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"This is my dream. I make the path."

The Hatter
1. The insomnia continues. Looking back at entries for the last six years, I see just how much a part of my life insomnia has been recently. But this is the worst spate of it I've had to deal with since December 2007, I think. This is the first time since then that it's seemed bad enough to consider seeing a doctor about. I won't, because I can no longer abide physicians, but the urge is there. I did manage more than six hours last night, so I should be relieved, I suppose.

2. We are ten days into March, and I've written nothing (excepting blog entries). This is, of course, an unacceptable situation, but the insomnia has made writing almost impossible. I can say that I've figured out how The Wolf Who Cried Girl can be pared down to a much simpler, more eloquent novel than the plot-heavy thing that I devised a couple of months ago. Something much more like The Red Tree, in it's scope. Simplicity will be my deliverance. Or at least I can hope.

3. Monday night, Geoffrey (readingthedark) came down from Framingham, and we talked, and talked, and talked, until it was almost 5:30 a.m. — Thomas Ligotti's forthcoming The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, my novels and publishing in general, our loathing for the grating noises made by the Internet Hounds of Privilege and Entitlement and Political Correctness (IHPEC), insanity and psychiatry, pizza, Joss Whedon, Sunshine and other sf films of the last ten years, and so forth. Spooky joined us at some point and we watched an episode of Buffy, "Once More, With Feeling," which I never grow tired of seeing (or only hearing).

4. Yesterday, Spooky and I caught an afternoon matinée of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Gods, what a brilliant, breathtaking film. Anyone who reads my novels and short fiction should be well aware of my love for Lewis Carroll. Indeed, The Annotated Alice, with Martin Gardner's extensive notes, is one of the books I keep nearest at hand while writing. And, truthfully, I went into this film without high expectations. I saw so many ways it could go wrong, and many of Burton's more recent films have left me feeling somewhat indifferent. However, all my fears were for nought. I adored the film, without reservation. Indeed, this is not only one of Burton's best films, it is probably the best screen adaptation of Lewis Carroll ever (with the possible exception of Jan Svankmajer's Neco z Alenky from 1988). It isn't often that a film ends and I immediately want to see it again, but that's how Burton's Alice in Wonderland affected me. The cast is flawless, top to bottom. The film's vision comes the closest anyone has come to capturing the frenetic, nonsensical impossibility of Wonderland (and I loved the whole "Underland" thing). I'm hearing all sorts of bizarre negative criticisms, though none with merit. This is a bold and triumphant film, one that finally addresses, without holding back, the darkness and complexity and maturity of Carroll's writing. I will add that I saw it in 2-D (having one eye and all), and was pleased that Burton avoided letting the 3-D thing ruin the movie, as is so often the case with that sadly popular gimmick. The film is a giddy, hallucinatory, unrelenting dance of shadow and light, hilarious and heartbreaking, brash and underscored, possessed of all the marvelously contradictory oppositions that characterize the source material. For the first time, I think, it felt as though Alice were truly an integral part of the landscape, and not just some baffled Victorian tourist passing through. And the climactic battle with the Jabberwocky...just wow. I cannot recommend this film strongly enough. Oh, and because I am not sleeping well, and am also not writing, and so am a bit cranky, if you're one of those who hated the film (especially if you've decided to hate it before seeing it, as so many have) please make any disparaging comments in your own LJ...not here. Thank you. I will not publicly debate the film's merits.

5. My love affair with Insilico (the SL cyberpunk sim) began waning about three weeks back, after that initial two or three weeks of ass-over-tits infatuation. I've not yet pulled out, but I suspect my days there are numbered. More than anything else, I suspect I'm losing interest because most of the players do not seem to grasp that you can't have a dystopian world without, well, dystopia. And dystopia is not a fashion statement, and it's not just window dressing, or the Cool New Flavor of the Week. If one is to approach dystopia, one does not proceed to populate it with optimism and uplifting stories that elevate the human condition and don't risk harshing someone's buzz. Dystopia is not a theme for a chat room. And if you've not read Ballard and Dick and Gibson and Orwell and...well, if you've not read these authors and taken them to heart, don't bother trying dystopian cyberpunk rp. Dystopia is, by definition, heavy and hopeless, dreary and unrelenting. Anyway, yeah. I don't think I'll ever find the SL sim that truly fits my disposition, unless, of course, I am its author, and we tried that once already, back in 2008. I simply do not have the resources to create such a sim. I have only this continuing desire for genuinely dark roleplay.

