Character Building


Previously, I wrote:

The otherreal characters were another think coming to me.

It began with an attempt at far-fetching. Even after I failed, I began to experience a person in the otherreal who couldn’t have been there. This experience did have a similarity to imagination, like I would imagine a piece of furniture in the room that I hadn’t bought yet, except that I hadn’t deliberately put this person in my mind, hadn’t expected it, and I didn’t want that person there. I thought it was imagination, so I deliberately imagined this person walking away.

This deliberately imagined scenario would dissipate, and the otherreal person would remain with the same clarity, as my own manipulation of my own experience had not interfered one bit. I considered this troubling because this clearly-formed person in the otherreal was unpleasant

I interpreted this as at least partially my fear of surrendering conscious control to some evil force or personality that would act through my body. I’d read and heard the stories of this happening, and it was usually to deeply troubled youths without any hint that it had anything to do with far-fetching.

The experience of far-fetching, though, is dissociating from the body. I couldn’t help but think of the mind as like water, and the body like a pitcher or a glass. Far-fetching would leave it empty for more evil waters to fill. I couldn’t get unstuck on that thought.

So, the character described above appeared, at first, like Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist movie. That much at least was from my mind, but as I described, I couldn’t control its behavior even if its appearance were from my mind. Then, even its appearance began to change. PIC_1731The teeth grew pointed and long, overlapping the lips like a Venus fly trap. The scars faded, leaving a complexion that was white and gray as the moon. The hair became black, and coarse as a haystack. The character became naked and doughy, maybe appearing more like Neil Gaiman’s personification of Despair, but with an evil smile that wasn’t despairing at all.

It crossed over, in a bad way, from something imagined to something inspired. Even if I didn’t consciously deliberate this form and in fact had been trying not to think about it and rationalizing that there was nothing to be afraid of, it was still imagined because it came from something I’d seen. Inspiration showed in the autonomous behavior of the character.

What it eventually became was something that I hadn’t seen anywhere else, unlike when I took a billow and made a character from it. Turnkey billows had no effect on the character described above, and neither did conscious imagination. This made it more inspired and vivid than my childhood monsters. I also noticed that it didn’t behave as if it were on a spectrum of personification between billows and character. It was a notion, or a character, without any billowing in between.

Right now I also want to note that when I do imagine a character that is inspired for a fictional story instead of an immediate experience, they, duh, are not immediately experienced. I’m a voyeur of these fictional characters’ lives. Those don’t ever try to communicate with me or interfere with my life. Their actions can surprise me, and I also call that inspiration. They never know that I’m watching.

Contrast all that with the dragon.


The friend who sheltered me after I escaped my abusive sister and the people who enabled my sister’s abuses, let’s name her Alpha. I offended her during my stay with her, and she told me to get out, which I did because she has greater boundaries than I had needs. I did have wants for clean drinking water and enough food to survive, and someplace to sleep that would be safe from weather and uninvited people, and for that I burdened my extended family immensely, and felt hurt and guilty without blaming Alpha for any of it at all.

Alpha and I got back in contact with each other a year later. Despite my rudeness, really, she hadn’t lost my respect or trust. She told me that she should have been more understanding, and I was embarrassed that she thought that way, because she’d taken me in and owed me nothing.

We’d continue to meet and talk, and she would voice opinions that I believed were decreasingly less well-formed. She spoke very confidently of them, though, and I’m easily convinced by that.

Or I used to be.

When she spoke so, I’d sometimes get distracted by little billows coming off me and floating towards her like dandelion tufts. I would spin out more billows to net those before they went too far, and with the force of my mind I would pull them them back into me.

I believe represents how I chose to reserve my own right to a different opinion.

Couldn’t I just do that notionally, like everybody else does? Why does it have to billow? Why do I have to hallucinate?

And then, why did the billows have to turn into a character?

The billows that I wove began to flow by themselves, with the regularity of Alpha’s sermons. This otherreal experience was largely tactile, not visible.

Then it was visible, or at least I thought that if physical light were physically bouncing off the shape of what I wove…then, it would be red.

The shape would be serpentine.

The otherreal appearance of it developed into a sort of hologram of giant, disembodied crab claws. They were red-orange because I’d mostly ever really seen cooked crabs at dinner, only occasionally the brown-gray ones at the beach.

After that, it became the hologram of a serpentine shape with ears. It would stretch its neck out and swallow whatever was floating away, but I wasn’t afraid of these important parts of me being digested because I knew this red serpent was a part of me even though I wasn’t actively weaving it. What sort of serpent had fox ears, though? Or were they horns like that of a goat or a bull? Or was it the crest of a bird, like an owl or a falcon with feather tufts that made it appear horned? My senses don’t work the same way in the otherreal as in the corporeal, so it could be located well within my domain, so to speak, of consideration; but all these details only caught like they were beyond the corner of my eye.

Eventually, it settled on the shape of a Western dragon: bat-winged, plate-scaled, and red all over. Perhaps that was just more effective a shape, than that of a giant crab.