Thursday, December 2, 2010

Finis - for now, at least...

Overall, I've left this scene quite open for other origin stories and quite a distance between where Doreen shows up under that tree for Joe to save her. Her connection to those people is still unknown, as well as where Jack is all this time.

If I get back to being inspired in this area again, then I have plenty of material to work with in this world. Roger and Sue have unique talents which could form a sequel.

Metaphysically, there's not much left to answer as part of this, however. This work was done as a personal exploration into some dangling lines of thought which are touched on throughout, often several times. There are some practical applications of these to decipher, however it's unlikely that fiction is the best channel to pour these through.

The point of fiction is to render all these various authors through a single channel, in the idea that people might more easily access solutions which will help them with any goal they might have set toward their own enlightenment. And help them with their own funny things that happen.

Dreams are an interesting sub-study of our humankind condition. Through their examination, we can see that all life is not so serious as we may have thought or believed earlier. It is those points of seriousness which entertainment and effective self-help address. Certainly, when one releases contra-survival fears, emotions, feelings, and thoughts, then there is a much greater freedom to attain - and any life is filled with endless peace, which is beyond description. That last sentence is the moral to the story told here.

I thank you for reading all this, and hope it has been entertaining or at least interesting throughout.  Maybe you might have learned something. Of course, that is all up to you.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Commentary 16

81. Back to the adventure. I liked this point that Joe is trying to solve at least two adventures at once. In both instances, we have four characters interacting with their surrounding world, which is both familiar and different at the same time. Hostile characters in each round it all out.

The phrase 'Be the Witness', is an interesting one from Levenson, who got it from older sources. But it fits that as you get to a perfect peace within yourself, you'd cease to worry about the world around you.

And this scene is over-dramatic, and over-acted. It really is more one of those Indiana Jones adventures, after all. But it's fun.

But overlong compared to other sections. I simply didn't have a good point to break it up. Things turn out well for our main characters.

82. This is where Joe now cognizes that dreams are simply created. And you see what the Prefect saw on his screens as Joe tells each of these his discovered secret.

When Roger finally accepts this, he is able to reprogram the scene around them and move directly to a backdoor - interestingly labelled 'Maintenence'.

Which leads them to the white room.

83. And the control room burns with noe one in it. The Prefect's world crashing and burning.

84. Our main characters confront the Prefect, who is adamantly holding onto his own ideas of control and revenge. So Joe says they are going to fix things, completely even-handedly, not out of any sort of reaction to conditions around him.

85. Roger and Sue wind up in the cartoon Farm and are perfectly happy. They learn the secret to showing up there, as Cat tells them. Roger's quote is interesting, "Life is a dream and dreams are dreamed by dreamers."

86. The operating room shows up, with the Prefect getting the physical attention he needs. He's out of it now.

87. It's the nurse in the recovery room who explains to the Prefect and us exactly what happened. He's got to heal and it's going to take time. But he's been having bad dreams, so in this one he is sedated so he can rest.

88. Final scene, almost. A bookstore. Our four main characters are all settled in their new lives as couples, quite happy with everything going on now. The Prefect has moved into some sort of semi-retirement, teaching programmers ethics courses as some sort of amends for all he's been doing. Roger and Sue are harvesting all that dream world data to pull out the workable truths it was built on. And they got married, maybe even by Father George. Helen and Joe are living their lives together, though it's not known what they do.

89. Joe meets himself in the library - and tells him that he's always known that this data was readily accessible. And moves into a peace beyond description, which is another New Testament allusion (peace that passes all understanding) as to becoming enlightened.

90. Helen and Joe wind up in the cartoon Farm world. Cat gives the final lesson - Life is as good as you can imagine it to be. And we leave them making out in that field, much as Dog and Cat did.

The Prequel:

I wrote this in a mad dash one day, as I was short of the 50K quota by a bit in order to have a short novel. But the plot had finished and everything had wrapped up. The pacing was good and I didn't want to have to re-write sections just to add another 8K words in there. So I left the story for a few days and came back inspired one day, then put everything else aside to write it out.