I'm in your garden, but I want a forest.
I'm in god's garden.
I'll make it a forest...
(The Editors)

Comments

( 48 comments — Have your say! )
sovay
Mar. 10th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
I can say that I've figured out how The Wolf Who Cried Girl can be pared down to a much simpler, more eloquent novel than the plot-heavy thing that I devised a couple of months ago. Something much more like The Red Tree, in its scope.

I look forward to learning its new form.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 10th, 2010 11:56 pm (UTC)

I look forward to learning its new form.

I hope to have something to show you soonish.
stsisyphus
Mar. 10th, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear that you liked Alice..., especially since I was fairly convinced (after seeing it) that you would hate it. Bah, shows what I know. Anyway, hope the sleeping becomes easier.
stsisyphus
Mar. 10th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, and Franz Ferdinand's version of "The Lobster's Quadrill" on the soundtrack seems to have pretty much been a direct nod to you.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 10th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)

Oh, and Franz Ferdinand's version of "The Lobster's Quadrill" on the soundtrack seems to have pretty much been a direct nod to you.

I have heard it, and I do adore it.
gairid
Mar. 10th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
I'm a lurker to your thoughts here on LJ but I just wanted to pop in and say thanks for your wonderful review of Alice in Wonderland. I sat down to write a review several times and couldn't seem to sum up how I felt about it--I agree with everything you said and I'm realy sort of puzzled about the negative reviews I've seen.

So, yeah. Thanks!
greygirlbeast
Mar. 10th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)

You're welcome! I felt horribly inarticulate myself, trying to sum it up.
gairid
Mar. 11th, 2010 04:29 am (UTC)
I felt horribly inarticulate myself, trying to sum it up.

Seriously? I thought your summing up was great! (I feel I should be saying that in judiciary wigs and a corset a la Monty Python). Honestly...I have been a Carroll fan for most of my life, seeing the stages of how to read and interpret Alice as I passed throuh various phases. In my mind, the film caught the gist quite admirably--and so did your review.

I will now officially shut up since I hate to sound synchophantic especially when I am induling in that specific behavior.

*raises cracked teacup*



greygirlbeast
Mar. 11th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)

Seriously?

Seriously.
mrs_ralph
Mar. 10th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC)
Dark roleplay? Isn't dark real-life enough? Your day to day life sounds a bit like your definition of Dystopia as it is so you probably don't need to add to that.

I doubt there is much a doctor can do for your insomnia besides prescribe chemicals and you seem to already have a supply of those. The only thing I can think of they might do (after dicking around with sleep labs and tests) is change the Ambien, that you have developed a tolerance for, to some other sleeping medication. If you are taking Dylatin for seizures you should be tired as it is though maybe they have changed the meds since I was where you are with stress-induced seizures and insomnia. If it helps any I made some changes in my life that eliminated some of the stress and that seems to have fixed the problems I had.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 10th, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
Dark roleplay? Isn't dark real-life enough? Your day to day life sounds a bit like your definition of Dystopia as it is so you probably don't need to add to that.

Nope. There can never be too much dark....

If it helps any I made some changes in my life that eliminated some of the stress and that seems to have fixed the problems I had.

I think stress elimination is the key, yes. I am taking steps.


Edited at 2010-03-10 11:24 pm (UTC)
easter_lane
Mar. 10th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
I also loved "Alice". I almost cried twice. I thought it was so amazing, and have been completely surprised that not only critics--but my friends--are either lukewarm, or dismissive. Usually the answer when I ask why is "It's not what I expected", which I again don't understand.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 10th, 2010 11:47 pm (UTC)

and have been completely surprised that not only critics--but my friends--are either lukewarm, or dismissive. Usually the answer when I ask why is "It's not what I expected", which I again don't understand.

I think it is best if we just decide to be dismissive of the critics.
andrian6
Mar. 10th, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
The one thing about any sim - be it a MUSH, an RPG game, anything - is that it never survives contact with multiple people. If you want to keep the sim running, you need folks willing to contribute. That often means toning back random raids by security drones due to misspellings, or street gangs saying thank you for your help by offering you a bit of a fallen enemy. Collaboration involves compromise. It becomes more theater than storytelling.

