So I'm writing a post about the way I dream, because believe it or not it has to do with fiction and fanfiction.
First you should know that I'm the sort of person who dreams complex storylines rather than the 'classic' sorts of dream; for instance, I have never
dreamed myself naked in a public place. I often dream long conversations as part of a dream or the dream may consist completely of dialogue + background. Sometimes, I have dreams where all I do is watch the action. I am aware I'm watching a story, and I do not interact with the characters; instead it's more like being in a three-dimensional theatre: what's going to happen next?
Being aware you are watching a story or that you are dreaming is called 'lucid dreaming'; and apparently, I am a very frequent lucid dreamer. Besides being complex, my dreams are also often very vivid. Occasionally, I have dreamed myself as
one of the fictional characters in a novel or show or manga I am following.
So a very long time ago, I had a dream that Ranma and Ryoga were married. Ranma didn't remember having gotten married at all, and was very skittish. The freak-out was huge, obviously. Ryoga was patient (and hot) and convinced Ranma he was, in fact, her husband. The story 'Happily Married
' was written, in three, feverish days thereafter. Sleep had very little part in those three days, but I was very grateful to the dream for leading me to such an interesting idea.
I should, however, note that I have never been able to picture Ranma as a 'real' person - mostly because 'Japanese' and 'redhead' just don't go together in my brain. So in the dream above, I was mostly dreaming dialogue in the black, with flashes of images.
In the second dream, several months later, I saw her, and she was most certainly not a cartoon. She looked curvy, tiny (five-foot, or maybe five-foot-one), with cropped hair and she wore her usual Chinese getup. Her slanted eyes were a very dark blue, and her lashes were very dark red. She was seated on a low wall, one knee curled up towards her body, the other leg swinging.
I was completely delighted. It was sort of like meeting your favorite actor - omigod, is it really HER?
- and I think I grinned in my sleep - again, quite well aware that I was dreaming the conversation, but delighted nonetheless.
"Hey," she greeted me with a sudden frown that was way too scary to be coming from someone her size. She looked pissed
I blinked, trying to figure out why my character was so angry with me. Sure, I'd put her through a lot in Happily Married,
but her suffering had paid off, and one of her last lines in the story was how happy she was about how her life had turned out. It never entered my head that this might be Takahashi's Ranma, seeking revenge. For one thing, canon!Ranma would not have shown up as a girl if he could help it; and there was certainly no water of any sort in sight.
"You have seriously left me hanging," she continued, scowling. "Do you have any idea how long?"
"What?" I demanded. "I've - I've finished." I tried to cast back, to think of what she could possibly be talking about. It was like a good friend being that angry with me out of the blue, and I racked my brains to figure out what I could have done to make her so upset. Then it finally hit me. This was NOT 'Happily Married' Ranma
. This was Juketsuzoku-Fu
Ranma! The horror that gripped me at this point was very real.
I was so screwed.
"Listen," I said, "I've been really busy."
"How busy? You wrote a whole other story!" She practically growled at me, then looked slightly puzzled, as though she had no idea what to think of HM!Ranma. "It's been ages," she went on, "and I am not
waiting any longer. Stop what you're doing and write it NOW."
And I woke up. I said, "so long as you'll help me," rolled over and went back to sleep.
But then I wrote what is now the first chapter of Juketsuzoku-Fu.
I had a third dream several nights ago. It was Ranma again, standing in front of the same, low wall. (Where is that? Where am I placing her?) She narrowed her eyes and spat, in the fucking
WOODS! Then a loud noise woke me up, but I knew what she meant. I'd left her, and Tatewaki, and Hikaru standing in the mountains of Quing Hai Province, high and dry. Unfortunately, she hadn't given me very much to go on. I'm waiting for my redheaded muse to show up again.
Much, MUCH weirder is when I dream myself AS a particular character.
Ranma 1/2 is an anime, and therefore it requires some imagination to picture. However, I know exactly
what 'Atlantis' looks like in Stargate:Atlantis, which might at least in part explain the insane
vividness of this particular series of dreams.
In these dreams, I was Rodney McKay and I was doing my job: fixing things around Atlantis, occasionally talking to Radek, and on one memorable occasion, presenting a particularly exciting finding to the senior staff (while Sheppard looked bored). Since the character of McKay is entirely surface and says everything he thinks,
my brain did not, apparently, have to stretch in order to figure out how his worked. The dreams were VERY convincing, to the point I would wake up and think for a good, solid five seconds: wait. Where am I?
