This week: Dream On!Edited by: Legerdemain
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The purpose of this newsletter is to help the Writing.com short story author hone their craft and improve their skills. Along with that I would like to inform, advocate, and create new, fresh ideas for the short story author. Write to me if you have an idea you would like presented.
This week's Short Story Editor
I was reading an article in a medical journal about dreams. It said "Dreams are stories and images that our minds create while we sleep. They can be entertaining, fun, romantic, disturbing, frightening, and sometimes bizarre." Isn't that what authors do when they're awake, also? I thought the observation was pretty entertaining.
I've paraphrased some theories about why we dream and the purpose of dreams were subconscious desires, consolidating info, and being a type of psychotherapy. Evidence and new research methodologies have researchers speculating that dreaming serves the following functions: consolidating memory and processes, preparing for possible future threats, developing a default network and cognitive capabilities, creating a psychological space where overwhelming, contradictory, or highly complex notions can be brought together by the dreaming ego, notions that would be unsettling while awake, serving the need for psychological balance and equilibrium. Research continues on dreaming.
There are five phases of dreaming described: First, light sleep which consists of about 5% of sleep time. Second, the eye movement stops and brain waves become slower, with occasional bursts of rapid waves called sleep spindles. This stage forms 45 to 55% of total sleep. Third, extremely slow brain waves called delta waves begin to appear, interspersed with smaller, faster waves. This accounts for 4 to 6% of total sleep. Then the brain produces delta waves almost exclusively. It is difficult to wake someone during stages 3 and 4, which together are called “deep sleep.” This is about 12 to 15% of sleep. The last phase is REM sleep. This is when breathing becomes more rapid, irregular, and shallow, eyes jerk rapidly in various directions, and limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed. Heart rate increases, and blood pressure rises. When people awaken during REM sleep, they often describe bizarre and illogical tales. These are dreams. This stage accounts for 20 to 25 percent of total sleep time.
Studies have identified "characters" in our dreams. Forty-eight percent of characters represented a named person known to the dreamer. Thirty-five percent of characters were identified by their social role (for example, policeman) or relationship to dreamer (such as a friend). Sixteen percent were not recognized. Among named characters: Thirty-two percent were identified by appearance; twenty-one percent were identified by behavior; forty-five percent were identified by face and forty-four percent were identified by “just knowing”. Elements of bizarre-ness were reported in 14 percent of named and generic characters. Isn't that interesting?
Our brains are busy at night! I believe that creative people have busy subconscious creativity. Whether it's during sleep or wake times. I've tried writing down my funky dreams. Sometimes I remember them, and sometimes they slip away even when I tell myself to remember it. Perhaps the ones we remember can be a basis for your next short story.
As always, Write On!
This month's question: What dreams do you remember? Send in your answer below! Editors love feedback!
Excerpt: There were ducks in the window. There were ducks in the window of every food joint you passed, really. It’s one of those Chinatown things, like the old men who ramble in Cantonese and drink port wine that they brewed in bathtubs in Chinatown tenements: buildings that were half looming Bauhaus and half replica of the paper buildings that my ancestors’ ancestors once built. The building was just an average Chinatown building, with ducks in the window and slanted roofs to keep the evil spirits out, who could only travel in straight lines.
Excerpt: “Grandpa … where is the music coming from?” Janie broke in, tugging Frank’s sleeve. He felt bad for schlepping the girl around, but how was he to know his mother would break a hip the same day he had his granddaughter?
Excerpt: Patrice paused. She should just go home and try to fix her mother’s shirt. Maybe running it through the wash would get out the blood, and she could claim she knew nothing of the torn hem. If she hid it in the trash, how long until Mom noticed it was missing? There’d be a folded belt tonight if she didn’t think of something.
Excerpt: Four months ago her relationship got complicated and she was confused. Rumors were spreading about Jeff, but she was undecided on what to do with the relationship because she loved him. She wasn't sure who to trust. I told her she could trust me. She said she was going to Stanford soon and leaving Jeff behind worried her. We chatted. I told her that maybe the best thing was to break it off so he could have his freedom and so could she. I convinced her that the best thing for her was to go to Stanford a single girl, so she didn’t have anything to worry about but school. She was starting to see the light. I was helping her through the tunnel.
Excerpt: Every man has secrets, even those he keeps from himself, and as Colin Whittier strolled beneath a coal-dark sludge of clouds that flowed and seeped into the night, he thought about the secret he had unlocked.
Excerpt: The Army sent Gary home in pieces. He was patrolling in a "safe area" and they were surprised. He died believing he was helping others, keeping our country safe. Like most of the country, Gary had bought the package put before us. Fear can lead almost anyone down a road with a probable solution.