And regarding dystopias - If you're living in it, is it a dystopia? Or just life? I was actually thinking of this as I was wandering around the SL sim in question and watching Sleep Dealer. To the folks in the film, the world isn't a dark take on modern times. It's life to them. They may be selling moody cybernetics instead of fake Rolexes, but the people in this world don't see it as dystopian. It's just their world. Dark is a relative term when your eyes are adjusted to it.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 10th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)

It becomes more theater than storytelling.

Agreed.

If you're living in it, is it a dystopia? Or just life? I was actually thinking of this as I was wandering around the SL sim in question and watching Sleep Dealer. To the folks in the film, the world isn't a dark take on modern times. It's life to them.

In theory, yes, you're right. However, though to the people in a given dystopian world, it is "just life," it is also a hellish life, or else this entire concept and the usefulness of dystopia collapses. People can be keenly aware of suffering, even if it's all they've ever known. They may well have a greater tolerance, but this is not to be reflected by happy, mellow rp.
thehousesparrow
Mar. 11th, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
And regarding dystopias - If you're living in it, is it a dystopia? Or just life? I was actually thinking of this as I was wandering around the SL sim in question and watching Sleep Dealer. To the folks in the film, the world isn't a dark take on modern times. It's life to them.

Exactly. I was just talking with someone about a character's depression the other day. When I thought about what was going on with people overall, yes--they are VERY depressed people. You just don't see it as clearly. They go to the bar and they down their sorrows and try to ask each other how they're doing, and when they're asked this question, they respond with the same problems over and over again. They don't have much to talk about, because they're trying to focus on things other than the fact that you-know-what has their hand in virtually every cookie jar that exists there. How many people are popping pills in that sim to get away from their problems? I can name three that sat at a party and did it a few days ago.

Sometimes your situation is so terrible, you try to function by focusing on other things to get past it. Or even pretending it doesn't exist.
thehousesparrow
Mar. 11th, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
However! I want add I'm not attacking you for your viewpoint.
thehousesparrow
Mar. 11th, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
But I want to add... because I keep getting thoughts here! I have characters I haven't released yet. And it's genuinely dark stuff, because this is what I came to Insilico for too. So if you are ever looking for anything--don't quit. See me. I will be happy to run storylines with you that are meant for only a few people. You might have to create npcs for them, but I am planning a series of stories that show various lives in the city. I just haven't mobilized that yet.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 11th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)

Sometimes your situation is so terrible, you try to function by focusing on other things to get past it. Or even pretending it doesn't exist.

On the one hand, sure. On the other...I think what I've seen are players using this as an excuse to avoid rp with that is intense or disturbing. A cop out, in effect. If the "we take drugs so we can get through the day" ploy is used often enough, then no one is actually confronting the facts of the world portrayed in the sim, and the dystopia is effectively negated. And I will add, I bring this up after having had a number of (otherwise good) roleplayers tell me ooc they want things to be more laid back, less intense, that they come to SL to relax, etc.
thehousesparrow
Mar. 11th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
... you have a point. I encountered something like that yesterday. Still--don't quit. I've got some ideas and we can work on them, even if other players don't want to get involved.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 11th, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC)
Still--don't quit. I've got some ideas and we can work on them, even if other players don't want to get involved.

There are many factors involved in whether or not I can continue with Insilico. The issue of the missing dystopia is only one of them (though, a not-inconsiderable one). But the greatest issue is that my need/love for rp leads to me spending time on SL I don't have to spend there. Come to think of it, I do not even know who you are in Insilico.

Edited at 2010-03-11 07:52 pm (UTC)
thehousesparrow
Mar. 12th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
I'm Aemeth there.
thehousesparrow
Mar. 11th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
Before I forget--I have to talk to you about the history of Earth's middle eastern area, so I don't say something that contradicts Urdith's story.
andrian6
Mar. 11th, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
I mostly focused on the Dubai aerostat. Istanbul was mentioned a few times but is mostly undeveloped. Feel free to explore.
thehousesparrow
Mar. 11th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
What about the Islam aspect? I know where Urdith is from, it's pretty strict. I decided to balance Muhammad out by making him more modern about his religious views.
thimbleofrain
Mar. 10th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
Back in the days of yore, I used to GM a cyberpunk roleplaying game. And I always got complaints: “Your world is cool, the characters seem alive, but everything seems so hopeless. Nothing every works out, and it seems like we’re always working for the wrong side. We don’t know who to shoot at.” They were used to betrayal. They even expected it, but it was hard for them to deal with negative things of a more complicated nature. “It feels like we’re in Vietnam, like we’re walking around in the rain for days and days. And then the rain suddenly stops, and somebody tries to kill us.”

