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Strange Divinity

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posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 02:40 PM
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This is a story based on an actual lucid dream I had some while ago. For those who don't know, a lucid dream is a dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming. In my lucid dreams, I am able to control almost every aspect of my dreams. It's like being omnipotent and omniscient, but in a very wierd way. This story tries to deal with the impact of that divinity on the inhabitants of my dream worlds. I hope you like it. Please feel free (i.e. please do) leave feedback and let me know what you thought.

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STRANGE DIVINITY

It’s strange to watch the reaction of somebody who has just had the comforting shroud of reality brutally and callously torn away from them. It’s never quite what you expect. Case in point: the young woman who stood before me in the middle of a busy inner-city street, in the middle of the pouring rain, soaked to the bone and struggling to process the fact that her world and everything on it had come into being little more than fifteen minutes ago. She was handling it rather well, I thought.

She gazed about herself absent-mindedly, her eyes drifting lazily over the scrambling throngs of pedestrians who cursed and struggled to stay dry, darting from overhang to overhang and huddling against the sides of buildings as they waited for the traffic lights to change colour. She looked up and closed her eyes against the raindrops that spattered her face. The sky was an endless, unbroken canopy of soft grey, the kind of sky that always threatens to stay that way and deny the Earth the warming rays of the sun forever. She remained like that for a short while, the rain pooling in the hollows of her closed eyes, and then she lowered her face to watch the dance of the raindrops against the bitumen as they gathered and pooled and ran in small rivulets into the gutters. Finally she brought herself to look at me and I could see, through the rain, the streaks of the tears as they spilled down her cheeks.
“This is all a dream”, she said, with a resoluteness that warmed me even as her newly-discovered loneliness stabbed through me like a dagger of bitter ice.
“Yes”, I replied softly. “This is my dream”.
She said nothing, but bent down and ran her fingers through the swiftly moving stream of rainwater that ran through the gutter. She looked across the street to where a mother was struggling with an upturned umbrella while her young daughter laughed and stamped with glee.
“Last year”, she said idly, her fingers swimming in the tiny river, “my husband was killed when a driver talking on their cell phone didn’t notice a stop sign. He was a good man, a good father and a good husband. Why did he have to die?”
“I don’t know”, I answered truthfully, although I knew that she would not understand.
Standing up, she shook the drops from her fingers and put her hands in the deep pockets of her coat. Her hands shook and I wanted desperately to believe that it was from the cold.
“When you wake up, what happens to all of us?”
“I don’t know”.
She stared at me blankly. Her eyes were bloodshot, but focused and alert and I knew from her quizzical expression that she did not understand.
“Take the rain”, I said, in an effort to offer her realisation through analogy. “It rains because I enjoy the rain. I find it soothing yet invigorating. I feel as though the world has more potential somehow when it is raining. Today I willed for it to rain and it did. But I do not chart the course of each raindrop. I will the tapestry into being, but I do not work each stitch”.
Even as I saw her begin to grasp my crude yet honest comparison, I saw the inevitable mask of outrage work its way onto her features. Ignoring that for a moment, I continued my lesson.
“In the same way that I created the rain, I created your universe. I willed there to be a world filled with life and people and beauty and grandeur and it was so. But I did not will you specifically into being, nor your husband, nor your son”.
For a moment when I said this, I thought that she might hit me. Her rage burned within her and she wrestled with it, even as she struggled to reconcile the truth of what I had told her. She emerged the victor in both battles and once again regarded me almost languidly, a smile creeping at the edge of her lips.
“He wants to be an astronaut”, she said fondly.
“I know”, I replied.
“You do?” she asked, puzzled. “But I thought you just said that you …”
“When I concentrate on the details”, I interrupted, “I can know things. About people – their names, their histories, their hopes and desires and secrets. I don’t know exactly how it works. I almost think that I’m just making most of it up as I go along”.
She sniffled and wiped her eyes with sleeves that were comically oversized for her small frame. In a flash, I knew that the coat had belonged to her husband, though how I knew this I could not say.
“When you wake up, back in … I don’t know … the real world, I guess, we – all of us, all of this, ceases to exist, doesn’t it?”
I was silent for a moment. Part of me was considering constructing some lie, some deception that would give her hope, give her meaning and purpose. But another part of me decided that she had earned the truth, or what I, in my own understanding, held to be the truth. It was this part of me that spoke.
“I honestly don’t know”, I said. “Probably”.
“But maybe you could … try?” she said, the first tinge of desperation apparent in her voice. “When you wake up maybe you could remember us and … and maybe we wouldn’t … maybe everything wouldn’t have to …”
Across the street, a driver had begun beeping his horn incessantly, cursing and making decidedly unfriendly gestures to the driver in front of him who sat talking on his cell phone. It was a moment before I realised that the sound was distracting me from her heartfelt and increasingly feverish pleas.
“Please. Please, you have to try. Not for myself, I don’t care what happens to me. But … son, he … future … deserves to …”
Her voice had become increasingly difficult to follow as the horn grew in intensity. I again let myself become distracted as I prepared to will the noise into silent obedience. Dimly, as if she were speaking from somewhere very far away, I heard her crying. The horn redoubled in volume, until the sound of it seemed to fill all the world.
“… wants to be an astronaut”.

