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    Character Narration (EILD)

    by , 02-20-2015 at 06:41 AM (337 Views)
    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.
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