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    1. Kissing Clones (DILD)

      by , 07-02-2015 at 09:46 PM
      My brother and I were visiting my mom in the new house she was buying (no basis in WL). He was somewhere getting ready to leave—he was going to drive home for a day to take care of something and then come back on Wednesday. Currently it was Monday night.

      I followed my mom as she showed me around the house. Although it was very spacious, and beautiful from the outside, it was becoming apparent that a lot of things needed repair. She mentioned water damage as we entered the kitchen, and I saw that a number of floorboards in front of the sink were a different color, evidence that they had been replaced. When she turned on the faucet a lot of water immediately started flooding out from underneath the sink cabinet, so evidently the problem had not yet been solved.

      I noticed that all around the sides and back of the sink area was a kind of moat: the floorboards had been cut away to reveal an open area full of water. I remembered our little dog that had drowned in the cistern under the kitchen floor many years ago, and worried this might be a hazard to our current pets. If one of the cats fell in, would they be able to get out? The prospects didn't look good.

      "We'll have to cover this up." As we left the kitchen, I noticed that below the floorboards that had been cut away, I could see down to the basement, where thin wooden columns were spaced widely at intervals. "It's unnerving to see how little is holding up the floor we're walking on," I commented. It was even more unnerving when I saw how many posts were missing, as though they had rotted away. Repairs were going to be expensive. I was almost relieved to remember that I wouldn't be living here, but I thought I should do something to help my mom. Would $500 be a good donation to the repair fund? It probably wouldn't go far, though, given everything that needed to be done.

      Mom wanted to show me the attic, which was accessed by climbing a ladder through a disturbingly narrow shaft. She went up first, and as I followed I had to push back a rising feeling of claustrophobia at how tight the space was. I'm not normally claustrophobic but this was as narrow as a chimney... I felt hemmed in on all sides, and was afraid of getting stuck. I reminded myself that my mom had already gone up so I should be fine, and kept climbing until I had squeezed through.

      The attic was surprisingly nice given how difficult it was to access. It was a finished space with white walls and built-in bookshelves. Books were scattered all over the floor, but from the titles—throwaway pop culture stuff—I thought they must have beened abandoned by the previous owner. More bookshelves were always a plus, though we would have to make sure to shelve things up here that we didn't need to use very often.

      Then I noticed the washer and dryer, and my heart sank. You've got to be kidding me. "This is seriously where we have to do the laundry?" My voice rose with indignant disbelief. If I could barely fit through the shaft to climb up, how was I ever going to manage with a basket or an armful of clothes? And who thought it was a good idea to route the plumbing all the way up here? "We'll need to install some kind of dumbwaiter," was the best suggestion I could come up with.

      I explored far side of the attic room. Just past the washer and dryer was a small, irregularly shaped door in the wall, only a few feet high. I've always loved the strange little doors you sometimes find in old houses. I wonder where this one leads? I opened the door and behind it was a second door, identical to the first. That's odd... why would that... wait a minute! I am stunned by a sudden recollection. I have seen this kind of thing before! The door behind a door... that's something that happens in dreams! Could I really be dreaming? It still feels unlikely, but I look down at my right hand, palm facing up. For the most part it looks normal, but the top joint of my little finger is missing. It is round and smooth like an ordinary finger, but with only one joint rather than the normal two. And the ridge of the fingernail poking up past the truncated digit is long and blue. I keep my fingernails short and never color them. This is definitely not my proper hand.

      I'm still dumbfounded to realize that I was dreaming... often I have a vague dream awareness even in my NLDs, but this time there had not even been a trace of it. I might never have discovered it at all if it had not been for that glitch with the door.

      When did the dream begin? I try to think back. I was visiting my mom at her new house and then... wait... was that a different house, or was it this house? I realize that the only way I'll know when the dream started is to figure out when I went to sleep. I realize that I don't remember going to sleep at all. I was so tired, I must have just dropped off. But where? I was visiting the house for the first time, I wasn't even sure I had been assigned a place to sleep yet. I decided that the most likely place was a couch where I remembered sitting earlier.

