Sep 302007
 

Just because it came up in this morning’s epic bullshit session, a quick breakdown of Dreamers and the characters therein, in case a plot bunny comes and bites me on the ass again. This idea dates to about 1997/98 and was originally intended as the basis for a play that was actually a series of interlinked vignettes that told the story of Eluri’s death and Kansas’s subsequent suicide.

The Dreamers are every bit-part in your life. All the walk-ons you never bother to say hello to — those people who don’t matter and you’ll never have any meaningful and lengthy relationship with. Sometimes, the characters are profound — they’ll say things that change your life. Other times, they’re just the rich woman who walks her dog or the dancing bum on the bus stop. They don’t exist for long, and then there’s a new role to be played.


The first blip that appeared in the Dreamers-verse was written in 1997:

i awoke again in new orleans, this time to straggly black hair and the sounds of a laptop clicking in my ear. ‘go back to sleep,’ it said, but i would not. and i struggled searched and looked and sought and fought and found at last a soul so beautiful that i should make it my own, and i did. and i played the part, but at last i had to part with the play, for it was over. the play is over, my children, and we are dying.

It got its name from the snippet of a song written at the top of the page:
dreamer, when you dream, dream of me
when you lay your head to rest,
think of me first
think of me best
dreamer, when you dream, dream of me,
and somewhere still, beyond the hill
lies the old sweet memory

And that snippet inspired the story of Kansas, the dreamer who was still young enough to go on, but got trapped in his role by the seemingly ever-present Gethsemane.


The original character descriptions follow.

Eluri: the actor. born empty, awakening to hundreds of unconnected scenes with the voices in their head building. it cannot decide whether to quit the play and die, die slowly of disconsciousness, or to settle down and become real and live a human existence.

Kansas: the devil, inadvertently. discontent, confused, chaotic. lashes out in fear of sameness, structure, and order, often to the point of self-destruction and shattering the lives and realities of the ones he loves. a spade.

Gethsemane: lost. a human teenage girl sucked into the ugly mess by her love for Kansas. tries to tame Eluri. love of strange schedules. prone to bizarre fits of compulsive behaviours, like polishing drawer handles. cannot choose between Kansas and her patterns. an artist of time.

A Dreamer’s life is to constantly awaken in new places and new forms. In the end, this catches up, as with Eluri, who can hear all her past roles speaking to and through originally ‘her’, now ‘it’. Eluri has been around long enough to have been stripped of all that she is, except for the occasional mad selfish streak of self-preservation. It is time for her to die, and her choices are three. Te easiest, perhaps, is to ‘quit the play’, as the dreamers call it — to admit defeat and bow out, dying quietly behind the scenes. Second to that, a way that may no longer be open because of her madness, is to pick one last character, live out that life, entire, and die when the character dies. The last way is the ugliest way — one that the dreamers try not to speak of: She can work until she is nothing but a collection of minds and voices, no longer connected by the Dreamer’s core personality, and then simply disintegrate, forgotten, into the world. This last is the most likely. A Dreamer’s death is rarely seen, but it is said that the world stills for a moment to listen to the babbling of the drowning ghosts.

Kansas is caught struggling to free himself from Gethsemane, who was never meant to notice him, but has claimed him as another of her quirky obsessions, like drawer-pulls and night-sky philosophy. He can’t leave the role until she leaves him in peace, and these days, he’s never alone any more. The longer he stays, the harder it becomes to leave, so every minute in her presence, brings him closer to the inescapability of death within a character. He’s still young, though — in his mind, too young to die; in Eluri’s mind, still young enough to have gotten caught.

Dreamers is really the perfect setup for some truly unfortunate crossovers, and now that it’s come back into my list of materials, I expect to make use of it at some point.