Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Why Does Love Do This to Me?

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  • BenWilson,

    And then I'd go 'well if its only a dream, I can fly!!' And off I'd go.

    So far as I could make out, that is exactly what a lucid dream was. I had pretty much the same thing, curious that flying is such a popular choice. If I had to line up 10 fantastic things I most want to do, flying would not actually be in them. I guess it must seem plausible to us, at some level, that it's a fantasy, but not too much of one to blow the whole thing and wake us up. Which was pretty much what happened any time I tried to lead my dreams towards a really hot threesome.

    So even now its very rare for me to have a dream where I'm not aware on some level that it is a dream.

    Of the ones you remember, that is? It's pretty hard to be sure how many dreams you have in a night - you'd probably need to be kept under observation. Even then, I don't really know how anyone can be sure how long in 'dream time' they were. Some people have credibly reported having very long and elaborate dreams between the chimes of a clock. Credible because the chimes featured in the dream. Others are woken at the end of a quite long REM phase, and report having dreams that seemed to them to have lasted only seconds. But people who believe that they don't dream at all are mostly disabused of this notion if they are deliberately woken during REM.

    So even now its very rare for me to have a dream where I'm not aware on some level that it is a dream.

    I think this must be close to the ultimate in self-consciousness.

    Well the techniques propounded for having lucid dreams mostly involved being constantly self conscious. Like making a habit during the day of questioning yourself "Am I dreaming?". Which supposedly leads to you question it in your sleep, at which point you might notice that you are, and switch to lucid state.

    Unfortunately I found that it was a habit that lead to profound insomnia. "Am I dreaming?" "No, for fuck's sake, and you never will be if you never shut up". I did learn a lot about my dreams, but I forgot everything I'd ever known about how to get to sleep, and I'm still trying to rediscover it today.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Bevan Shortridge,

    "people who write erotic versions of Star Trek where all the characters are Furries and put a Furry version of themselves as the star of the story'

    I know you are supposed to learn something new every day, but does this apply even when you don't want to? And quite possibly wish you hadn't?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I know you are supposed to learn something new every day, but does this apply even when you don't want to? And quite possibly wish you hadn't?

    It's rapidly turning into my reason for being, so I'm saying yes.

    James Marsters is tangential to a contemplation of slashfiction? Who do you think you're kidding?

    Not Russel T Davies or Joss Whedon, who both know exactly what they're doing. (Joss is on record as saying of course Angel and Spike had sex before Angel got his soul back. Slash-ficcers don't have to get stuff past network executives.)

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    People just should not be allowed write erotic versions of much loved TV shows.

    it is just plain wrong.

    I can never watch the Flintstones again.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    My girlfriend gets very excited when she dreams about receiving something (like dinner at a restaurant) but wakes up before she dreams about paying.

    I get the opposite. I dream that I'm at work (usually when it's stressful) and feel ripped off that I'm not getting paid for the hours. You should get time and a half for that, especially when you're all awkward for being at work in your nightie and nothing makes sense.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 781 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Have you ever genuinely solved a work problem in your sleep?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Yep. It's when I do some of my best writing. Not enough lately tho.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16272 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    You may mock, but there is something useful to be learned from writing M&B pulp. 50-55,000 words is the required length, roughly 180-190 book pages. I know this because I wrote one. Oh, the shame!

    My only excuse is that I did it when I had two wide-eyed, sleep-defying children under three and a husband working 12 hour shifts. It's all a bit of a blur now, but writing a few pages of bilge every day or night actually kept me sane. And you do figure out exactly how long 50k words is, in terms of how to structure the story, build the tension and get the climax in the right place. Because you know you're writing rubbish, it kind of frees you because you don't take it, or yourself, seriously. It was alot of fun and I do remember lots of hysterical laughter and falling off the couch when I'd gone especially OTT.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Oh, the shame!

    Finishing a book of any kind is nothing to be ashamed of. I know people get terribly snobby about romance novels, but for me they're simply not to my taste. I DO like formula detective fiction, so there's no moral high ground there. (Also the pron, doubly so.)

    I also don't really have problems with fanfic. We ban it at Bardic Web, but only for copyright and disciplinary reasons. (It leads to fights.) But if people are having fun, good gods, who cares. Formula fic and fanfic both provide structure, which can be an enormous help if you've never written anything large-scale before. It teaches you to write even when you don't feel like it, which is pretty much essential if you're ever going to finish anything (not my strong point). And if you're having fun it'll come through in your writing.

    Oddly I also finished a book when I had two children under three. I'd get up to feed and then stay up and write.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Finishing a book of any kind is nothing to be ashamed of.

    With the possible exception of Mein Kampf.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    People just should not be allowed write erotic versions of much loved TV shows.

    it is just plain wrong.

    I can never watch the Flintstones again.

    Dude, if it was right it wouldn't be half as fun.

    Not Russel T Davies or Joss Whedon, who both know exactly what they're doing. (Joss is on record as saying of course Angel and Spike had sex before Angel got his soul back. Slash-ficcers don't have to get stuff past network executives.)