      So had I dreamed the part about my brother visiting, or had he really been there too, and maybe I fell asleep before I could say goodbye? I tried to reconstruct the circumstances. My brother had been getting ready to leave and I had wanted to take a shower. I had already been rubbing shampoo in my hair when my mom told me that the water wasn't running, so I was stuck with shampoo in my hair and no way to get it out. Now the puzzling part... did this happen before or after I fell asleep? Might I already have been dreaming when I put the shampoo in my hair? The illogic of applying shampoo before I even undressed or got in the shower never occurred to me. Instinctively I reached up to feel my head, even though I was aware of the illogic of this gesture: even if I had been awake when I'd used the shampoo, there was no reason it couldn't manifest in the dream. My hair felt dirty but I couldn't tell if it was shampoo residue or just because it needed to be washed. In the end I couldn't figure out at which point in the evening's events I might have fallen asleep.

      [The real answer is that my memories of the evening did not include a single accurate detail from WL other than that I had gone to bed hungry, so everything I remembered had already been a part of the dream.]

      Should I keep exploring the house? Maybe, but I want to get out of this attic... not through that narrow shaft, though. There should be a better way down. I half hope for, half will into existence a set of stairs that I "discover" when I turn around. In a flash of dream logic, while I'm descending the stairs I forget it is the attic I'm leaving and momentarily think it is the basement, so it strikes me as strange that the house has a sub-basement. But by the time I reach the foot of the stairs I'm back to thinking of my new location as the second story.

      I don't want to waste the dream wandering around aimlessly, so I pause and try to think of a task. What were those new TOTMs? Plant a seed? I want to do that one, but I'd rather save it for some time when I find myself outside. Hmm... there was the one about cloning. It might be tough, given my usual difficulties summoning DCs, but I figure it is worth a try. I notice a tall mirror in the room and decide to use my reflection as the basis for the clone. The reflection looks satisfyingly accurate, and I see that I am wearing a loose ankle-length white dress. My hair is down but held back from my face with a headband. I decide that the simplicity of my appearance will make it easier to create the clone, so I simplify it further by removing the headband. I consider trying to pull my reflection out of the mirror to serve as the clone, but reason that a clone is not the same thing as a reflection, so instead I focus on recreating a copy of myself in the same room. This goes surprisingly well. I turn and look expectantly to my right, and there she is!

      I take my double's left hand in my right, and side by side we start walking together. I recall the TOTM instructed that we are supposed to perform some activity together, either cooperative or competitive. Walking is an activity, I suppose, but not very interesting one, so I suggest, "Let's skip!" Hand in hand we skip along for a few paces. Then we stop and look at each other. I am fascinated by the conviction that she really does look just like me. I should check, though... maybe she has a different idea of the situation.

      "Who are you?" I inquire, watching closely to observe her response. She briefly considers the question.

      "You're here," she replies, touching her fingers to the center of her chest.

      I am touched and delighted by her confirmation of our bond, our shared identity. At the same time, I start to feel something unexpected. The longer I look at her, the more attractive I think she is... more attractive than I usually see myself. Is it strange to be attracted to your own double? Does this reflect on me in some way? Moved by growing desire, I ignore the psychological quandaries and step very close to her.

      "Can I?" I ask suggestively, letting the question trail off.

      "Like, sexually?" She seems to understand what I am hinting at, but wants confirmation.

      At my nod she indicates that she is willing, so we embrace and start kissing one another. Our desire is mutually reinforcing, and things are heating up fast. At the same time, the clinical part of my mind is reasoning that this is very odd and unexpected, on both our parts, since I am not normally someone with a strong libido. But we all know how raunchy dreams can be! Still standing, my clone and I paw and grind against one another until I orgasm and wake up.

      Updated 07-02-2015 at 10:29 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the month
    2. Reflections / Zznvogayi (WILD + FA)

      by , 06-08-2015 at 08:24 PM
      Ritual: I haven't let myself get bothered by my dry spell of the last few weeks, since it was easily attributable to lack of motivation and practice. My work life has been much more relaxed, so I think dreaming has been less psychologically necessary. I'm starting to observe a consistent pattern where I get lucid more frequently and intensely at times when I am under the most stress in waking life. I always think I'll have more time to work on dreaming when that stress disappears, but usually I find my motivation disappears along with it. I think this is because when I have more free time, I indulge in other kinds of experiences that satisfy my mind in a way similar to dreaming: films, books, and especially computer games.