The idea is to take one of those under-developed characters and look over life from their viewpoint. Doreen seemed fascinating enough to explore, so her story bubbled to the surface. If this ever comes back again, I'll have plenty more material with each of these characters (well, probably not the Prefect - but nothing's impossible.)

Now the style is different, since we aren't jumping in and out of scenes all the way through. But it also explores a wealth of other ideas.

91. Doreen is on a flight to a remote valley in South America (we know that destination by now). And it started with her dreams...

92. The dream is being in that canyon and facing the wall of water. But she knows they started when someone sent her a piece of jewelry. A black and white stone set in a gold and platinum wire setting, similar to Joe's, only with a leather thong as a necklace. Here she trims the leather thong, but later finds it was back to it's original length. She replaces that thong with a silver chain, only to find the silver inexplicably corrodes and breaks.

93. When she returns that evening, with a few too many under her belt, she winds up in the toilet and takes it out - only its back on the thong again. It's always comfortable to wear and she decides to go to sleep. Waking in the middle of the night after having that dream, she realizes that she got dressed during the middle of the night and doesn't remember doing it. As she goes back to sleep, she then gets another version of the dream. This time, she is meditating naked in front of the figure and doesn't care when the flood hits - she is completely calm and waits there until the waters recede and the sun comes out. She seems to feel the statue is friendly toward her.

All this raises a very different scenario than our earlier section. Now you are seeing someone under the influence of this jewelry - which influences her dreams, but drives her to action. Still, a call to adventure as above. Yes, there are veiled sexual overtones to this to keep it interesting. But the heroine is still just trying to understand her environment rather than conquer it or escape its control.

94. More to these affects of the jewelry - no hangover.  Here, she concludes she needs to visit the spot this came from, however, it's not going to be that easy.

95. Her life becomes devoted to getting ready for the trip and in finding what she could about the amulet.

Finally, she gets a lead about an obscure person who lived in an old lighthouse in a shrunken, back-water town.

Now this one really surprised me the way it came out. We kind of backed into this, describing the town before we get to the character - along the line of the actual researcher, instead of some fiction writer. While not in the first person, our following her is more along the lines of a modern "reality" show.

The grammar of these sentences is abrupt, like taken from notes during the conversation.

Her dreams that night were bizarre, but forecast what she is about to encounter. Again, we are dealing with dreams here, so the license to use them is broad - as this is a precursor to an entire novelella about them. Even the dream about falling returns.

Now this book she reads really doesn't show up again. It gives us a partial background of the valley she will be visiting. Were this going to be longer, I'd have had her interview Father George to find out about this, but again, the story ended too early. It does introduce an unnamed character who could have a book just on his travels through Europe and Colonial America's - but its better just to use the broad strokes here.

And the following discussion about the valley are interesting - since one argument against eternal life is overpopulation, yet the standards of living here are quite high, which is our modern equivalent of birth control.

96. I don't know if you walk a quarter mile daily. I do, just in caring for my cattle - usually 3 or 4 times that, twice a day. So when she parks her car nearly a quarter-mile from the lighthouse, you can say it's walking several end-to-end football fields to get there.

When we get to the lighthouse, it's notable that the door doesn't squeak and is completely adjusted to simply stay in the position you leave it in. As well, this is almost extreme simplicity and tidyness within. Invited to climb a long spiral staircase after already walking that distance was good reason for her to be out of breath - but as well, she's been working out, hasn't she?

Here's the interesting part - he knew she was coming. (And women seem to always blush when honestly complemented in this story.)

(A sidebar - both of their names are a play on words. And I didn't spot that Jack ends up being an old friend of Joe until I finished this, interstingly.)

He warns her to send that amulet off to another relative right away, and repeats it - which sets the stage. He's to be her mentor, but is trying to dissuade her from the adventure that waits. The series of questions he asks her are designed to push that point home - that she is being controlled by an unknown and mysterious force.

By his talk, she assumes that he has one. And here is where it gets sticky. He is trying to get rid of the very person - perhaps the only one - who can help him with his own problem. Is this reverse psychology, or humane concern?