    I'm pretty sure that this was also referred to in the show (Angel) although in an off-hand manner, so as to sneak past said network execs.

    What's interesting is that even the BBC shows Russel T Davies isn't making are getting pretty slash-heavy; I refer you to Merlin, which is basically the Arthurian legends back when they were all devastatingly gorgeous twenty-somethings who spent their time fighting monsters, hiding their magic abilities, and being gay. Even, unsually for your average slashy show, the women. It's brilliant. (Plus: Anthony Stewart Head! Santiago Cabrera! You can't lose!)

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2092 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Oddly I also finished a book when I had two children under three. I'd get up to feed and then stay up and write.

    Yeah, when I finally got one or both kids asleep, I'd be the wide awake zombie who didn't know what day it was. The husband worked really mixed hours, day or night, so all routine was lost.

    And it was useful experience for doing creative writing papers at uni, not genre-wise, but the construction stuff. Altho I did manage to piss off a professor with a story he considered mere pron fantasy - I'm sure you would have appreciated it Emma!

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Susannah Shepherd,

    Fond as I am of a bit 'o slash occasionally, production and consumption thereof, the concept of sporty slash just isn't doing it for me - and I don't think it's just because of the RPF squick factor. (The Marshall twins: that's just wrong wrong wrong in too many ways to count.)

    Perhaps it's the anti-intellectualism in the way sport and sportsmen are presented to us in the media - when I think of good slash pairings, it's usually men who *think*. Who does that leave us with? Please Lord, not Anton Oliver...

    P.S. I once saved the taxpayer about $4M as the result of a dream. I doubt I've ever done anything so useful in a day at work while awake. :-)

    Wellington • Since Jan 2008 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    P.S. I once saved the taxpayer about $4M as the result of a dream.

    Yeah, you might have to tell us a little bit more about that.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Yeh - please do tell (although you may have to adopt sporting metaphors to conceal crucial identities). :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16272 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I can never watch the Flintstones again.

    Oh please. 'Pebbles' and 'Bambam'? They were watching porn when they chose the names.

    My daughter is named after a young woman that I met in a dream that I had when I was a teenager (all very good taste, I believe I took her home to meet my mother who gave her a hug).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6147 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Have you ever genuinely solved a work problem in your sleep?

    Most of the time, actually. A lot of my work involves design for building alteration/renovation. I like to finish a job in my head before I physically do much of the prep work and most of the time it "comes to me in a dream". I often get "Nagged" about starting a job when I am really hard at work. :-)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    tokyo • Since Nov 2006 • 628 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    eh?

    tokyo • Since Nov 2006 • 628 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Another of the contributors, Joan Smith, says she has been fielding scandalised callers demanding to know why a feminist such as herself would even countenance writing erotica.

    Yeah, I think there's probably another column full of ragey frustration there.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Susannah Shepherd,

    P.S. I once saved the taxpayer about $4M as the result of a dream.

    Well, I did try to come up with a complicated sporting metaphor (involving Duckworth-Lewis, a horrendous run-chase and the Marshall twins) but failed miserably.

    The boring and prosaic truth is that we were given a big project to get up and running fast - which meant the costings were a bit, um, back of envelope. I had a nagging feeling we'd got something wrong, and my brain helpfully explained exactly how at 4 am on a Saturday - it was a fairly lucid dream, apart from the dancing trees. So I piled out of bed, chucked it into a spreadsheet before I could forget the whole lot, emailed my colleagues at 4.30 am to demonstrate my martyrdom to the cause :-) and went back to bed. End result: we managed to avoid procuring a whole big bunch of stuff we didn't need.

    Not all public servants believe that underspends are evil...

    Wellington • Since Jan 2008 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Most of the time, actually.

    That's pretty cool. I once believed I'd solved a particularly difficult maths problem in my sleep, and got up to write it all down. When I woke up in the morning and had a look at it, it was random garbage.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Speaking of garbage, I have tried writing night thoughts without turning the light on. Once.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16272 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I once believed I'd solved a particularly difficult maths problem in my sleep, and got up to write it all down. When I woke up in the morning and had a look at it, it was random garbage.

    There's an episode of Seinfeld about this very thing of course.

    And Susannah... I believe we all owe you a dollar each.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    i did a series of dream workshops a long time ago, that involved keeping a dream journal handy, to write down/draw dreams as soon as you awoke from one. Followed by a bit of musing on the content later. After a while of this paying attention, your dreaming self seems to respond to your conscious musings by using the images/symbols you're concentrating on, often clarifying the meanings. It's an extension of going to sleep with a question on your mind and having the answer the next day.

    Our dream group met every few weeks and used the more significant scenes from our dreams as starters to act out/perform and otherwise develop the possibilities. It sounds a bit weird, i know, but the whole process intensified everyone's dreamworld and we began to figure out what our own dream language was. Fascinating stuff for artists and writers.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

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