Reoccurring Dreams

Man, dreams were great when I was younger. They were insane and fun and had great atmosphere. Most of my dreams as an adult are alternately about boring things or nightmares about things happening to other people I am responsible for. Which are not fun.

As a kid I had a number of reoccurring dreams. I mean, I assume I did. The thing about reoccurring dreams is…are they really reoccurring? When you’re in the dream and you’re like, ah, yes, I have been here/done this before, have you really? Or is that just another layer to the dream?

For example, when I was in early elementary school, we lived in a tri-level house out in the woods. Lovely place. We had seven acres of land, so I spent most of my time outside, exploring rocks and trees and imagining stories of my own creation.

The basement, however, was dark, lined with dark wood paneling and having a single wall of windows on one end. The light end was great (except for the time I fell off the shelf and broke my arm). The dark end was dark and featureless (and had an actual dark room, which we just…didn’t use for anything).

At the time I had a series of dreams involving the dark end of the basement. In the dream, I’d go down the stairs, but instead of there being nothing, there was kind of an…evil carnival. What exactly was there changed from time to time, but it was definitely something I dreamed various times. (There was an alligator once, and another time some scruffy little boy stole my favorite stuffed animal.)

My reoccurring dreams are always linked by place. It’s the place that’s reoccurring, and the events may or may not be linked from dream to dream. Oftentimes what’s changed in the place is directly related to how long it’s been since I’ve dreamed that particular dream.

I had reoccurring dreams a lot as a child, as I mentioned above. But, all of sudden, I’m having them again as an adult. I mean, I’m dreaming those same places from when I was younger, not having new reoccurring dreams.

I had one last week, though I don’t remember what specifically it was anymore. And I had one last night.

Let me back up. As a kid, my grandparents’ house was one of my favorite places. It was where I saw and played with my cousins. It’s where we spent a lot of time when my parents were divorcing, where I first got to touch and learn how to use a computer (and play games), where I spent hours up the crabapple or jumping off the wall or lazing about in the hot tub. My grandfather had a mining consulting business in the basement, with pictures of huge equipment and coal cores (which I touched only once and then learned my lesson) and this giant printer–and my grandfather was my very favorite person, may he rest in peace.

So it makes sense that I had a dream grandparents’ house that I would visit. The dream one was huge, several stories tall, with a tower, and a rideable miniature railroad, and a pool, and part that looked like a castle inside and out, and museum exhibits, and a place to host haunted houses, and mini golf. A giant library. Huge rooms for me and my cousins to stay in. And there was a separate building in the back, which was the “original” house (whatever that means in dream world), smaller and more modest but still not at all related to the real-world house.

I dreamed of this version throughout my childhood, but I don’t think I have since my grandfather died (19 years ago). Or I might have once afterwards–I have a vague memory of something being wrong with the tower and it having to be anchored to the hill behind it–but no matter what, it’s been a while.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself there last night, surrounded by my family (including my uncle, dead these eight years). The house, if anything, had become grander and bigger in the years since. But there was an undertone of disuse and decay throughout. There was a burst pipe that no one had bothered to repair for several years. Portions of it (such as the castle and the pool) were open to the public.

But the general feeling was that we, the family, had to give the place up, that it was empty and falling apart, and that we’d lost control and there was nothing to be done.

Not the most optimistic of dreams, but also not that surprising. After my grandfather died, family get-togethers were never really the same. That’s to be expected, I think, and perhaps explains why the reoccurring dreams stopped.

And last summer, my grandmother decided to move out of that house I loved so much from my childhood and sell it. So maybe this was just that–a last dream farewell to someplace that meant a lot to me, but that is now (and to be honest, has been, at least emotionally) no longer available.

A little slow on the uptake–the house sold months ago–but a farewell nevertheless, and a thinly-veiled metaphor of how family changes as you age and people leave your life while new people enter it.

Man, it is a cool house, though. Maybe I’ll dream of it again sometime, in better times.

Hooray for Eurovision

Squiders, you would not believe how long it has taken me to get this written.

My community has gone through a lot in the last week, and while we’re working toward getting back to “normal,” it has been draining, physically, emotionally, and mentally.

As such, I haven’t gotten anything remotely creative done. You want to know what I’ve done related to writing since last Tuesday? I finished reading through the agent section in children’s writers market guide.

That is literally it.

I haven’t even wanted to read.

I don’t think I’ve ever not wanted to read before.

