Sunday, April 17, 2011

On Writing: Beijing

In high school, I was first introduced to the concept of lucid dreaming. Before then, I'd wavered between thinking everyone could do it, they just didn't like to talk about it and being alone in my ability. My Intro to Psychology and Intro to Fiction classes changed all that. I followed those studies far beyond the range of the classroom's limited curriculum and went in search of more information both from non-fictional and fictional sources, the latter which seemed the more willing to share details. 
I found Carlos Castenada and Don Juan, and thought them limiting and short-sighted; I found Stephen LaBerge and thought him remedial at best; I found Charles deLint and fell in love with his characters, finding their stories inspiring and full of hidden information. ...
One night, I went to bed, and for the first time, I felt dream paralysis. I had certainly read about it before, as anyone who delves into the world of lucid dreaming does, but had never experienced it before. I opened my eyes, and saw myself laying on my bed, staring up at myself. I tried to move, but I couldn't, just hovering and watching myself. Then, without any willing participation of my own, my body sat up, climbed out of bed, slipped on my shoes, and walked out of my cabin.
From "Cairo" by Ace Edmonds, available on

It was not my intention to write this second piece, but after I wrote "Beijing" (about a character named Cairo), I felt drawn to write the other, especially as many people were commenting positively on the first piece.

Above is a short excerpt from "Cairo," which is written from Beijing's point of view, but in a different style from Cairo's. Beijing is writing a letter, an account of what happened to her, and how she got to where she is today, the mental hospital that also hold Cairo. She is linear, meticulous, and good at paying attention to detail. She is also educated on dreaming, more so than Cairo. She is drawn to take the educated route to reach deeper into her dreams, unlike Cairo who is more intuitive.

I will admit to receiving a lot of inspiration myself from Charles deLint, but I do my best not to take directly from his stories. I have read about Mabon, and what Beijing creates in the dream world is similar, but it's not the same. The reason it's not the same is my character and his character are different people. His character actually does wander into the dream world and finds it not to her liking (if I remember correctly) and later decides that she's satisfied in just visiting the place in her dreams (and I don't remember her name or which book it happens in either, sorry).

Beijing wants to live in the dream world. Beijing is also her own person, a very different character from deLint's, and I hope to get the opportunity to tell you more about her.

Lastly (before I start working on "On Writing: Cairo"), for those who read "The First Time:" inspiration for that piece was drawn heavily from a direct quote of deLint's, and though I did not give credit in these pieces, If you look in the description, there is a link to the original posting of "The First Time" where full credit is given.