Archives for category: Dreams

This morning I had a vivid, but simple dream.
I was petting and brushing with Athena’s cat brush, two rabbits. Each were white with black spots. I intuitively knew the larger one was male, the smaller, female.
That was it. But what did the dream mean?
Upon awakening, I got out my beloved A Dictionary of Symbols by J.E. Cirlot and my Outlines of Chinese Symbolism & Art Motives by C.A.S. Williams.
Neither source had “rabbit” but they both had “hare.”
Cirlot reports that (naturally) the hare is associated with fecundity and procreation, but that’s not the hare’s main symbolism. The hare is associated with fleetness of foot and diligent service, but most of all the hare is associated with the Hecate, Hekar, and the Moon.
Turning to Williams, the hare is one of the Chinese Twelve Terrestrial Animals, is associated with longevity (?!), and is strongly associated with the Moon.
Then I checked my calendar. Sure enough, today November 12 is the full moon!
I love it when my subconscious mind taps into an archetype.
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Call me a fan girl and an SF geek, but I loved the Marvel Studios film, “Captain Marvel” (CM). This delightful film is the most woman-centric comics piece I’ve seen since “Wonder Woman” with the wonderful Gal Godot, who was born for the part. I truly hope she isn’t typecast for the rest of her career but that’s a risk actors take when they sign up to be a superhero.
While WW has more of an ethereal superhero plot, CM has the most personal storyline I’ve seen in quite a while in a comics film (caveat: I haven’t seen them all, but quite a few), exploring, as its central themes, the empowerment of women, friendship between women, and warm relations between black and white folks. My favorite themes in fiction and my own fiction (especially my novel, Summer of Love). The main character’s personal journey of discovering her true self, discovering her personal empowerment dovetails well with the greater plot.
Brie Larson is terrific as the lead, Carol Danvers. She captures the unruly emotions of her character, is funny, tender, and kick-ass deadly when she needs to be. Samuel Jackson, as Shield Agent Fury, is adorable (if digitally “anti-aged”), and there’s an even more adorable ginger tabby cat (a nod to “Alien”).
The story was created by a woman and a man, the screenplay written by the same woman, the same man, and an additional woman, and the film was directed by the woman story-screenplay writer and the man. No wonder it’s so good. Woman power is bred in its bones.
The screenplay is practically a perfect textbook example of what you should accomplish in your screenplay. (Note: you want to sell your screenplay, not a shooting script, which is a much different entity.) After the first screening, to acquaint me with the content, I sat through a second screening with a stopwatch and a notepad and pencil to take notes. I’m presently working on a screenplay adapting my print story that I sold to a major studio and needed some guidance and inspiration.
The rules about three-act structure aren’t arbitrary; they work to present the viewer (or reader) with a dynamic creation that carries you from start to finish. I’ve observed many effective books and stories that consciously (or unconsciously) follow the three-act structure. When I analyze my own work, stories and books, I see that I’ve consciously (or unconsciously) written often according to that structure.
A bonus: after the usual montage of Marvel Comics heroes, we see a 60-second montage of the cameos of Stan Lee in films, followed by a black page with red lettering THANK YOU STAN, and one final shot of his joyfully smiling face. As a young man, Lee started writing and drawing comic books around World War II. The comics industry had its ups and downs, publishers went out of business, but Lee persisted to create the powerhouse that is today Marvel Studios. His hilarious cameos in the films were always something to anticipate (like spotting Alfred Hitchcock in his movies). Lee died at age 95 last year. Sure enough, Stan makes a cameo in CM but I don’t know if it’s digital or was filmed before he died.
Now then: in Act One we open with Carol, known only as “Vers”, is beset by scattered disturbing dreams that seem to indicate an unknown life she had. This is always a tricky proposition to portray. The viewer has to pay attention, but attention is rewarded throughout the film, as we revisit the dreams—her fragmentary memories of a mysteriously lost life—in Act Two and Act Three and by the end make total sense of them.
Vers finds herself on HALA, the high-tech home planet of the Kree (a nod to “Forbidden Planet” and the high-tech Krell). The high-tech city, with dynamic images scrolling across the sides of buildings, is reminiscent of the futuristic Los Angeles in “Bladerunner.”
She is in training to “become the best she can be,” according to her mentor (played by Jude Law) as soldier in an on-going war fought by the Kree. She reports in to the Supreme Intelligence—an A.I. who rules the Kree and who appears as a woman. Vers’s problem is that she’s too emotional, too ready to laugh.
The Supreme Intelligence tells her “to serve well and with strength,” which is reminiscent of the oath in “Gladiator”, “Strength and honor,” and sure enough in the next scene, the African hunter from “Gladiator” appears as a member of a Kree military team.
She’s sent on a mission with the Kree team, there’s fighting (the writer-director is wise enough not to let any of the fight scenes go on too long—a problem for me in many comics films) with an alien race, the Skroll, whose appearance strongly resembles certain beloved aliens in “Star Trek”.
The Skroll capture Vers and probe her mind—more of those fragmentary memories emerge, including a woman who was once her mentor (the Supreme Intelligence takes the mentor’s appearance) and her best friend, a young black woman training to be a fighter jet pilot with Vers.
Then, at twenty minutes almost to the second, there’s a huge plot point that marks the end of Act One and spins the story around in a totally different direction.