(I’ve been getting around this by listening to an audiobook. NPCs by Drew Hayes. One of my Goodreads groups is reading it for May and the library only had an audio version. I haven’t gotten very far, but I am getting somewhere, at least.)

Trauma sucks and I dislike it.

But fixating on negative things is bad and is bad for your health, so thank the world for aligning perhaps the most perfectly distracting event on Earth with this terrible time: Eurovision.

I love Eurovision. I love the concept, I love the variety of songs presented every year, and I especially love when something noteworthily out-there is in the running.

The larger, mobile one (home a lot lately, due to said traumatic events) is watching it with me. After the first semi-final, he’s backing Iceland (I wish I could be surprised, but this is a child who used to fall asleep when I listened to symphonic metal when he was an infant). I listened to all the songs so I am backing Norway all the way.

This is a bop and I love it unconditionally.

We haven’t gotten around to watching the second semi-final yet (and the U.S. is country-locked on the Eurovision YouTube for some unholy reason, so we’ve been watching on a Swedish television channel’s website), but we’ll get there.

(If you are unfamiliar with Eurovision, you poor person, here’s a pretty good summary. I think I became aware of it some years ago when the video of Dschinghis Khan’s Moskau was circulating around the ‘net.)

So, thank you, Eurovision, for being there and being awesome.

Free Comic Book Day Round-up

The small, mobile ones and I had a full day on Saturday, but managed to get to Free Comic Book Day at our local coffee shop/comic shop/game shop around 9 am, meaning we beat most everyone and still had a good selection to choose from. I got four and the small, mobile ones each got two (I had to supervise the larger, mobile one, who was attracted to the most violent of the superhero comics and quite frustrated when I would not let him have them).

Here’s what we ended up with:

My Hero Academia/The Promised Neverland

Two mangas out of Shonen Jump (and rated T I see in retrospect, so I probably shouldn’t have let him have this either, sigh). The My Hero Academia one is literally some random battle with very little context (larger, mobile one does not care). The Promised Neverland half seems to be the very first part of the manga, and it is intriguing looking. I’ve stuck it on my library to-read list.

Pokemon

Larger, mobile one is periodically obsessed with Pokemon (he has hundreds of cards, and we’re going to go see Detective Pikachu on Friday), so here we are. Two stories in one again, the first half being Pokemon the movie and seemingly a literal retelling of Ash and Pikachu’s first meeting. The second half is Pokemon Adventures, and is the start of Red starting out to become a Pokemon trainer.

Defend Comics

There’s 5 comics stuck in this one, so you don’t get much of any of them: Pilu of the Woods, Apocalypse Taco, Nobody’s Fool, A Fire Story, and Bags (Or a Story Thereof). Pilu looks cute, about a lost dryad. Apocalypse Taco involves a lot of creepy goo monsters. Nobody’s Fool is maybe about watching a movie? There’s literally 3 pages in here so who knows. A Fire Story seems to be about losing the artist’s home to a wildfire, but, again, 3 pages. Bags could be good or not (the main character is presented almost as a child’s drawing as a person while everything else is realistic) but again, not enough in here to say.

Wolfie Monster and the Big Bad Pizza Battle

The monsters in here are cute. Wolfie and his brothers run Magik Cheez pizza, but there’s a new pizza chain in town that wants to buy them out. Smaller, mobile one was quite enchanted, and is probably about the right age for this overall.

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor

I think I get the Doctor Who ones every year. Unlike previous years, there’s only a single story instead of having bits of ones from multiple doctors stuffed in. On one hand, great, because it’s nice to see a bit of a story arc instead of just set-up or a scene with no context. On the other, how come poor Twelve never got an issue to himself? I am intrigued by the 13th doctor but have not actually gotten a chance to watch the last season yet.

Star Wars Adventures

I got this one last year too, which I only realized when I started reading this one. Han and Chewie are caught up in schemes again. Like last year’s free comic, you get an entire story, which I appreciate.

A Sheets Story

Seems to be a story about a girl dealing with the death of her mother by having an imaginary friend who is essentially a floating sheet. (The sheet is real enough, but Wendell the ghost is…probably not?) Seems like it could be a good story. Has an ad on the back for a comic called Mooncakes which apparently involves cute witches and werewolves and I’m here for that too.

Lumberjanes

I’ve heard of the Lumberjanes before somewhere, so I actually put back some steampunk horror comic to pick this up. There’s two mini-comics in here with different artists, so what I’ve picked up is that it takes place at summer camp? And they fight monsters. I dig it.

That’s me for this year. You guys pick up anything good?