Again, we come into the description of precisely-fitted masonry as Joe described in the hospital Garden. This is actually a tie-in to some of the South American ruins, where the temple stones are so set that a knife can't even be fit in between them centuries later.

97. And his possession of the lighthouse on top of the stone is another hereditary tale. The supernatural shows up and continues from here. First a family Bible that he can't get rid of.

An interesting point here is that he mentions inspiration as different from research. If you review the library sections in Joe's story above, you'll find some interesting connections here.

More supernatural stories, which lead to conversing with ghosts. And the dream connection is revealed.

These ideas about ghosts run differently than others - that if they tell their whole tale, then they will leave - but the idea of bribes is more familiar - such as tributes and sacrifices.

98. With all these stories and being told she is the solution to his jinx, Doreen is doubtful.

Jack tells her to go ahead and leave - but she 'knows in her heart' that she shouldn't. So when he rattles off a shopping list of what to get and where, she just buys it. Now you start seeing here that Jack is a completely efficient type of person, with no wasted motion. And when he decides something, he just does it with no question or hesitation. (See Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich" or "Law of Success" about this.)

99. Getting the stuff doesn't take much space. The chocolate donuts are there because women love chocolate and men like donuts. Perfect match. Now again, we have some uncanny prescience on Jack's part. He's got a table set for two, and even cooked two steak dinners instead of one.

The home-grown salad is another touch - as well as how to properly prepare food. Most people don't live from the land any more, but we have a decent-sized garden and I love fresh vegetables from it.

And of course ghosts announce themselves with a loud thud outside the building...

100. Jack's hands are full of what? Ice cream and donuts. Doreen has to do all the heavy lifting - but that was the way it had to be all along, didn't it. Doreen doesn't trust that the amulet will keep her warm on the outside of an old lighthouse, so she nabs the jacket.

Jack is giving the ghosts a bit of a hard time, saying that they don't knock over open bottles of wine, and now don't open packages well. Sheesh.

And I don't know why Doreen is eating ice cream when she's already chilled.  Evidently hungry, though. Just dug in and finished it off before the ghosts arrived.

Here's where the door element comes in - ghosts make it squeak on purpose.

101. These two are quite Victorian. So Jack's offer to have a smoke while the girls talked was straight out of the old habits of the time.

Hermione and Doreen have some very direct talking. But it was the amulet which really sold the deal. How Jack figured out what Hermione said means perhaps that he was just around the curve, listening - so he got through to Lucien earlier. Or he's more telepathic than he lets on.

102. Again, this is old school manners at work, plus a bit of coquetry on Doreen's part. Men will be men, even if they've been dead for a few centuries.

Now we still don't know how these ghosts are bound to protect that secret. But again, the presence of the amulet gives them pause.

Duke sealed the deal, but Doreen got the upper hand. Note, the two lower hands (Leroy's and Sam's) are known as "dead man's hands". Four kings would connote royalty - or even the Four Horsemen. But Doreen wins.

103. Since all the ghosts apparently agreed, the room goes dark, the amulets glow, and Doreen is simply able to pick up the buried amulet from the hole Jack started. And they are both near-duplicates.

At this point, we know there are three of these, when you add in Joe's above. However, as a prequel, this raises even more questions, since neither Doreen or Jack had the amulets in their possession when Joe interacted with them.

Doreen recruits Jack to go to South America with her, and he typically leaves the house as neat as a pin and even blows out the pilot light on the stove - as well as turning out all the lights in the lighthouse.

We don't know if he already had the duffel bag packed - given the above, it is probable that he could have. Or he might just be that efficient to pack one in a couple of minutes.

Doreen is driving, as usual.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Commentary 15

71. Only to wake on a desert island out of Beetlejuice. No way out, plus the witch-doctor is haunting this dream as well. So we leave him screaming...

72. Sue and Roger are now in the same hospital they created for Joe. Oops. But it's only logical to assume that the prediction Joe had made earlier that 'what they did to others would happen to them' would come true.