Even if you were to build what you are looking for, I think you’d be hard pressed to find players. I think people play these games, in part, to escape the hopelessness and confusion of their lives. They want dragons to slay. They don’t want to be digested in the belly of the beast.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 10th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)

“It feels like we’re in Vietnam, like we’re walking around in the rain for days and days. And then the rain suddenly stops, and somebody tries to kill us.”

Yes! That's how they should feel.

Even if you were to build what you are looking for, I think you’d be hard pressed to find players.

Agreed.

I think people play these games, in part, to escape the hopelessness and confusion of their lives. They want dragons to slay. They don’t want to be digested in the belly of the beast.

Agreed. And more's the pity. I just think we need s little truth in advertising.

nemone7
Mar. 10th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you've explored all chemical and natural sleep-inducing products already.To reach a calm state, try watching a lava lamp(yes, those things from the 70s)in the dark.They can be hypnotic.Works for me.
marymayblood
Mar. 10th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
Alice
Oh, I loved Alice, too! I'm so glad you liked it, since so many people I follow online just wanted to hate it from the get go. I went in with no expectations and was thrilled with it. I saw it in 3D, which made my head hurt a little. However, it was filmed in 2D, so that's probably why it works just as well without. And I'm glad to hear it, because I'll definitely own this one and I expect 3D DVD will look like crap on my TV.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 10th, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Alice

I'm so glad you liked it, since so many people I follow online just wanted to hate it from the get go.

That mindset is so alien to me. Never mind the prejudicial attitudes. Why waste so much money to see a film you're determined to hate?
tetar
Mar. 10th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)
Sleepless Simpllicity, Alice and Thee
1 - I wish you sleep, and will have a word with Morpheus.

2 - Yes to simplicity. Zen it down and it will sing like dark crystal stressed by planetary love.

3 - Amen to your thoughts on Burton's ALICE. Amazing.

--Gene Stewart, meandering shade and wiccanthrope
greygirlbeast
Mar. 10th, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Sleepless Simpllicity, Alice and Thee

wiccanthrope

There's a word I've not seen before.
monstermustdie
Mar. 10th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
"a brilliant, breathtaking film"

Agreed. I had a good time because I expected less and got somewhat more. T.B. is probably a person that I could talk to at length...he seems to see the world through a lens that I peer through quite often.

tetar
Mar. 11th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
Wiccanthropic Neologisms
Wiccanthrope's an old coinage of mine from a story that never found its way into print, but all are welcome to it, if it's of any use.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 11th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC)
Re: Wiccanthropic Neologisms

Wiccanthrope's an old coinage of mine from a story that never found its way into print, but all are welcome to it, if it's of any use.

First, I would have to puzzle out it's meaning. Someone who becomes Wiccan on the night of the full moon...?
tetar
Mar. 11th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)
Re: Wiccanthropic Neologisms
Thrope is short for anthopo, human, as in Misanthrope. I used it as a suffix with Wicca, meaning wise. Wicc / anthrope would be a wise person. I had in mind the guise many of us must put on to avoid persecution. We must cover our monstrousness, lest society pounce. We must learn to pass.

In the story, it was a touch slyer than that. It was ironically oblique, a rebuke to bigotry referring to how bigots tend to seize upon visual cues to set their targets apart whether valid or not: a Jewish nose, dark skin, epicanthic folds, a limp wrist, etc.

So wiccanthrope meant, in the story, someone different who merely appears to be one of the others, the point being that no one can tell by looking who may be of the ilk, or fold. Who is wise? Who carries the ancient wisdom? Is there a way to tell? Especially, is there a cheap, easy sign or mark of the beast bigots might exploit?

Cowan beware, we're everywhere, to echo the old GLBT phrase. Are you wiccanthrope? That's the question, always; does one know better than the others, or is one different inside that oh-so-normal looking skin?

And what if the out appearance doesn't fit? Look how Goths and so on can be persecuted, solely for looks. For a style, dear Gwydion.

I think I'm beginning to see why that story never found publication.