WriYe and Life

Another month, and I’m still keeping up with WriYe, which may be a miracle. April was really good from a productivity standpoint, and I’m almost done with revising the nonfiction books (and writing the parts I didn’t blog) and creating the workbooks. Hopefully we’ll have more or the same here in May.

That said, on to the prompts for the month.

Life is busy, sometimes often insane. How do you find the time to write within your life?

I laughed since, you know, this is literally one of the nonfiction books I’ve been working on (the second to last one I revised, in fact).

But basically, it comes down to the fact that you have to make time for writing. You can normally fit some in, no matter what else is going on, whether you’re using diction while you’re breastfeeding or getting up early or dedicating one night a week as writing time. You’ll have to sacrifice something, but that might just be television time or a little bit of sleep.

That being said, there are times when you just don’t have the mental capacity to write on top of everything else, and it is okay to accept that and try writing again later when your circumstances have changed.

Me personally, I write while the small, mobile ones are at school, and I can normally make one or two writing group meetings a month, where writing can also occur. And one day each weekend I normally get up an hour early and get something done.

Bonus:
How do you deal with procrastination? What are your favorite tips/tricks to stay on track?

Ahahahahahaha I am the worst procrastinator. The current issue is games on my phone (and the dreaded podcasts, but mostly the games). I deal with this by using an app called Forest that locks out your phone for a specific amount of time (that you set), and if you successfully leave your phone alone, you get a bush or tree for your forest (more time gets more impressive plants). I also purposefully leave my phone in a different room where it’s out of sight, out of mind.

And if I do need a mental break, I’ll try to remember to set a timer before I get the phone or dive into the Internet, so the break doesn’t get out of control.

Hope April was good for you too, squiders! I’m in the middle of 50 million books and need to start finishing some (and stop starting new ones).

The Podcasts, Oh No

A few weeks back we talked about getting back into podcasts, and I mentioned three I was listening to and enjoying.

Well, squiders, the whole thing has been a mistake. By which I mean, it’s become a huge time sink.

My three podcasts are up to six. Since the last post I’ve added:

Limetown

Well, technically I didn’t add Limetown. When I logged back into my podcast app after my three-year absence, it was already in my saved programs. I have no recollection of adding it, but hey, it is my favorite mix of mystery/horror/fake journalism. I’ve listened to about a third of the first season, and I do like it. But it and Tanis are pretty similar, so I’m trying not to mix the two.

And then two I’ve added but have yet to listen to:

The Once and Future Nerd

I did start this one on the way over here, but there were a surprising amount of cuss words and I had a child in the car, so I turned it off. I got this (and the following one) off a list of best fantasy podcasts. Most of the ones on the list were taped D&D sessions, which are not my jam, but this one is a story, so I thought I’d give it a try. It’s been going forever, though, so it’s going to be a pain to catch up on. Also, not impressed in the two minutes I’ve listened to, but that doesn’t mean anything.

Inn Between

I really haven’t started listening to this one, but it’s not that old, so at least it won’t take forever to listen to. And the episodes are short, thank the Lord. The list sold this as what happens at the inn in between adventures. Hopefully there will be less cussing.

The biggest issue has been Tanis, which I mentioned last time, and is one of these mystery/horror stories presented as a radio show. I got super invested in it, so I started listening to it when I had a few minutes here or there, but you can’t just listen to part of an episode, and the episodes are long–35 to 45 minutes–and you get the point.

I think I listened to three episodes yesterday instead of, you know, writing.

But I’ve gotten to the end of the first season, so in theory I’m going to listen to Limetown and catch up on some of the podcasts without seasons (and thank goodness for seasons, it’s very nice to have a designated break point).

Or, also in theory, I will break and start the second season and everything else will languish.

The second issue is the Myths and Legends podcast which, while a more reasonable 25-35 minutes per episode and usually tame enough that I’m not going to traumatize the small, mobile ones if it’s on the radio in the car, tends to tell stories in multi-episode chunks. Right now I have a 3-part King Arthur episode downloaded.

Anyway, tl;dr–I’m spending my time listening to podcasts instead of, you know, reading the SIX BOOKS I’m in the middle of, or writing.

Advice on how to stop when I need to, squiders?

(I almost asked for podcast recommendations, but then I realized that was a TERRIBLE idea.)

Project Overload

I’ve reached that point in the project where you starting wanting to write other things than what you’re writing. Which is ridiculous, for a couple of reasons.

  1. I’m not that far into any of the projects I am working on.
  2. I’m already working on a ridiculous amount of projects.