      Recently I started getting irritated with the bad dream recall and lack of lucidity, and decided to put more work into it. I did a few WILD attempts where my inability to count much higher than ten revealed my lack of mental focus and clarity, and they went nowhere. Today I found myself wide awake after sleeping four hours, a perfect WBTB, so I decided to try again. I didn't want to take any active supplements (alpha-gpc, galantamine, or piracetam), but I also didn't want to miss out on the placebo effect and reifying of intentions that might be gained from swallowing something, so I took a few tablets of bacopa and one of NAC. For good measure I also strapped on my MotivAider, set to 45 minutes, then lay down to do some counting. My focus was still crap.

      I was not fully asleep yet when I felt the first pulse of the MotivAider, however it roused me enough that I noticed I was seeing some really amazing hypnagogic patterns. This is the first time I've experienced such distinctly geometric and symmetrical patterns in the hypnagogic state. I got up to use the bathroom and was amazed at the way the patterns persisted every time I closed my eyes, moving and transforming. I was tempted to wake up more fully to sketch them, but realized I could make better use of this state, so I preserved it and kept watching the imagery as I lay back down in bed.

      I decided to skip the counting this time and work directly on tactile sensations. I concentrated on trying to move the dream body without activating my real one, and there was that inevitable ambiguity at first, but then I reached up to touch my face and I was pretty sure it was my dream arm that did it. I felt around my mouth with my tongue and was sure of it: the taste in my mouth felt too flat, too muted, to even be the normal background mouth-taste that we typically overlook. When I was confident that I had integrated into the dream body, I got up into my bedroom.


      WILD, "Reflections / Zznvogayi": It is my first time getting lucid this month, so I decide to try a TOTM. The mirror task is convenient, since there are large mirrored sliding closet doors only steps away from my bed. I walk over and stand in front of one. At first I think the reflection bears a close resemblance to me, only with fuller cheeks and smaller eyes. But rapidly these features grow more exaggerated until they no longer look like me at all: the face is horribly bloated and the eyes have all but vanished beneath the puffy surrounding tissue. I recognize this as DR: I've been reading Gyo, a horror manga by Junji Ito, and it's full of faces like this. I force myself to keep watching as the image becomes more and more hideous, as though it is deliberately trying to unnerve me, but I remain calm and at last it vanishes.

      It seems like the show is over, but the TOTM instructions were to keep looking as long as you can, so I continue watching the mirror. For a while it shows no reflection at all, just an empty dark space. Then a new reflection appears. This woman is beautiful, elegantly dressed in an archaic ballgown. I note that the bottom of her dress expands into almost a full half-sphere, and recall that this style was characteristic of the 1850s. I look up toward her face, but even though the expansive bottom of her dress is brightly illuminated, her entire upper body is in deep shadow and I can make out nothing but the silhouette of an appealingly slender torso. I keep staring until finally a tinge of light illuminates the lower curve of a shapely breast. I never do see the rest of her. As I continue watching, she is replaced by a male figure. I have the impression of a hairy man in rough clothing or primitive furs, but already the dream is deconstructing itself around me and when it stabilizes I am in another place entirely.

      I find myself at the top of stairs leading down through water and rockery, landscaping that reminds me of a Chinese garden, though the buildings on all sides look contemporary. I wander down the stairs wondering what to do next. In late May I finally started playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, and was delighted to discover that one of the core characters is a lucid dreamer. This gives me the idea to try to summon him. Summoning people, historical or fictional (I rarely attempt it with WL people because I feel like it would be rude to deal with their doppelgangers), has always been my weakest area of dream control, but I'm determined to make it work. At first I hope to recognize the character among random DCs passing by, but don't see any likely candidates. Then I notice that at the bottom of the stairs is a large cafe, with a number of tables clustered in a semi-interior space with no front wall. This gives me an idea.

      The cafe is organized enough to have a hostess desk, so I approach the two women working there and tell them, "There's someone waiting for me." When they ask his name, I say "Solas." One of the women acknowledges that he is here, and tells me to follow her. Oh my, is my trick actually working? I worry that I might get too excited over the prospect of success and destabilize the dream, and of course even that thought comes dangerously close to doing so, but I quell it and force myself to keep going along with the events I've set in motion, despite my impatience. So I follow the hostess, who leads me among the small circular tables toward one where a man is sitting by himself. I squint at him, trying to figure out if he really looks like Solas. Not so much: his face is thin enough but the features aren't right, and his skin has an odd greenish cast. I do my best to will his appearance into a better fit with my expectations, but this doesn't work. Oh well, appearances aren't everything. Maybe at least he'll identify as the character?