Sorry to have gone on at any length; I hope I've answered your question. Or at least bored you to a yawn and some shut-eye. lol
greygirlbeast
Mar. 11th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
Re: Wiccanthropic Neologisms

You have, indeed, answered my question.
tetar
Mar. 11th, 2010 12:36 am (UTC)
Re: Wiccanthropic Neologisms
*bows*
orpheus78
Mar. 11th, 2010 08:36 am (UTC)
So

I have struggled with Insomnia for the bulk of my adult life and lately I go into these strange states in which my mind wants to sleep, but my body does not, which leads to these strange vivid daydreams...

And then I remember that albino woman....;)

So how many of your story ideas have you come up while in the throes of insomnia?

As a college student who has to write term papers, well, insomnia is a blessing when it comes to writing.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 11th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)

So how many of your story ideas have you come up while in the throes of insomnia?

Sadly, not so many. Nightmares are more productive in that respect (though, I rarely literally write out my dreams), and so I am actually required to sleep.
lee_in_limbo
Mar. 11th, 2010 11:29 am (UTC)
Waiting to see Alice. Wife wants to see it in 3D, but I have a bad eye that makes 3D films kind of pointless. And I don't care about the reviews; this film is so obviously the film Tim Burton was born to make. I'd see it even if everyone said it was bad.

And on the sleepy side of things, my psychiatrist recently changed my bipolar meds, and I'm back to sleeping three to four hours a night if I'm lucky. I have some prescription sleeping pills, but they tell me I'm supposed to only use them occasionally. When I was younger, this light sleeping thing was no problem. I'd been like that since I was young, only sleeping late when I was up too late or depressed. I'm slowly starting to get used to the lack of sleep again, but it's not nearly as easy to shake off as it was a decade ago.

None of which has anything to do with what you're going through, but I offer this humble tale in commiseration with your continuing insomnia problem.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 11th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)

I'd see it even if everyone said it was bad.

Good for you. I'm still completely baffled that there's been so many people poo-pooing the film.
kambriel
Mar. 11th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
I'm with you... am somewhat confounded by the sudden anti-Burton onslaught. He has a storytelling aesthetic all his own, and it just happens to be one that I particularly adore!

(Still need to find a couple of hours in which to go see the movie ~ it may end up needing to wait until we travel out West since things reside in the land of chaos before then.)
greygirlbeast
Mar. 11th, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC)

I'm with you... am somewhat confounded by the sudden anti-Burton onslaught. He has a storytelling aesthetic all his own, and it just happens to be one that I particularly adore!

I'm beginning to think it's part of some larger, more generalized phenomenon. In part, there are films it's fashionable to deride. This fashion is a foregone conclusion, arrived at by means unknown to me. This same thing happened to Avatar, for example. Of course, the directors at least have the solace of knowing that the faddy internet grousing isn't affecting their box office.
kambriel
Mar. 11th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
That and the fact that long after any pettily deriding comments have been swallowed up into the obscurity of the aether, the larger work will remain.

greygirlbeast
Mar. 11th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)

That and the fact that long after any pettily deriding comments have been swallowed up into the obscurity of the aether, the larger work will remain.

Yep. I often take this very same solace, as regards my own work.
deborahkla
Mar. 14th, 2010 10:32 am (UTC)
I have not yet seen the film, and am not sure I will do so. I am a bit of a Carroll-Dodgson fanatic (to the extent that I've actually read the complete collection of his correspondence) and am concerned that I may not like it. What I have liked in the past was a television adaptation of the late '80's / early 90's and Dennis Potter's "Dreamchild", about the relationship between Dodgson & Alice Liddell. The latter featured a deliciously frightening rendition of the mad tea party as interpreted by Jim Henson's Creature Factory. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.
semiotic_pirate
Nov. 27th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
Wonderful Review
Just stumbled upon your review through a Google search for "I make the path" while streaming Burton's Alice on Netflix. You articulated it wonderfully. This was one of the only films that I paid full price to see AND went to see again at the theater. The greatest thing for me was the Fully Empowered Alice and the way that it almost seemed cyclical, the intimation that there is a series of Alices that come into Wonder/Under-Land and affect changes as an outside agent. I remember watching the production (similar yet very different take on the story) that was released on Sci-Fi (aka SyFy) and thinking that watching the TV movie almost paved the way for the Burton version. It brought the focus away from Child Alice to the Adult Alice.

Thank you.
( 48 comments — Have your say! )