Immersion Theatre

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In my dream, I had just learned that our servers were down at work so everyone would go home early. I suspect this reflects the fact I had left work early due to illness. As I walked out into the street (in downtown Portland), I encountered some kind of grand macabre parade. It was both practical joke and advertisement for an event that would occur later that night — a sort of haunted house immersion theatre. I met the two men who were responsible for the event and they seemed to feel that it would not be a success because not many people had bought tickets. (The tickets were $24.95 each.) “It was going to be so good,” they said emphatically. I felt great sympathy for them. They asked if I had bought a ticket and I pulled a huge sheet of them out of my bag, remembering that earlier I had been given these tickets by a madman who was roaming through the nearby streets shouting strange things. The two friends seemed concerned that so many tickets were being given away.

I decided I had to attend the event to show support and felt I could help make their endeavor a success. So I entered the huge mansion that housed the event — it belonged to one of the two friends through inheritance — and began to interact with the characters inside.

This part of the dream is hazy in my memory. I don’t remember exactly what happened in which order. There were all sorts of people inside, some seemed obviously to be actors and others to be audience members, but those lines also blurred. Everything was a trick. I remember entering the mansion several times, each from a different door so as to get a better sense of the entirety of the affair. One time I was led to a set of stairs leading to a basement room. I was told to go down the stairs, but when I looked, I had the distinct feeling that whatever was going on down there was not really part of the event and was taking place without the knowledge of the organizers. Something somewhat sinister…

The Paracosmist

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I am currently working on a paracosm that has been with me since my teens years. I’ve worked on it off and on, abandoned it many times, but it keeps coming back into my head and demanding that its story be told.

A paracosm is a detailed fantasy of an alternate world or reality. It often starts in early childhood and often as a coping mechanism. I began my first paracosm when I was perhaps…eleven? I don’t quite remember. What I do remember is that it involved a boarding school for exceptionally gifted girls and I worked on it sometimes obsessively.

I had lists of names. I knew which girls were roommates, which were friends, which were enemies. I knew their personalities and what their talents were. They were writers and dancers and models and musicians and scientists. I even designed curricula for them.

My current paracosm is a different planet altogether. The genre is definitely speculative fiction; it contains elements both of fantasy and of science fiction. I see a great span of history involving three important characters. They are called madonnas because they are the mothers of different eras and aspects of the culture of their country and their people. The science fiction part comes in to explain some of the fantasy elements. The madonnas are god-emissaries of the players of a grand game. But they don’t even know that.

I talk to my characters a lot. They tell me about their world. History, politics, religion, botany, climate, geology. They occupy my thoughts a great deal of the time. If you see my staring off into space, it is quite likely I am thinking of them.

I believe the story of the first madonna may become my first novel. It is the most insistent of my many, many stories. So watch for that sometime in the somewhat distant future. :-)

Hi, How Are You?

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I’m still here! Life got crazy, my laptop started overheating and crashing everytime I tried to do anything on it, we bought a house (!), etc. Right now I am busily working on an abandoned paracosm that I started when I was sixteen or so. Eventually I might actually write the whole story in narrative form for publication of some sort. More details to follow. Hopefully I can make a habit of updating here more frequently now that things have calmed down…a little. :-)

Shaping The Invisible

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I have several seldom-used outlets haunting the web:

I don’t know what to do with them. How to salvage what they once meant to me. They stand testament to who I’ve been and maybe a glimpse of the Essential Me, if such a thing exists. I’ve been wistful and I’ve been ecstatic in turns, in spades.

Why…can’t I…hold…all these…ghosts?

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Butterfly Song

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I’ve promised myself I will post one text post for every video post so as not to be tempted to only post videos of lovely things. This is my current song obsession. Butterfly Song by Jocelyn Pook from the Untold Things CD. I love Jocelyn Pook’s work with a passion. She is an amazing composer and deserves way more recognition than she seems to get.