      I sit down at the table and say, "Are you Solas?" He confirms that he is not. I don't remember our conversation clearly, but I recall being impressed with this DC's confidence and sense of his own identity. He seemed to find my questions foolish or nonsensical whenever I attempted to steer him toward my own ideas of how the scene should play out. For instance, when I asked something like "Are you from Thedas?" he replied emphatically, "I am from here." Still trying to keep up with the DA:I theme, I asked, "Is this the Fade?" I seem to recall he had an interesting answer to that, but I've unfortunately forgotten it.

      At some point either I ask for his name or he volunteers it... and it is both odd and unfamiliar. I repeat what I think I've heard: "Vinyogi?" He shakes his head and says it again. This time I can make out that there are four syllables, with the emphasis on the second. "Zunvogayi?" I have to try several times before he's happy with my pronunciation, but it sounded something like that. I ask how to spell it, thinking this will help me remember it better, and he explains that the first syllable is spelled 'Zzn', but clarifies that the second 'z' functions as a 'u'. He gets up to leave and I follow, badgering him about how to spell the rest of it. He asks why I want to know, which I realize is a reasonable suspicion. I try to come up with an explanation that will sound bland and plausible without mentioning that I'm dreaming this, so I say something lame along the lines of, "I like to keep records of my activities."

      Outside the cafe we head left down a path and then turn to the right, where some DCs are gathered looking at a long thin object resembling a small oar that is attached to a wall with a number on the paddle end. From their conversation I gather that it is a house number, and possibly they are trying to figure out if they should proceed with some kind of heist. Zznvogayi pulls out some cards and lays down four of them as though doing a divination. There are words and pictures on the cards, but they don't make sense to me. From what I can tell, the cards suggest that "if you have guts you get ice cream." I tentatively interpret that to mean that bravery will yield rewards... a favorable oracle? The DCs discuss the matter among themselves. Meanwhile I'm still pestering Zznvogayi to tell me how to spell the rest of his name, which he finally does. Of course it was just as complicated as the first syllable, and all I remember now is him explaining: "The 'v' and the 'd' are the same." "That makes sense," I reply, thinking how easily the two letters could merge based on linguistic similarity, and the fact that in some languages, like Sanskrit, they commonly occur in the compound phoneme 'dv'.

      I want to make another attempt at summoning Solas, but this environment is too modern and urban to be suitable, so I decide to find somewhere better. Since there are a lot of DCs around I offer to make a show of it, announcing, "I'm going to make a portal!" Sure enough, this gets their attention and a small audience gathers behind me. I realize that with so many people watching I ought to give them a good visual spectacle. I begin by establishing, a few feet above the ground, a smudge of light colored deep cobalt blue. Then I wave my hand in a circle to rotate the light, spinning it into a flat vertical disk. I recall the beautiful hypnagogic patterns I was watching earlier as I fell asleep, and decorate the disk similarly. When I feel that the portal is well-established, I step through, trying to fix my thoughts on an environment appropriate to DA:I. However, at the spur of the moment I have trouble remembering any setting in particular, and for a while I find myself floating in unconstructed dream space. I focus on staying in the dream and finally a new environment forms around me. Across well-groomed lawns are large buildings whose style is unmistakably contemporary. There are no windows on the side wall of the building that I'm facing, just a four-digit number to identify it. This place looks like an expensive corporate campus: very far from what I was hoping for!

      FA: It was probably the disappointment that woke me, but I had so much to write that I immediately went into "preserve and recall" mode, grabbing the notebook next to my bed and jotting down as many notes as I could before the memories faded, starting with the name 'Zznvogayi'. At one point I noticed that the pen wasn't making any marks on the paper, and remembered that earlier I had covered part of that page with an oval of wax. I tried to remember why and thought it must have had something to do with portals. I flipped over to a new page and continued taking notes, until I woke up more fully and realized that I was not actually writing, it had been an FA, and I would need to pick up my notebook for real and do it properly.
    3. Character Narration (EILD)

      by , 02-20-2015 at 06:41 AM
      Ritual: wtb 3am, around 9am set vibrating alarm for 36 minutes. The first time it went off, I felt like I was already awake, that I had been lying awake for several minutes before I felt the vibration. In retrospect I was quickly suspicious that this was a false memory, but the consequence was that I woke up for real. I reset the alarm to go off in 28 minutes, and went back to sleep.