Here Roger finally wises up to Sue as another real human being. Of course it helps that they have only thin hospital gowns on. And their regular world is gone. This shakes them a bit, but they are still working to figure it out, like programmers are wired. Still, the stark reality of their situation brings out the human side of them, and so they prepare to make the best of it.

Helen and Joe enter, and re-introduce the Golden Rule premise again, plus the idea that we are all just Self. All as an explanation that they were going to help Roger and Sue get out, as well as use their assistance. The dream they created becomes a Multi-User Game. First a costume change, and then they're off.

73. But we have to check into the adventure dream again. Yes, this is more than a little confusing, perhaps. However, I wasn't going to just leave everything hanging - and we needed a break from that hospital.

Doreen returns while Joe waits, surprising her. As Joe defuses her, he brings her back into the Church proper, where the Father is ready with a native java, laced with goat's cream. Al is up and as charming as ever - and while everyone "knows" Doreen took off, they are all completely forgiving.

But what she was up to is exposed when the father tells them they have visitors in the canyon - apparently knowing this the entire time.

74. Joe, having a question, returns to the library to ask Campbell about the trickster archetype in his 'Hero's Journey'. Of course, Campbell gives him data about the shapeshifter as well, since that is probably what he is actually looking for. We have reference to the character of the person affecting the outcome of the dream. (And if you consider that all the archetypes have their own journey ongoing, this can get really involved...)

75. The Prefect escapes. Signs of a struggle, but the witch-doctor isn't the one who was hurt. And the sharks just continue to swim.

76. This is a classic walkthrough. Between Roger and Sue, they tell you how to play and win this game. All cut and dried.

A note: Roger's phone number is a prime.

I love this part. It is all timed exactly to win the game without having to figure it all out. That's what walkthroughs are for. When Sue explains the motivations for the characters, it gets real interesting - and tells a lot about people who think this world operates by massive conspiracies, machinated by various people in control. (Maybe it does...)

77. The Precept returns to his ruined castle. He's hurt badly, but sucks down a morphine to chill out.

Because he's talking to himself, we can follow his logic. And he sees that the worlds he's created are collapsing. The Anomaly has now told the others exactly how to get out of their dreams - or at least out from under the influence of the Prefect's coding.

However, we now are about to find out what this 'old-style Final Solution' is about. Doesn't look pretty.

78. In the Cartoon farm, Dog and Cat are keeping up with his progress by reading the Funny Papers. (Who needs a computer when you're a cartoon?) And the inside joke is that they know exactly what is going on - perhaps even influencing it, but we never know.

79. Joe returns to the library to get some more information on the Law of Attraction as it affects the universe through the Golden Rule. Again, he hits the deal that you have to give and let go of wanting in order to recieve. And that is completely counter-intuitive to how we've been taught all our lives, isn't it?

80. That counter-intuitive-ness leads him back to the kahuna. Interestingly, it's the kahuna who asks the first questions. In fact, he has to ask several before he can get a question out of Joe. The subject of Ho'oponopono is an interesting one, and well worth the research. As is the concept of Aloha.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Journey done, new one starts – Marketing the Book

Winner 2010 NaNoWriMo contest! Well, thanks for hanging in there.

Not only did I finish the book on time, it’s the right length and everything, but it’s also published through Lulu to now appear in local bookstores everywhere – as well as on Apple’s iBookstore. Meaning that you can read this book as a paperback, a PDF download, or something on your Kindle or other portable reader.

What was left after all that writing is now marketing it. And, not too surprising, this means publishing it.

There’s a lot of details to publishing, but when you’ve published a few dozen books, it gets simpler.

On this book, I published it as a paperback and then took the next step to publish it to Kindles and hand-held readers as well. Some won’t take PDF’s, so I converted it to the “epub” format – it’s own learning curve.

First, though, I had to make a cover – like this:


Now, I made a flat version first, then tweaked it in Photoshop to make it look like a real book. Go ahead – click on it. Then you can see the actual paperback where you can buy it.