I wonder if this happens to the actors
, too, or if the presence of cameras and scriptwriters detracts from the fictional universe enough that it's never an issue?
Dreaming myself as Rodney was very cool, but it was also sincerely disconcerting. Waking up every morning for a week and a few days
with an identity crisis, no matter how temporary, was off-putting. Also, I apparently 'learned' things my conscious mind didn't know about the character. For instance, my version of him literally forgets other people exist when he's busy. He/I would be tinkering with Ancient Console No. 52 and then Radek would say something and he would jump and curse (having forgotten entirely that Radek was there). Despite the fact that he's really good friends with Colonel Sheppard, he apparently re-discovers the man every time he walks into a room: he doesn't think about him at all, otherwise. This surprised my conscious mind. For some reason, I'd been pretty sure that a lot of what McKay did was to impress other people, so he must be thinking about those people, their reaction to his brilliance as he works. Now I think, not so much. The arrogance appears to be almost an afterthought, making me wonder if I believe he's just doing it to entertain himself or others, or maybe to distract people from some other aspect of his personality?
The funniest part of 'being' McKay, though, was his thought patterns. He had a weird, tripping, stream-of-consciousness mental litany, where he would think about a problem, get led away from the problem with a chain of seemingly unrelated thoughts, then return again to the original problem by linking it to the previous thought again, like a Gordian knot. For instance:Problem with the dimness in the corridors -->
notes light outside -->
view outside reminds him that part of tower needs repaired, but too heavy to move manually -->
flashback to moving the city, and subsequent damage to the tower -->
Conclusion = dimness in corridors is preprogrammed, due to anticipated seasonal changes back on original 'Lantea, where it would be summer now (and bright!), but here on the new planet it's winter and it's dark.
Action taken = He will reprogram the original calendar as a stop-gap and set what's-his-face on figuring out how to make the illumination in the corridors responsive to the light outside, because really, it's an excellent way to husband the power of the ZPM, and he'd been wondering where that 0.03% was going, and it's a load off his mind.
Then he's on to the next issue.
ALL his thoughts were like this, and he never stopped.
It was more than a little exhausting.
The neat bit, though, was that his random mental forays into entirely different topics always had a use
- his consciousness had made the connection for a concrete reason
. Once he figured out how the different thoughts were connected, he would have solved the problem. This makes McKay a lot more of an intuitive thinker than I would have supposed if you'd asked me before I had these dreams: he seemed to rely on his subconscious to tell him answers to questions that should have been, strictly speaking, slightly beyond his reach without that intuitive leap.
Another interesting thing about the dreams was that it made me realize that McKay doesn't talk to the main characters as often as my conscious mind thought. Instead, he spoke more often to Radek than to anyone else, and was quasi-aware of his presence much of the time. He saw John and Elizabeth equally - about once every two days. Teyla and Ronon were barely blips on his radar, and he mostly dealt with them in the context of John, if that makes sense. There is, apparently, not an emergency every five seconds the way it seems in the show, because I never got to that point. (And a good thing, too. I'd worry that I'd have an aneurism in my sleep being Rodney in a crisis.) I don't think I ever 'got' offworld, either. So - an average few days/scenes in the neighborhood of the Lost City of the Ancients.
The worst part about dreaming myself as Rodney? Even after I had sat up in bed, realized where I was and took a few cleansing breaths, Rodney's way of thinking took longer to 'wear off', which was seriously
disconcerting. That week, I was attempting to explain a complicated concept to a group of people I really thought would get
it if they would just shut up and listen, and suddenly *snap snap!*
I stopped and stared at my hand like it didn't belong to me, but only for a moment. I had to go on, because first of all, discussions of how you dream yourself as a fictional character and then pick up their annoying habits
are not conversations you can have with just anyone; and second of all, I was mid-explanation, and the show must go on. But I do remember how much I blushed in combined horror and surprise, because I think it's one of the most insulting habits the character has; and also because the snapping had been totally instinctual and involuntary
Weird, yes. But at least when someone asks, where do you get your ideas?
, I can answer honestly.