      EILD: I felt the vibration again, and at first I thought it was another failed attempt, that I was wide awake again. But this time I convince myself not to give up so easily, to lay still and explore it. I wiggle my fingers. Actually... that feels right, like dream movement. I wiggle the fingers of the other hand and gradually start to engage my whole body, but soon, no, I can still sense the dream body but I'm convinced that I'm accidentally moving my real body too. (In retrospect, it seems likely that my impressions of moving the physical body were false, as this surely would have broken aphasia.) It feels like the two kinds of sensory awareness are layered together. My dream sense is not broken but I need to find some way to desynch from the physical, to move unnaturally in a way the real body can't follow. I try to bend my arm the wrong way at the elbow, down into the mattress. I find this a bit difficult for some reason, but something else happens: I start to understand that I am creating all this difficulty in my own mind, that it really doesn't have to be this complicated. Upon this realization I simply find myself standing next to the bed, fully in dream. That certainly makes things easier!

      My WL awareness was somewhat confused throughout this whole process, since during the whole time I was lying in bed I had the impression that I could overhear a colleague from work talking to her daughter (who I have never met). They were discussing a humanitarian volunteer program that the colleague was doing in another country, maybe Africa. I listened with interest since I had not been aware that she was involved with anything like this (there is no RL basis), but it made sense since she is a very kind and generous person. She was talking about some kind of environmental crisis and said that the local people trusted the "agents," that is, the field workers of this organization, like her, but not the administration or the experts that were sent in to instruct them. The challenge was teaching the locals new ways of environmental management so they were no longer unsustainably exploiting their natural resources. I think it was targeting water usage.

      After I was fully transitioned into the dream, I remembered that I had reset my vibrating alarm to an interval of only seven minutes, so I would have to work quickly before it went off again, waking me up. Curiously, now I'm not sure if I really did reset it, and suspect I dreamed that part too. The nice thing about a device like this is that it actually provides hard evidence against which to check my unreliable memories. Nope! It's still set to 28 minutes. So there was one point this morning where I definitely did reset it from 36 to 28, but the later memory of resetting it to 7 minutes—for some reason convinced that I would be able to fall asleep within that time frame—turns out to have been an FFA (false falling asleep), evidence that I was already asleep.

      With (so I mistakenly thought) only seven minutes to work in, minus whatever time I had already spent transitioning, I walk quickly through the house and toward the front door, ready to plunge into deeper dreamspace. As I pass through the living room, something bumps into my leg from the pile of wood stacked near the fireplace. At first I plan to ignore it but then I wonder if the dream is trying to get my attention, so I glance down and see a pair of scissors. I'm not sure what to make of this but I grab them and take them with me. I go outside, where the sky is cloudy and half-lit as though it were dawn or dusk. I realize that this is wrong, and recall that it must already be after 9am in WL.

      What was my task? I have difficulty remembering, so while I'm thinking about it, I decide to do something spontaneous. I'm still holding the scissors... I know! I'll cut off my hair. As I walk I reach awkwardly behind my head and randomly lift locks of hair with my left hand, cutting them near the scalp with the scissors held in my right. This all feels surprisingly lifelike, which makes me think momentarily: I had better be right that I am dreaming! But then I figure, what's the worst thing that could happen if I accidentally cut off my real hair? I'd have to shave my head? Not a big deal, I even did that once in college.

      All this time I'm still trying to think of the tasks I had planned—why is it sometimes so hard to remember? Finally it comes to me. Right! I was going to try to roleplay a familiar character. I decide on Shriven, my WoW character, since I've played her the longest and also the most recently. My tabletop characters are much more psychologically complex, but I think I should probably start with something simpler. Okay, how do to this? I remember that I was going to try the narration technique. I start with something really basic: "Shriven is running," I murmur. My stride changes as I think I remember what her run looks like, becoming more mechanical. That part makes sense, given that she's digitally rendered. I don't have the impression that I look or feel any different, though. I keep trying, and although I don't recall my narrations in detail, I have the impression that they were extremely bland.