(Also, I have two library books which have just…disappeared into the ether. I seriously have no idea where they’ve gone, and the library wants them back.)

(Also we have a ton of books out right now because our branch reopened two weeks ago after being closed for four months, and we went a bit wild. I myself have four novels and six nonfiction books out, and that doesn’t count the two novels I have since read and returned.)

Two ideas are vying for time on top of the nonfiction books/workbooks, writing class, picture book, and writing class/fae novel projects.

The first I talked about briefly before, a YA fantasy novel I worked on and queried way back in the 2008-2011 time frame, and the second is a paranormal mystery series I have been slowly planning over the last year.

(Planning in this case includes pinning things to a Pinterest board and occasionally writing ideas down in the notebook I put aside for it. And reading old–1990s time frame–books about writing mysteries which are probably out of date, but which I got for free from my mother.)

I just finished a historical mystery this morning, and I tend to read a lot of mysteries, and whenever I do so it reminds me of my own series that I am not writing because there are not enough hours in the day.

Actually, I’ve got a lot of stories in planning for not actually planning to work on any of them in the near future. Aside from the Landsquid books, I’ve got three other potential children’s series in various stages of planning. There’s the mystery, and also the steampunk mystery, series. The prequel to the fantasy trilogy. A scifi horror novella on a space station.

It’s times like these that I wish that I worked faster. And stopped getting distracted by horror mystery podcasts.

But don’t worry, squiders! I’m being good. The current projects (and, quite honestly, probably a couple of them) will be finished before I chase the next shiny thing.

I think, anyway.

Time Management Has Failed Me

Here’s a question. How do you go to two writing meetings at the same time?

Or, perhaps more pressing, why would I schedule two writing meetings at the same time?

Well, the answer to that is easy, and that is that I forgot to put one on my calendar and so thought I was open when I rescheduled the other.

As an alternative but similar issue, Thursday night I must: go to smaller, mobile one’s art show, take the larger, mobile one to soccer practice, and run a writing meeting, all in the same time frame. Soccer and the art show overlap. I could make the husband take the larger, mobile one to soccer and take the smaller, mobile one to the art show, then drop said smaller, mobile one at soccer and go to the writing meeting, thus making the smaller, mobile one have to go through the art show twice.

Or I go to the art show myself, without the child with art in it, and then on to the writing meeting, and let the rest of my family fend for itself. OR I am late to my writing meeting, because we all go to soccer and then the art show and by then, I am an hour late to a meeting I am running.

So probably not the last one.

Back to the first problem. One of the writing meetings is online, so in theory I can go to the in-person one and then log into the online one while I am at the in-person one, assuming that there is wifi (possibly?) and that I won’t look like a wanker being on my computer in a setting where everyone takes notes in physical notebooks.

And that my laptop battery maintains life for the entirety of the meeting, which might be asking too much of the poor thing.

Said in-person meeting is also an hour away from where I live, so perhaps it’s just best to avoid two hours of driving and wait until the meetings rotate back up closer to home.

What have we got, squiders? Personally, I’m leaning toward giving the in-person meeting a pass and doing the online one instead. The soccer/art show/writing meeting issue remains in the air. I would move the writing meeting (since, you know, I run it) but I have new people signed up to come and that is confusing for them. Maybe I can push it back half an hour and no one will notice?

(Except that’s still not enough time. I’d have to go straight from soccer to writing meeting, and I will still miss the art show. But I should move the meeting back in general. Yesssss. ::makes note to self::)

At least I’m getting out of the house?

Vaguely Fae

As a part of the writing/career class I’m taking, the teacher advocated against doing a ton of research/worldbuilding, instead focusing on what’s interesting and what’s important.

On one hand, yes, this can be a horrible, slippery slope, where one disappears into their work and never gets to the actual writing.

But on the other, it feels a bit weird, and, to some extent, a bit disingenuous.

This teacher is a self-acknowledged over-worldbuilder, so I understand why she’s teaching this way, but especially with stories involving mythology, I like to delve into the mythology itself, so I can see what aspects best fit the story, and use it to shape the story itself.

I’m just saying, Shards would be a completely different story if I just said “I’m going to write a book about angels” and went off without doing any more research than what I knew off the top of my head.

But in the interest of trying new things, I’m holding off. So far. I’m strongly considering doing more research (and yes, worldbuilding) because I feel weirdly adrift at the moment and it’s making writing harder than it needs to be.

The story I’m working on for the class involves changelings, and so, by extension, the fae. I’d like to stick to your old world trickster sort of faerie, and a lot of the book will take place in the Otherworld.