Excerpt: Ever since she had come, death in the village was never the same. After all, Madison May was a special woman – Madison May knew how to raise the dead. As proof of such knowledge, a skeleton bird sat on her shoulder, gently rocking along with her steps. Sometimes, it would crane its neck to send an empty stare down at an unfortunate passer-by. The cracked right socket would follow the retreating figure even to their dreams.
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This month's question: What dreams do you remember? Send in your answer below! Editors love feedback!
Last month's question: What are some of your favorite death scenes?
Write 2 Publish 2020 : I will be watching the response to this question. The Authors view will dictate the send off. Is it just a graveside sendoff or all full blown wake/ funeral/ dinner and graveside service? What about military memorials?
I have been to the quick graveside with a few friends and family that are left? I’ve seen the 30 min Eulogy song and closing song.
What I’ve found is when you have a wake and visitation before the funeral. The grief process is eased somewhat.
Steven : Hamlet and Laertes have a great double death scene (and Romeo and Juliet have the most over-hyped useless, pointless deaths ever in literature).
But my favourite lines about death come from Stephen King's Cycle Of The Werewolf:
"Lover," she whispers and closes her eyes.
It falls upon her.
Love is like dying.
My favourite short story is ‘Streets Of Ashkelon’ by Harry Harrison. The death of the missionary (whose name escapes me) is moving, even if it happens mainly off-screen.
Dorian Gray's death is quite good as well, courtesy of Oscar Wilde.
brom21 : I stick to the Bible on the idea of death. Hebrews 9:27 says: "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement." You get one shot in life. I don't know about NDEs though.
BIG BAD WOLF Is 31 on 6/3/20 : My favorite death scenes are those "You Shall Not Pass!"/"Taking You With Me!" types of scenes, where someone, such as the hero's friend, or commander, who might be dying from injury/the infection, tells the others to go on without them, and then when the enemy shows up, explains quite clearly that they ain't getting past him, especially if an explosion is involved.
Challenged Cadie : I actually have 2 favorite death scenes. Both come from "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" with Kevin Costner and Alan Rickman. The first is where the Sherriff of Nottingham is talking with his cousin and the cousin asks why a spoon? Later the cousin has failed to capture Robin and shoves a sword through his cousin. Sherriff remarks, "At least I didn't use a spoon" My other favorite is where the Sherriff dies at the end of the movie, the death scene is somewhat cheesy but dramatic. I like it.
Elycia Lee ☮ Novel-Writing : Snape Severus in Harry Potter. I cried so much.
Chibithulu (Alyssa) : I think Augustus Water's death scene in the Fault in our Stars was a good death scene. It was agonizing to read about, but the payoff was great.
Soldier_Mike : John Wayne vs Bruce Dern in The Cowboys. Soured me almost permanently on any Dern character. Interestingly enough, almost every role I remember him in, he was playing a jerk (Hang 'em High, Diggstown & Down Periscope, to name a few). He was a little "off" in The 'Burbs, but in a good way.
Madeleine : Elise in Sky Atlantic's The Tunnel. The most heartbreaking death I've ever seen, I literally sobbed my heart out.
Words Whirling 'Round : In the film Unforgiven Gene Hackman's character, Little Bill Daggett, is lying on a dirty saloon floor after losing a gunfight to Clint Eastwood's character, William Munny. Little Bill whimpers plaintively, "I don't deserve to die like this." Munny replies "It ain't about deservin" and delivers the coup de grace.
What a great line!
Death is the ultimate equalizer. You can lie, steal, and even cheat taxes but you can't cheat death. You can live a life of perfect moral rectitude but you can't earn a single extra day. Sinner or saint, everyone takes the same sad exit. It ain't about deservin'.
Paperface : Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Bill's death and the soundtrack during the scene.
runoffscribe : Roy Batty in Blade Runner. "All these things will be lost, in time, like tears in rain."
I can't re-read Hans Christian Andersen's Little Match Girl.
I sometimes wish I had never read it
DurkaDoink : Alien: Covenant. The one busting out of the guy's back.
Kotaro : Cagney in Ángels with Dirty Faces
BusmanPoet : Jaws as Quint gets bit in half. Real bloody.
Lyricite : Iron Man in Infinity War R.I.P. Mr. Stark
Tannus : Since I have seen death in many ways, I tend to like the "going to sleep and dying" scene. That is probably the only one I prefer.
keyisfake : anything Shakespeare. And Supermen's death
Thanks to everyone sending their responses! I much appreciate your reading my newsletters and your replies. Thank you! Leger~
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