      I'm running through city streets now. At one point I notice that the buildings all seem older, eighteenth-century maybe, though this still just looks like one of my typical dream cities rather than a more appropriate setting for what I'm trying to accomplish. I'm still cutting my hair as I go—having started, I feel like I should finish the job. When I finally slice through the last tress, I stop and gaze at my reflection in a store window. Not bad! Although short hair never really suits my features, the haircut itself turned out alright, kind of punk/pixieish. In fact, it even reminds me of Shriven's hair, which is short and spiky and irregular. However, there is no real resemblance, and in all other respects my reflection looks unusually like my WL appearance: same eyes, same face, same hair color. Usually in dreams I see a lot more distortion.

      I use the scissors to make a few finishing touches to the haircut before realizing that it is pointless to be so finicky in a dream. In fact, I'm done with the scissors now... I'm just going to drop them on the ground! This always feels so liberating, since I would never do that in WL. I continue running effortlessly down the street and when I come to the end there is a ten foot gap to cross to reach a platform or walkway. Jump—you can do this! I clear the gap, just barely, and feel proud of myself as I land.

      Still, I don't feel like I'm making much progress on my task so I try to figure out how to improve my approach. What does Shriven do? Well, she often summons her mount, an undead warhorse. I narrate this to myself, but nothing happens. Every time I do this in game the horse makes a distinctive shrill whinny, so I try to use the sound as a focal point. I find it becomes ambiguous whether I can hear the sound in the dream or if I'm just remembering it.

      As I pass through a T-intersection, a blinding light directly ahead causes me to swerve. It is so bright that I assume it must be bleedthrough from RL. I remember the conversation between my colleague and her daughter that I overheard during my transition; with true dream logic I never questioned the impossibility of that taking place in my bedroom, and so now I assume that one of them must still be there, taking flash pictures. Instead of going straight into the light, my initial direction, I turn and take the street on the left, even turning my face away so to diminish the brightness. I can hear a voice from the direction of the light saying, "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!" So I was right about the camera, I conclude. At no point do I recognize the absurdity and error in my thought processes, but I do reflect that it is interesting that the environment made me change the direction I was going—is the dream trying to control my movement?

      After this interruption, I go back to trying to summon the undead warhorse. It's still not working, but then I notice that the shop just ahead of me seems to have horse skulls hanging on the back wall. That's an improvement! I go into the shop, which is now a tiny space almost completely filled by a large bunkbed. A bearded man is lounging on the lower bunk, eating a meal and watching TV, while the upper bunk is shacked with sheepskins. I ask the man about the horse skulls.

      "That's not a horse skull," he responds.

      I realize he must be referring to the giant animal skull on the floor at my feet. It must be about three feet long. "What is it?"

      "That's an academic-size magic detector," he answers, hardly taking his eyes off his TV program. Not sure what to make of his words, I look at the skull again. I realize it must have come from some kind of giant lizard, like a crocodile, but it has a small horn at the snout like a rhinocerous. As I study it, I see that it is now green and sparkling, the color offset with pale stripes. I am tempted to compare it to an Elvis suit, but fear that the proprietor might be offended.

      FA: I wake up and start taking notes right away, starting from the last scene and moving backward. Fortunately I don't get very far before I realize I am writing on dream paper. I wake up for real and record my notes on my laptop.
    4. Indecisive Witch, Invisible Song (EILD-FFA-WILD)

      by , 10-07-2014 at 08:33 PM
      Ritual: Second try with the vibrating timer, successful but strange experience. This time it seemed to work not so much from going off (in fact I doubt it ever did), but because my anticipation of the trigger kept my mind alert during the process of falling asleep—to the point where I thought I was still awake long after I had evidently slipped into dream.

      It's becoming apparent that anticipation can serve the same function as motivation. Actually my motivation was relatively low, for the same reason as last time: it is the busiest part of my work week and I realized that I wasn't sure I wanted to have to spend a long time writing up my dream report if successful. I went to bed a little after 12:30am, and woke up naturally around 5:40. (I checked the clock but can't recall the precise time, I think it was somewhere between 5:37 and 5:43.) I decided it was too late to do full WBTB and recognized my lack of motivation, so I just shoved the MotivAider in my pillow and went back to bed with no further technique, letting things take their own course.

