursday after school.
simon’s been avoiding him, baz can tell- he doesn’t see him in the halls, while usually simon makes an effort to be noticed, and he’s skipping their shared class.
he mostly feels relief (and sneaking tendrils of disappointment, which spot his cheeks with shame).
baz is walking to his car when he sees simon. he’s leaning, head down, against a wall, and when he hears baz he looks up.
he looks oddly flat- his curls have loosened and droop over the shaved sides of his head and his forehead. baz feels a pang of something in his chest.
“we need to talk.” simon’s voice is unusually subdued. he clears his throat and beckons baz over.
he approaches warily.
“i-” simon scrubs his fingers through his hair, shoving it off his forehead. he looks tired.
simon feels utterly exhausted, and he’s struggling for words. what’s he supposed to say?
“oh yeah, you know how i snuck in through your window and kissed you even though i’m straight and have been mocking you for kissing guys for years? yeah, well, i’ve been thinking about this for five days and i think i might not actually be entirely straight. and i’m telling you this very calmly but in reality i cried for about an entire day because if there’s one thing that my neglectful adoptive father did tell me it’s that being different is about the worst thing you could possibly be. oh, also, i think i accidentally developed a crush on you somewhere along the way and damn, you look good in that sweater- where’d you get it?”
baz is stood in front of him, waiting.
“so, i- well, i- i might not be, like- i kissed you,” he blurts, then ducks his head, face burning red. the revulsion and elation fills up his chest, his lungs- he coughs, embarrassed. baz is still quiet.
“and, like, it wasn’t on purpose,” he continues hurriedly. “but… it happened, and-”
he looks up hopefully- maybe baz will just know what he means- but his face is still impassive. simon fights the urge to glare, and instead huffs exasperatedly.
“i’ve been an absolute dick to you,” he says. “and. i guess, what i’m trying to say is-”
baz is just looking at him, and simon’s fists clench.
“i’m sorry, okay?” he spits it through clenched teeth, because holy shit is that annoying. baz narrows his eyes.
“you don’t get to walk up here and- great, you kissed me, but guess what else? you bullied me. for months. you made me hate myself so much it hurts to look in the fucking mirror. you do not get to just swan over and do whatever you’re trying to do, that’s not how it works-”
simon’s jaw clenches. “i-”
“just- you can’t do that.” baz’s voice is small, and quiet, and he’s staring at his shoes. simon wonders if he’s going to cry again.
“fine. whatever.” god damn it. “go, then.”
baz turns to leave, and he’s almost to his car before simon calls out to him, on a whim.
baz pauses, and simon swallows. he can’t really believe he’s doing this.
“what would i have to do- to, like, make it up to you?” he asks. even though he’s simon snow, and that’s baz pitch, and he shouldn’t have to make anything up to anybody.
baz turns, and just looks at him for a moment- all blacks and whites and smudged purple circles under his eyes- and gets into his car, and drives away.
My friend Jon Beinart, founder of the beinArt Surreal Art Collective has launched a Kickstarter program to help fund a series of exciting projects, and he needs your support. There are a heap of amazing rewards for backers by some of the collective’s artists from around the world, including original art, books, limited edition prints and more. I have contributed this signed limited edition giclée print of Mary, ed. 50/250 (2012). Check out the link below to see all the other strange and wonderful things you can get your hands on. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/beinart/keep-the-beinart-surreal-art-collective-alive
i just spent the last 20ish minutes updating my new theme and i am so in love with it. for all you computer users let me know what you think!
also, to view my personal text posts please check out the link under my bio titled “personal posts” that way you can keep up on the blogging side of my witchblr. i have a brand new tab on the left side of my theme for all of my updates on what i’m doing which is super cool.
i may add another personal link so i can share some of what’s written in my grimoire with all of you, i’d love to share the knowledge my books and browsing other witchblrs have given me. i’m hoping to be more active with this and hopefully it will bring my online presence up a bit.
please feel free to drop me an ask - i’d love to make some more new friends in the witchy community.