Working from memory, I’ve got:

  • allergic to iron or whatever (iron burns)
  • DO NOT ACCEPT GIFTS OR FOOD
  • Time works all weird in the Otherworld
  • Fae are good at illusions
  • DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR NAME
  • Never offer to pay a faerie for anything
  • There’s two courts: seelie (summer)/unseelie (winter)
  • Veil between worlds that’s only passable at certain times/places

(I even have the perfect book to use for research. It’s Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages by Claude Lecouteux. I got it out from the library while I was doing my Shards research and liked it so much that I got myself a copy.)

Now, it’s entirely possible that I’ve misunderstood, and that it’s really worldbuilding to be avoiding (beyond identifying what’s interesting and causes conflict) and research is fine. (I mean, what if you were doing historical fiction?) I should probably double check that. Ask in the forums, maybe?

Any good fae mythology to share, squiders? (Especially related to the Otherworld itself.) Or good sources for research, if I give in to my itch?

Trying Podcasts Again

I like podcasts, squiders, at least in theory. The biggest issue is finding time to listen to them (or remembering to listen to them).

I don’t commute, so I don’t have transportation time. Sometimes I’ll remember to turn one on if I’m mowing the lawn or mopping the floor, but that goes back to the whole remembering thing again. And I can’t think and listen, so I can’t listen to them while I’m working (and am in awe that anyone can).

I had some marketing/writing ones that I used to listen to, but the issue was that invariably I would be doing something else while listening, so I’d have to stop both the podcast and whatever it was if I wanted to write down notes on the podcast content.

So, they’re not the greatest fit for me, or at least, I haven’t figured out how to fit them in. But I’m trying again. Not sure why. It’s like…I was standing there one day, and I thought, “Wow, I haven’t listened to Night Vale in forever,” and opened my podcast app on my phone (apparently never before opened on this particular phone, so I had to remember passwords and sundry), and here we are.

(I was over three years behind on Night Vale, so, wow, it has been forever.)

But for the last three weeks or so I’ve been listening again. When I was working on the consignment sale stuff, it was easy to listen to a few episodes here and there while pricing stuff, so I made some good mileage there. And the podcasts autoplay whenever the car and the phone pair, which is a little annoying (for example, if it’s a five-minute car ride and the small, mobile ones want to talk to me, and I’ve got to figure out how to dig my phone out of my pocket and pause the podcast, or if I don’t have the sound on, so it just autoplays itself with no one listening) but does mean that I’m not forgetting them.

So here’s what I’m (for the moment) listening to:

Welcome to Night Vale

Everyone knows Night Vale at this point, I suspect. On the off-chance you don’t (really?), it’s the community radio for a town somewhere in the American Southwest where every conspiracy theory is real.

I can see why I stopped listening–it’s a bit formulaic, which makes sense, so it gets a little old after a bit–but it is nice to see what I missed. I mean, I’m still 50 episodes behind, but I’m catching up. Also, every now and then there is a truly great episode. Episode 79 (Lost in the Mail) may have made me cry.

Myths and Legends

My spouse recommended this to me, because he knows I love mythology (and also he’s caught up on Night Vale and several other stories he’s listening to, and has time to poke around), and so far, so good. Every week the host tells all or part of a myth/legend and includes a creature of the week. I’m about six episodes in, I think, and so far we’ve covered one of King Arthur’s knights (Yvaine), Aladdin, and are part of the way into the Volsung saga of Norse mythology (apparently a major influence for Tolkien).

Tanis

My podcast app very quickly caught on to my particular brand of madness, and so keeps recommending me horror/mystery/supernatural docudramas and stories. Now, going back to the fact that I am bad at podcasts, I’ve mostly ignored said recommendations, but I did listen to the first episode of Tanis, which is a mystery horror podcast that presents itself as a journalist searching for this ancient idea of “tanis,” of which there are hints throughout history (Wikipedia tells me it’s “deep fiction” since nowhere does the show or its creators acknowledge it’s fictitious).

The first episode does a good job of dragging you in, so I’m going to give a few more episodes a try. They’ve also got a sister show, The Black Tapes, which is also mystery horror presented as reality, except having to do with ghosts, I think.

Listening to any good podcasts, squiders? Thoughts on these ones? Thoughts on how I can stick to/make time for listening in a way that doesn’t eat sections of my day?

Books by Kit Campbell

City of Hope and Ruin cover
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Shards cover
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Hidden Worlds cover
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