Vers finds herself on C 53, Earth, Los Angeles in 1995. She crashes through the roof of a Blockbuster Video, curiously picks up a video of “The Right Stuff,” blasts off the head of a cardboard Arnold Schwarzenegger display, and searches for communication equipment from a nearby Radio Shack so she can contact her mentor back in the Kree universe. This is a humorous nod to “2001: A Space Odyssey,” with Pan Am as the brand on the space shuttle taking people from Earth to the Moon. The screenwriters of “2001” didn’t know the brand not only wouldn’t last until what was then the far future, Pan Am didn’t last past the 1970s. Blockbuster and Radio Shack, which seemed like indestructible brands in 1995, similarly didn’t last past the 2000s. So we viewers got a laugh out of that.
Enter Shield Agent Fury, Sam Jackson, in a scene reminiscent of “Men in Black”. Complications ensue. Certain personal details about Fury and Vers are skillfully revealed and then pay off a little later in plot points. I love it when writers pay off a setup and I become very annoyed when a setup doesn’t go anywhere.
CM also pokes fun at what appears to us now as clunky computer tech in 1995 (Carol awkwardly pecks with two fingers at a keyboard). There’s a fight between Vers and an alien enemy (the Skroll can shapeshift, taking on the appearance of whomever they see) atop a subway train reminiscent of “Indiana Jones.”
Act Two continues for fifty-five minutes with more complications circling around the storyline. There’s a midpoint at twenty minutes into Act Two. The script doctor, Linda Seger, is a big believer in the midpoint of a screenplay as a restatement of the overall themes. In CM, the two lead characters, seeking Carol’s long-lost best friend, travel in a futuristic jet plane from Los Angeles (L.A.) to Louisiana, (La.) where the friend lives. (“L.A.” to “La”—that’s a nice touch.) Vers is “going home” to her friend who has an appealing and intelligent young daughter, so we get some mother-daughter development. The personal relationships and Carol’s story of personal discovery, her personal empowerment are ramped up.
Then at fifty-five minutes, a HUGE mind-boggling plot point spins the story into a totally different direction, signaling the end of Act Two. I am NOT going to spoil the plot at this point, but my fedora is tipped at the screenwriters for a superb, memorable plot twist.
Act Three then lasts forty minutes, which is a bit long. But because of the HUGE plot twist, the writers have to re-establish certain back-stories and the forward momentum of the overall plot. Be assured the pace never flags. There are more fight scenes with multiple characters (as in all the comics films) and plenty of video-gamish space jets chasing and shooting at each other like in Star Wars. Because of the length, the writers cleverly slip in a hilarious midpoint twenty minutes into Act Three. (Okay, plot spoiler alert: the adorable cat isn’t really a cat.)
The conclusion for Carol, reinforcing her friendship with her best friend and her daughter, and for Agent Fury are fully satisfying (and the cat makes one last adorable cameo) and yet open the door to more of Captain Marvel. Indeed, a coda notes she will continue in “Avengers: Endgame”. We look forward to the film and intend to see it for Tom’s birthday in December, if the film is out on DVD.
With Captain Marvel by itself, though, a great time was had by all. If you don’t catch the film allusions (I probably missed many more), that’s okay. The film stands firmly by itself. Recommended.
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Recently, I’ve also been dreaming about preparing food and cooking for large groups of people. This is another good sign—tthat my subconscious mind is “cooking up” something tasty and nourishing for the real world.
In the real world, I cook my family’s dinner from scratch virtually every night. That’s how I’ve developed dozens of nutritious, low fat, high fiber, mostly vegetarian recipes, which I’ll share on Tier One (among other things), The Essential Digest.
In this morning’s dream, I was not only knocking myself preparing the feast, but I was baking a strange cake. I prepared a pastry crust to go around the cake, and delicious filling, and suddenly, on top, there was a grove of little trees with their leaves full in bloom.
My subconscious mind has a weird sense of humor.
I didn’t know what to do with the trees or how to make them edible, so I took the cake to the shop of a master baker.
He told me to just make the trees (which were actual trees) chocolate and the leaves (which were actual leaves) mint frosting.
So I did! You can do that in dreams! The cake was a huge success.
Tip: As you lie down to sleep, give yourself the mental suggestion, “I’m sleeping well and I’m dreaming well.”
You will sleep soundly and have delightful dreams!
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Lately, I’ve been dreaming about inventing improbable things. I take that as a good sign, that my subconscious mind is active and creating fiction (and other good things) hopefully in the real world.
In this morning’s vivid dream, I invented a garment called My Body Bag™. This garment is so lightweight and pliable, you can fold it up and fit in your jeans pocket, backpack, or handbag. When you take it out, My Body Bag™ inflates to your actual physical size. You lay it down, anywhere, anytime, climb in, and seal the opening above your head.
Then you can sleep anywhere, anytime, and My Body Bag™ keeps you cool if the outside environment is hot, or cool if it’s hot. My Body Bag™ is paper-thin (unlike a conventional sleeping bag), but keeps you comfortable as a plush featherbed.
As an added bonus, if you die in My Body Bag™ (and it’s highly recommended that you arrange to die in it), My Body Bag™ will ascertain the moment of your death and incinerate you inside the bag. Your executor or heirs can then fold up My Body Bag™ with your ashes inside and conveniently drop it the nearest trashcan.
The dream went further to suggest that I sold My Body Bag™ to LL Bean for ten million dollars.
Husband Tom: “Why don’t you write a flash fiction based on your dream?”
Me: “Nah. there’s no plot. Anyway, why should I beat my brains out for pennies a word when I can sell the invention to LL Bean for millions?”
Tom (looking at me askance): “Hmm. You have a point.”
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Donate from your PayPal account to lisasmason@aol.com.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, blogs, roundtables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!