The alarm woke me with an unusual sluggishness, as though I were but grudgingly returning to conscious thought. Beside me, my girlfriend began to stir. Morning light poked through the closed blinds, still weak, yet bright enough to cause me to have to squint against it.
“Mmmm, good morning”, my girlfriend said as she rolled over.
“Good morning, sweetheart”, I replied, unwilling yet to throw back the blankets and begin my day.
“How did you sleep?”
“I … I don’t know. I had this weird dream”.
“Oh yeah? What was it about?”
“There was this … woman”.
“Oh, it was one of those dreams”, she said playfully.
“No”, I said smiling back at her. “She wanted … I don’t know. She was scared and she wanted me to do something”.
“What did she want you to do?” asked my girlfriend as she moved her hands around on the carpeted floor searching for her slippers.
“She wanted …” I struggled to remember what the woman in my dream had wanted of me. It was something important, something that had meant everything to her. But I couldn’t remember, and the more I tried the more the memory slipped from me. It was like trying to put my finger on a bead of mercury.
“Oh well”, I said at last. “I guess it couldn’t have been too important”.
Throwing back the covers, I struggled to open my eyes against the morning sun. For a brief moment I thought that it should have been raining, but dismissed the strange thought as I prepared to face the day.
“What’s for breakfast?” I asked.




posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 09:33 AM
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Whoah you dream this stuff? that must be difficult



posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 09:52 AM
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Originally posted by obiwan15
Whoah you dream this stuff? that must be difficult


The dream that inspired this story was indeed somewhat disconcerting. When I first began to teach myself lucid dreaming techniques, all I was interested in was gaining some form of control over my dreams. As this story shows, however, that control can sometimes take strange and unexpected twists.

Many times when I have altered some aspect of my dream (turning day into night, for example), the characters in my dream have reacted with complete shock and even abject horror. The example I often give is floating. It is possible, whilst in a lucid dream, to fly and I do so often in my dreams. However, every time I try to simply float a few inches above the ground in my dreams, the dream characters point and scream. Essentially, they react the same way a normal person would react if this were to occur on the street in real life. Sometimes this can be somewhat disturbing, since you really feel you are messing with their lives somehow.

The crux came when I began to have discussions with my dream characters about the fact that I was presently dreaming and that they were simply figments of my dreams. They tended to argue back that this was not the case and they were often quite eloquent in doing so. Upon waking from these dreams, I began to question what happened to these characters after my dreams ended. Strange Divinity is the result of these ponderings. I hope you liked it.



posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 03:31 PM
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Great story Jeremiah. I do have one question tho.

Originally posted by Jeremiah25
When I first began to teach myself lucid dreaming techniques, all I was interested in was gaining some form of control over my dreams.

What is lucid dreaming? Can you explain it to me? Does it involve simply changing things in one's dreams through realization that this is your dream and you can fashion it to whatever path you want? Please explain.



posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 05:28 PM
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Lucid dreaming is when you become aware that you're dreaming while dreaming. It takes some practice to do it on a regular basis, but happens once and a while on its own.



posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 07:40 PM
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Void
Glad you liked the story.
ghost88 is essentially correct. A lucid dream is a dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming. You look around and suddenly realise "Oh my God, I'm dreaming". Everybody will have at least one lucid dream naturally throughout their lives, but you can actually practice specific techniques which can drastically increase how often you experience lucid dreams.

The other thing about lucid dreams that makes them remarkable is that after you have experienced them often enough, you find that you can take complete and total control over your dreams, which become more and more realistic, until your dreams are as solid and tangible as reality. For example, in my lucid dreams I am able to fly, cause it to rain, or generally do anything I want, all in an environment which is as real as the one I am sitting in now.