If you go to my Go Thunk Yourself self-help bookstore, you will also see the eBook version. Yes, it’s cheaper to buy it for your Kindle, since no trees are harmed in it’s production. (We don’t have to pay loggers, and printers, and warehouse workers – plus, you get it immediately.)

And of course, it doesn’t stop here. Next on the lineup is to give it it’s own mini-site, which will tell you more about the book and gives you more of my inside scoop on what it took to write it. Even though I give you substantial commentary in the last of this book just to fill in some of the various cracks I left.

Once the site is up, then I start creating some articles about dream interpretation and meaning, which will hit the article directories. You see, when a person writes a novel, there is some requisite research to make it believable. So I have some work to tell you all about what was learned about dreams and how these are probably the glue which holds this universe together – if not the nuts and bolts themselves.

Since there’s still a lot of work to do, I won’t bore you with the details of marketing. But look for it hitting a lot of different online formats soon. Real soon.

Because there are a lot more items on my Life to-do list..

Commentary 14

66. Here's a short interlude. It appears that the Prefect still believes that Joe is in his actual world, and they are messing with his dreams only - that what they are doing is all in Joe's head. Slow learner.

Roger and Sue have something up their sleeves. But the Prefect was warned, wasn't he? Recall that Sue was in charge of backing up all the data, and Roger had access to the Prefect's private code base.

67. Pity not the Prefect. As I've said, he was warned. Now his world is different from the Academia he ruled. Captive of a witch-doctor in the canyon with the figure, he is now completely at effect. Yet the Prefect thinks he hasn't seen this before. So he must not believe the reports from Joe's dreams - or doesn't think they are "real".

68. Roger and Sue reveal their plan. And they have the scoop on the Prefect and how he's been hiding all the failures so he could continue to get funding and parlay that into a huge profit for himself.

Unfortunately, these two don't know how to get out of the white room they are now in.

69. Dog and Cat to the rescue. They bring them to the cartoon Farm, which Roger and Sue had only known as a "safe" subroutine before this. Now they were experiencing it in real life.

And, as is often said in this scene, life is good.

70. Meanwhile, things are more serious for the Prefect. Orange clouds, glowing statue, and a menacing witch-doctor. Now it's raining. Of course, he hears the canyon flash-flood coming and turns to run, but finds the witch-doctor trips him up with a bola as the wave crashes down on him...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Commentary 13

61. The game is on - basically because by being in the adventure, Joe isn't playing ball.

Now, interestingly, there's a scene out of "Sky Captain" movie, where the hero, heroine, and sidekick all wind up side by side - nude - in the same bed, waking up from an overdose of radiation. And they wake up better than ever, much as in this story.

If you haven't guessed by now, the white rocks are one-half of those amulets. They are life-giving, so are placed in boots to help restore the leather (among other things.)

Father George asks to see Joe's amulet shortly after his re-appearance. Here we see that there are a limited number of these amulets, and each has a family caretaker lineage. And Al tells his reason for sending it to Joe.

Al also starts to give us indications about Doreen - that she might be other than what is on the surface.

Now in this section is the complete description of the two types of stones, plus some indication of their power.

As they take their trip into the village, you could see that this would be a wonderful panoramic view - a village built into cliff-sides, above fertile files in the flood plains.

That reference to the native tongue being more meaningful than Spanish has it's roots in the various books about Huna I have read - Max Freedom Long tells a story of a witch-doctor who would speak spells in an ancient language as it had more power than modern ones. Huna is a language like this - very powerful meanings built into the language, which is how the Huna itself was preserved (See Long's book about this.)

Another side-bar: mixing silt with compost and manure does actually inject life back into it, in the form of various biota. Otherwise, silt is difficult to grow crops in, as it lacks oxygen and is tightly packed.

The canyon's flash floods are explained, and other aspects of the site - that because of the gorges and rocks below, the only way in is through a narrow winding footpath, and as well that the place is a dead zone - so no over-flights or other electronics to work here (and perhaps explains Doreen's lack of camera with her, not note if an old film-based camera would actually work - most had electronic or electric shutters.)

