All my really good post ideas come from dreams I had the morning before writing them. Dreams are funny beasts. Someone told me long ago that dreams are just the side effect of your brain analyzing events from the days before, and it’s the emotions associated to the events that evoke images in your brain. So if something happened that made you happy yesterday, you’re likely to dream an image of something that you strongly associate with happiness. You won’t necessarily dream about the actual event. The images you ‘see’ at night are leakage triggered by the subconscious thoughts, kind of like a hash algorithm that picks just any scene from bucket of equivalences. These bursts of idioms seep as impulses into the area of your brain associated with input from your visual cortex, unintended feedback from the system that sort of works out as neural network backwards propagation if you will. It’s there that your mind thinks the ideas are actually coming in as images from the outside. So it takes these images and feeds them into the standard hopper, parsing them for meaning, pattern matching, evaluating, categorizing. It’s there that you build up the story of your dream from all the loose fragments, adding characters and plot, comedy and irony; proving once and for all that nature abhors a bore.
So there I was a few nights ago, aboard a small experimental sub-marine. We were too deep and the pressure was causing the hull to moan and leaks to burst across the gangway like scene out of a bad science fiction drama. Our hunters were following us at breakneck speed. The resident eccentric scientist pleaded with the caption to descend even further, but everyone knew that was certain death, or so we thought. A near miss by an enemy torpedo convinced the captain to send her down. The floor tilted sharply and we all hung on for our lives.
Fade to black. Somehow my internal cinema added a cut between scenes as a way of relaying the gravity of my doom. I suppose my subconscious thought I’d need a commercial break about them, but as it turned out the show was airing on one of those PBS stations and so it flashed back to the film before any must-buy products were dangled in front of my eyes.
I awoke in a field of tall grass. The submarine laid embedded half-way into the turned up soil like the crash scene from superman. A few of the others had survived. The sky was strange, a ripple of clouds and surface waves. In the distance was a farm house, including silo and barn. It might as well have been Iowa. We made our way there out of desperation. There were people, hundreds of them, simple farm folk, kind of community of survivors living in a strange reality under the sea. They gave us bunk-bed births in the barn along with food and clean clothes. The thought raced through my mind that someone we had found the real Atlantis, but before I could get at the truth an air-raid siren sounded.
I ran outside and was nearly trampled by most heading in for shelter. What I saw amazed me; a giant vessel plowed through the waves above and from its side dangled terrible machines on giant chains; like threshers or mowers, a thousand spinning sabers, slicing, cutting. In the air they appeared menacing, on the ground the raked and tore at the fields, spitting up shredded grass in clouds of destruction. They were headed right for the farm. I screamed at the people inside to get out, but no one came. The blades pulled closer and the shadow of the ship rippled over the building. I raced to reach the highest ground possible, a small hill with a dirt face that I scrambled up the side, pulling on small tufts and roots to reach to peak. From there I saw the final blow. One thundered into the large multi-colored bus parked outside, the blades digging into its metal hide. The other missed the building entirely, passing between the home and the barn. The chain lurched, a ripple rocketing up into the sky. The engines above roared and the bus down below lifted off the ground. The threshers reeled upward slowly, as they now swung forward on their chains directly toward me.
I stood frozen, unable to move. The bus and the blades hurled toward me. At the last moment, I guess I sort of slipped. I lost my footing and slid down the dirt slope. The machines passed overhead; the fender of the bus digging into the tip of the hill. Earth exploded above me, raining dirt and rock all around.
That’s when I gained consciousness, the clock-radio springing to life. I was lucky to remember most of the dream, an exciting full-color tale, packed with action, drama and special effects, with a quality as good as any on cable these days. If I could only tape-record this stuff I could start my own broadcast station.
But I suppose it all has some ominous, underlying meaning that I fail to fathom just yet. Let’s see, trapped in an experimental sub, racing to escape some overwhelming menace, descending to the depths to hide only to find a secret safe harbor from above, full of kind-hearted innocent people, and then only to discover that they too are not safe from the perpetual danger, hunted by demons far away, seeking to tear apart everything they find, hoping to latch on to some small gem, a fish out of the sea.
I suppose that could describe any project I ever worked on!
But I digress.