If you're interested, I'll be submitting a PODcast soon (hopefully within a week or so) entitled Lucid Dreaming for Dummies, which explains the techniques I used to experience lucid dreams.



posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 08:14 PM
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Oh. Thats it, huh? Its not really that hard, I do it all the time. I remember when I was in the middle of a dream I willed an entire crowd of people into existence right in front of me. Kinda interesting trick but the only problem I have is the more I change the dream the closer I get to consciousness. I don't think my computer can handle Podcasts so I'll just surf the net looking for info. Thanks for explaining.



posted on Oct, 5 2005 @ 02:30 AM
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Hi Jeremiah25,

Your story was amazing and quite powerful in your use of descriptive words! I was taken aback when you stated that the people actually interacted with you in the manner similar to the story. In my few lucid dreams, I am so busy flying and playing, that the people in my dreams (when there are any) are a blur. I wonder if sometimes your dream world merges with another dimension or reality? (whew, its making my head spin just thinking about it!
)

Your dialogue flowed very well, and was quite believable. The only way that I think it could have possibly been better, was if the female character had some sort of specific dialect. I think the use of regional (or culturally) specific dialect, frees the author from having to specifically tell the reader certain aspects of a characters demeanor, intillect, or history. I find that for me, it makes the characters more endearing. (Just my opinion of course!
)


I really like the way your descriptive words sometimes have sensory characteristics.


...dagger of bitter ice.


This is a great example. It works so very well to place the reader in the same space as the speaker, and actually feel what the speaker feels at that moment. (I love it when that happens in a story!)


In some of your longer sentences, your description of a specific moment does a great job of creating a scene, as well as giving the reader insights to the characters mood. There was only one sentence though that I think was too long, only because it took me out of the moment.



She remained like that for a short while, the rain pooling in the hollows of her closed eyes, and then she lowered her face to watch the dance of the raindrops against the bitumen as they gathered and pooled and ran in small rivulets into the gutters.


I found it a bit difficult to read this one all of the way through. I was thinking it would read better like this:



She remained like that for a short while, the rain pooling in the hollows of her closed eyes. Lowering her face, she opened her eyes to watch the dance of the raindrops against the bitumen as they gathered and pooled and ran in small rivulets into the gutters.


This is just my suggestion of course, and I hope you dont mind.
I think that changing it that way would help the sentence to read better, and still convey the same imagery, and tone. It also makes the reader pause with her as she remains still for a moment. I changed the beginning a bit so as avoid using the same word as the sentence before.

I think it was great that you turned an experience of yours into a story to share with us. Not only was the idea a unique and thought provoking one, but it helped to spark an interest as to what it means to have a Lucid Dream.


Incedentally, I would love to hear your podcast on the subject. I just have to figure out how to get the darned things to play properly!
Great job once again Jeremiah.

[edit on 5-10-2005 by sylvrshadow]



posted on Oct, 5 2005 @ 03:24 AM
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Hey sylvrshadow, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment on my story. I wrote this story in record time and with minimal revision, so kindly forgive any foolish errors.


Originally posted by sylvrshadow
The only way that I think it could have possibly been better, was if the female character had some sort of specific dialect.


Hmm, I hadn't thought of doing this. Thanks for giving me something to incorporate into my next story.




There was only one sentence though that I think was too long, only because it took me out of the moment.


I am always admonishing myself for making my sentences too long. I personally blame Neil Gaiman, whose writing style I find extremely influential and whose sentences often turn into whole paragraphs.




This is just my suggestion of course, and I hope you dont mind.



Oh no, of course not. I always welcome constructive criticism, especially from writers as talented as yourself. It can be easy sometimes not to see the flaws inherent in our own stories and sometimes an objective view is the best thing for a writer.




Incedentally, I would love to hear your podcast on the subject. I just have to figure out how to get the darned things to play properly!



You and me both. Unfortunately, my microphone has gone walkabout. To compensate, I have made a comprehensive lucid dreaming post on the Paranormal forum called, somewhat lamely, Lucid Dreaming For Dummies.

Thanks again for your comments and congrats on winning the Fragile Earth contest.
I have been trying to U2U you to offer my personal congratulations, but you seem to be a hard person to catch.
What kind of problems are you having with PODcasts? U2U me if you have any questions about them and I'll see if I can help you out. Thanks again.

P.S. Don't forget the Writing Workshop currently underway at the link in my signature.



posted on Oct, 6 2005 @ 11:40 AM
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Hi Jeremiah,

Ive been pretty busy here lately (which is why I have been darting in and out of ATS these past few days!) Thanks for the Lucid Dreaming post!! I havent read up on it in a while, but lately, I have felt the need to study it some more.


I will try to u2u you about the podcast. As technical as I am, you would have thought I had figured it out by now!!


[EDIT: Opps, I forgot to tell you. I have plans on participating in the writing workshop. I hope that I have the time though. Its been crazy around here!!]

[edit on 6-10-2005 by sylvrshadow]




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