      Although normally I would fall back asleep in seconds or minutes at most after such a brief WBTB, I noticed that now I was oddly wakeful... it seemed like just waiting for the device to go off, even though it was set so that it wouldn't trigger initially until 45 minutes had passed, was keeping me awake. After a few minutes trying to get comfortable I grabbed the sleep mask from my bedside table because I knew the sun would come up soon. I then spent a very long time trying to get back to sleep... or so I thought. In retrospect it is apparent that for much of this period I was experiencing that obscure counterpart of a false awakening, a "false falling asleep" (FFA).


      FFA: I think I must have actually fallen asleep very quickly, since a lot of the things I experienced while I thought I was trying to fall asleep turn out to be have been things I dreamed. For instance, at one point I was convinced that I was lying in bed with my body rotated in the opposite direction, my head facing the foot of the bed, but then I fixed this without really moving my limbs... a maneuver that would have been impossible to do physically.

      Eventually I decided that I ought to have a back-up EILD method so I tried to program my sleeping mask. I reached up and pried apart the velcro near the top to flick the "on" switch, remembering to hold it down four seconds to enter "nap mode." I couldn't tell if I saw the indicator lights or not... I thought I did, but the impression was vague. Did I have the brightness set too low? Oh well, I don't remember how to change it. I'll just turn it off and turn it back on again to be sure. Hmm, same thing, the lights are vague... I'm not sure if I'm really seeing them or just imagining it. And then I realize... hang on... I'm not even wearing the Remee, this is just an ordinary cloth sleep mask! So I tried to correct the situation by putting my Remee on under the regular mask... and I really thought I had done this until, while writing this report, I began to have doubts and went to check. Sure enough, the Remee hasn't been touched all night! At least I can verify that I was wearing the ordinary mask, since that one has been moved and is now lying on my bedstand where I must have left it after waking up.

      At another point in the FFA I even felt the MotivAider finally go off. The vibrations felt lengthened and distorted again. I ignored them since I thought I was still awake, and hoped I would be asleep by the time it went off next. In retrospect I realize I must have dreamed even this, because the MotivAider could not have gone off until 45 minutes had passed (even on random mode it initially counts down the full maximum set interval), and I got up to start writing this report at 6:14am, less than 45 minutes after going back to bed around 5:40... so it is very unlikely that it actually went off in that whole period!

      I was getting annoyed with how long it was taking (or so I thought) to fall asleep, and eventually in my impatience I decided to just start "practicing" WILD separations in my imagination. I tried to envision an almost physical pull on my dream body that would tug it up from the lying position into a standing one, and after each repetition of this I imagined myself landing with both feet on the bed with the flourish of a gymnast who has just finished an acrobatic move. It felt at first like I was only visualizing this rather than experiencing it: as though I were just going through the motions, practicing for when I got closer to falling asleep... but before long the sense of immersion set in, and I realized that I was already in a light WILD state. I was surprised that I had been able to move so easily from full wakefulness to full REM, still unaware that I had evidently already been dreaming for quite some time already!

      WILD: Since I was under the impression that I had only just transitioned into a dream state, my initial goal was just to improve immersion and stabilization, so without trying to do any tasks at first I simply wandered through the house. I soon half-woke and had to separate again. I used the same visualization as before "pulling myself up" from lying down to standing up, but it went more smoothly and easily this time. Once again I landed like a gymnast, but this time rather than landing on the bed I vaulted right out of it and onto the bedroom floor.

      By this time I felt immersed enough to start working on tasks. One of the TOTMs is to dress in a costume, and I had decided in advance that I wanted to dress like a witch, so I went to the "costume closet" where I keep my clothes that are too dressy or impractical for everyday use. At first I was surprised to see (so I thought) nothing but the clothes that are there in waking life. I must have been a bit confused, because although in WL the closet contains plenty of gothy-looking wraps and dresses entirely suitable for a witch costume, the only thing I thought to grab at the time was a small halter top of some colorful iridescent material. I didn't put it on yet, since my priority was to find a mask.