Father George now gives Joe a warning about Doreen, which is right at the end of the chapter, naturally...

62. Now this is odd - Joe stayed in the same dream for two sequences. But the prediction about Doreen comes true.

Again, the concept of inner peace available at any time to an individual is mentioned here.

63. We start to see the Prefect's thoughts - and he really is a one-dimensional character, if anyone is. Fame, money, power, respect - this guy is full of it. All insatiable desires. (Trace back what we've seen before about desires in this book and commentary, and you'll know exactly what the rest of his life is like.)

And Joe brings the whole thing to a halt, much as he did to Joe and Sue. White screens, anyone?

64. Speaking of which, here's the white room. And the Prefect gets a taste of his own medicine - or worse: he gets the truth.

Roger and Sue explain that they are now part of the Anomaly, so the game the Prefect is playing is done. While they are here to help him sort things out, the whole premise of what he was trying to accomplish is over.

And that line about Lady Justice holding a double-edged sword is true - check it out on Wikipedia. But it is corny.

65. Now the "Flight" begins. Joe has Campbell's "Boon", but needs to get out of this situation in the hospital-dream. Enter the pretty brunette he met earlier in the Garden. She appears to be a mind-reader, telling him he can call her Helen - but we never know if that's her actual name, or just a coincidence (as if anything is a coincidence in life - but that it another line of thought...)

She's gotten herself and him a change of clothes to get out of there. And the mirror shows up again.

Now the "long route" they need to take is just another mystery. Of course they aren't just going to walk out the front door. But here again is the use of lover-interaction to enable people around them to simply assume data about them. Joe is the red-blooded male beneficiary of this, but he is again following the woman's lead, as he did with Doreen.

There might be a mutual interaction which is necessary in life between sexes, but that's just a note on looking over the story as I wrote it. (Certainly, these females aren't submissive types.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Commentary 12

56. Here's an old joke which continues to infinity, until the audience figures it out - which is usually on the 4th or 5th time you repeat it. Yes it's appropriate - the world-dreams we live are just a continuing joke. Once you realize it, then?

57. Ah, but Joe turns the tables on our Factors, Roger and Sue. He brings them into the white space to get across a couple of points. He wanted to let them know that he knows and to caution them that the Golden Rule works - and it's their choice to ignore it or not. The white room just brings this to them like an exclamation point.

58. Now we return to the adventure. Joe apparently likes this one as a story he can fit in other data he is looking at into a format that is more exciting.

We meet Father George, who is telling about what you would do with a valley of people would couldn't be controlled by any government. Truly free people. The Spanish conquerors called them fools, but the shoe might be on the other foot.

Alphonse alludes to what they are looking for is inside. And we find white rocks which might be from some ancient meteor.

I love the explanation of the Sunday School stories. It just came to me, like the rest of this story. I'm just the teller here (and editor and proofreader, and now: commentator). But it fits beautifully.

It seems that the Spanish wrecked the village by being greedy, and so just cursed the place.

When Joe shows his amulet, Father George hints at Al's involvement in this.

Unfortunately, we get only snippets of data about this area and the stones. That is the way of fiction, after all. Stay tuned...

59. Here's the Precept's grand show. As wild as this is, much of this is feasible. The main point is that people think faster than even machines can keep up. So he's broken the various areas out into subroutines and assigned real-time teams to work these over with computer assistance (of course.)

In this Sue and Roger now guess the motivation of the Prefect and why he may have placed those books in the dream for Joe to find. This would then allow him to create a massive update of the code, which is then marketable by the Corporation, which he has some sort of connection.

The final point was that they were tapping the entire resources of a supercomputer for a short while - very, very expensive, and so there were no follow-up shifts. Profit motivation and investment.

Unfortunately for the Precept, we are about to see his world undone...

60. Even Dog and Cat are concerned about this one. But his secret weapon (which we already know about from the above) is unknown to the Prefect (while he's already given Roger and Sue a broad hint). And the other is that they are taking this seriously - which wasn't really touched on above, but you can actually work it out.