In a somewhat unusual moment for me last night – unusual due to the lucidity – Sir David Attenborough, dressed in trademark blue shirt and slacks, conspiratorially informed me to ‘look for the code’. He then, unfortunately for me – who would have much rather spent additional time with one of my greatest inspirations he then vanished in a bit of an Obi Wan fashion into the ether.
Obviously this was a dream. I do not usually remember dreams, unlike the Lovely Wife, and I have talked about them before because it is something I find endlessly fascinating, at the fictions our brains come up with while we sleep. In this case I can remember that what followed was what seemed like a long and convoluted mystery in some kind of secret research establishment/gothic mansion where a family was conducting mysterious – and almost certainly nefarious – experiments on something with something. The only detail was that some people were developing horrific lesions that at first I thought were some kind of disease but eventually realised were some kind of radiation burns. There must be a monster in there somewhere. I always love a good monster. I do not recall seeing it though, and they are the best and scariest kinds of monster.
Oh and I found the code, hidden away on a tiny sticker in mass of photos on a wall, a bit like the kind of sticker that you get on the back of a router with the password on it.
Annoyingly, I do not know why I needed the code or what I was supposed to/did with it, but if Sir David said it was important, then it must have been.
So I am going to make the assumption that I succeeded in my mission. After all, this is my brain’s story, it ends the way I want. Admittedly, this story was being ‘written’ unconsciously for an audience of one who largely forgets it later, but at least my brain is indulging in some creativity. I have not been able to translate that much in a conscious state recently.
I’ve been – and I appreciate what follows is a slightly strange thing to say – I’ve been reading about writing (mostly from people I admire very much and are far, far cleverer than I could ever be, such as Neil Gaiman). It is now a few years since I completed my Humanities degree and I have missed the creative writing that was a major part of it, knocking out one or two short stories a week at one point. I just have not seemed to be able to get back into the swing of things, which is sad for me as while hardly anyone read any of those stories, I found the act of creating them pretty satisfying in itself; like a picture you paint for your own pleasure or perhaps for you and a loved one, it is fun to create for the sake of creation, especially when you have the luxury of not having to rely on it being successful for a living and do it for your amusement. In particular I find going back to those stories in something of a state of surprise; aside form wincing at the naivety, poor turns of phrase and grammatical errors – proof reading, as any reader of these blog posts will know – is not my strong point – it was as though I was reading something someone else had written, not me. I suppose, being literal about it that is true. Some of these stories are now five years old, and the person who wrote them is five years older, and not quite the same. It reminds me of a comment someone made about a story I had struggled with finishing and where there had been a considerable gap before I knew where it was going. That comment was that it felt like two, different, half stories that had been sewn together (I have a sudden image of one of those Victorian fakes where a monkey’s body was sewn onto a fish’s tail to form an unlikely and ugly mermaid, although that could be because I am feeling a bit Gothic today or suddenly remembered the rather creepy short story about such a thing in my dog eared copy of ‘The Jon Pertwee Book of Monsters’ where of course the ugly looking thing… Well that would be telling). The comment was correct of course, if I was serious about it I should have gone back and revised the first part to fit in with the second.
I do not know if Sir David will appear in any future fiction (‘Animal Magic’ star Johnny Morris has appeared before, alongside one of my favourite heroines – the one that won’t take no for an answer and will be more than they say she will as a result – and a talking penguin that was a reincarnation of Jean Paul Sartre) but I wonder if I need to find the code that will allow me to unlock the current block and start having some more fun creating impossible lives.