      The closet actually contains a box of masks on the upper shelf, but in the dream I "remembered" that I had a brown paper bag of them on the floor, so I went through it until I found a witch mask... or was it? Looking at it again, I thought it actually looked more like a Darth Vader mask that someone had clumsily tried to convert into a witch face with dabs of green paint. But then I "remembered" using it as a witch mask before, so I figured it would be adequate.

      Next I needed the pointy hat. I must have one around here somewhere... I dug through the closet, but couldn't find one of the right shape. Nevermind, I can make one! I pulled out a fedora made of black leather, and started trying to pull the top to make it longer and more pointy. At first the material was resistant but I put some focus into the act and soon was able to mold the hat into a proper Halloween-style witch hat, and put it on my head. The fact that it was made of black leather made me feel extra stylish. I paused at the door of the room and wondered if I needed to change my clothes as well, but when I looked down I saw that I was wearing a long black dress that already looked witchy enough, so I never had to put on that stupid halter top!

      After walking back out to the kitchen, I remembered to check my reflection in the mirror (in a spot where there is no mirror in WL). It wasn't bad! I looked like that classic witch from the Wizard of Oz: green face, hooked nose, tall hat. The mask was looking much less Vader-like now, and at this point I noticed that there was even an inscription on it (entirely legible in the mirror rather than inverted by the reflection) that gave the title "Witch," and was signed either "Robert" or "Richard." I assumed the name must be that of the local artist who made the mask, and was reassured by the title that it had been intended as a witch mask after all.

      When people were contributing suggestions for the October TOTMs, I had really liked the one about flying on a broomstick to a witches' gathering, so this was something I had planned to do once I got in costume. But now I wasn't sure. Maybe it would be fun to work on my lucid dare instead, and go startle some elves with my witch costume! I felt indecisive. And in either case I'll have to leave the house, so which door should I use? I've let myself get into the bad habit of being paranoid that leaving the house might destabilize the dream, so I wondered if leaving by a door I don't often use would help bypass this impression. I know that this worry is a wholly self-imposed obstacle—and moreover that it is not supported by the evidence—yet I also know that even letting myself worry about destabilization can have a destabilizing effect!

      While I'm standing there trying to make up my mind, I notice that the scenery outside the kitchen door has already begun to change. Replacing the back patio is now a beautiful summer forest, with green leaves, mossy trunks and a clear limpid pool of water on the ground, like a natural spring. The water is only a few inches deep and appears completely transparent and pure. The scene is so lovely that I immediately let go of my pointless worries and go outside to enjoy it, kneeling in the water and running my hands through it, lifting it in my palms and letting it splash back into the pool. I find myself wondering if these surroundings will transform my costume from that of an ugly old green witch into a young beautiful forest witch. And what do we mean by "witch," anyway? I start pondering the question: aren't those two archetypes (ugly old witch and young beautiful witch) from the same tradition? Don't they both imply a woman with an unusually strong connection to the natural world?

      I still haven't decided if I want to look for a witch gathering or an elven gathering in this forest, as I think both could conceivably be taking place here. Would the elves resent my presence if I'm still a Halloween-style witch? But if this pool has transformed me into a beautiful forest witch, maybe I would blend right in. (I regret now that it never occurred to me to check my reflection again in the pool! Though I still had the impression that I was wearing the same black dress.)

      Once again the dream distracted me from my thoughts, this time by the sound of a voice singing. It was an attractive male voice, a low tenor, drifting from somewhere up above. The pool where I knelt was at the foot of a rocky ledge, at least ten feet high, and it seemed like the main part of the forest was up there. I flew up (I can't recall if I used a broomstick or just levitated as usual) to see if I could locate the singer. I followed the voice and soon found myself in a green mossy glade. I could not see anyone but I could hear the voice distinctly, so I took note of the words:

      On the new sensation lying within,
      One can ride a stream of water, straight and thin.


      There was another half line of verse after this but on waking it faded before I could record it. I think it had something to do with the feeling or awareness produced by the "new sensation" mentioned in the first line. I woke up before I could listen to any more of the song or continue to look for the singer.

      Note: It was still very early after I finished writing all my notes, so I went back to bed. I had some NLDs and at one point as I was starting to wake up from one I found myself thinking about the song again. At this time I got the impression that the missing line might have been: And so a new feeling is won. Of course there's no way to confirm if that's what it was originally, but it's the best I've got to go on!