And here is her lovely face:

Jocelyn Pook

Jocelyn Pook

100 Things To Do In 2013

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This is an idea I heard about from a friend of a friend who introduced me to Leonie Dawson‘s 2013 Create Your Incredible Year Planner. (Arwen’s review is here on Youtube. Hi Arwen! You’re a doll!) While I ultimately decided that the planner was not my cup of gin, I did find a heck of a lot of appeal and inspiration in the concept of making the list. It’s like a bucket list for your year, as opposed to “maybe someday down the road, hopefully before I bite it.” Arwen’s review gave me the impression that the list should be about things you will do for yourself, but should not be naggy or shaming.

An example from my list is “Keep working on barefoot running – every bit helps” instead of “Lose ten pounds by March, lardbutt.”

The focus here is on health and doing something I enjoy, not on chiding myself for failing to do something I know I should be doing; positive reinforcement rather than continuing a cycle of shame that only leads to more unproductive negative emotions. (Not to say that they never have their place, but that is a topic for another time.)

Coming up with one hundred things can be a challenge. At first I thought there were only fifteen or twenty things I would care about accomplishing in a whole year. I wanted to give myself reasonable goals I knew I could achieve. But then I realized that I was short-changing myself, that my expectations of my ability to manifest were were waaaaay too low (I’m a fucking Wizard, dammit!) and that it is totally okay to DREAM BIG. Maybe even to be ridiculous. The point is to admit to yourself that you want to have a certain experience, however impractical, and then move toward that experience. Be silly and grandiose. Why not?

Here’s another sparkly thing about the list. You have to be okay with not achieving some of the things on your list. It’s totally okay not to get to them all this year. You can transfer them to your list for next year! Or you can decide that you’ve grown and changed and that you want to go in a different direction and discard some or all of the items you didn’t get to. Instead of feeling disappointed by the things you didn’t get to, think about all the things you were able to achieve. Think of how you might get closer to manifesting your desires in the coming year. Most importantly, forgive yourself and move on.

The list is a tool for focusing on what you want to get out of life and encouraging yourself to go toward those things. You might not get to have a gallery opening, but in the process of going toward that goal, you will probably have made some art and some contacts. Every bit accrues. You get more experience. You spiral ever closer to that which you desire.

Below are some of the things from my list! I hope they will inspire you to dream of doing great things, but even the little things are wonderful and a necessary part of the process. I haven’t made it to 100 yet, but I’m putting “finishing this list” on the list right now!

  1. Read as many classics as possible.
  2. Start using my sewing machine!
  3. Do the Five Tibetan Rites as often as possible.
  4. Float in an isolation tank.
  5. Go to a kava place.
  6. Try Chartreuse! (This will likely be my birthday present to myself this year.)
  7. Smile genuinely at strangers more often.
  8. Make eye contact more often.
  9. Write more opinion pieces.
  10. Make more YouTube videos.
  11. Write short stories to publish. (Because dammit, my brain makes beautiful stories!)
  12. Make melomel or metheglin.
  13. Work on learning a language. (Preferably Swedish if I can get Rosetta Stone to work again. Ja!)
  14. Host an unusual theme party. (Lady Gaga poker night, anyone?)
  15. Go to BizarroCon, if they have one this year.
  16. Flirt with girls more often.
  17. Cross dress and use the men’s room. (Scandalous!)
  18. Try dim sum.
  19. Get first aid & CPR cards. (I feel a great need to be qualified to help should an emergency arise.)
  20. Take Portland’s WomanStrength free self defense course.

Guess what else is on my list? Updating my damn blog! CHECK. Some of the things are my list are much more silly or much more risqué than anything here, but you get the idea. Just because it’s silly doesn’t mean I shouldn’t acknowledge my desire and move forward. One of my most-used mantras is: Positive Forward Motion. Always, always. Okay, stop reading this post and go make your list!

And again: thank you, thank you, thank you, Arwen!

Love love love,

Kara Rae