actuality.log


Thursday, December the 1st, 2005

When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of science fiction literature. Books that frequently featured in my reading-lists included works by Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. I can safely say—and I kid you not—I’ve read over 95% of everything Asimov has ever had published. And, to say the least, he was extremely prolific.

Bragging rights aside, none of this has too much to do with today’s post. It’s just, an oft recurring theme in his books involved a scenario similar to what follows. At regular instances, when the protagonist’s mind is at a peaceful, comfortably-numbed state—he’s asleep and dreaming, he’s idling, nearly asleep and not really thinking about the problem at hand, he has just orgasmed and lying spent inside the woman—he is suddenly struck with this brilliant flash of insight, whence he puts all the known pieces of the puzzle together, and, with a heavy dose of intuition, solves the problem at hand (usually involving the fate of mankind).

But always, every single time, this brilliant deduction is lost to the ether in his dreamy state. As he wakes, he’s left only with the strongest inkling he has the answer. He knows he has it, but doesn’t really have it. This is constantly at the back of his (and the reader’s) mind until the last few pages of the book, when things start to fall in place, and everyone realises he knew, and was right all along.

But why am I telling you all this?

Bear with me, it’s a little abstruse.

I am an avid aficionado of the local comedy-club scene, and I frequently see numerous artistes perform with different levels of success. But it is almost always fun. Now this is something I’ve always wanted to try, but I definitely need a lot of practise on (what I decree as) a stellar bit before my self-confidence is up to par. It’s not like I’ve not performed often on stage, but in most cases it’s something like a song or a play where everything is carefully rehearsed.

Now I know I can be a funny guy, but it’s a sort of dark, dry, sarcastic, rapier wit—the sort of thing which takes some getting used to. Plus my accent and usually unclear speech pattern don’t help.

This situation almost changed a short while ago. Almost.

A couple of days ago, when I was nearly-napping on my couch, I ran through an entirely perfect bit in my head which I knew I was funny, the material was fresh and original, my timing was spot on (you can not-stammer in your dreams) and I was confident. I’d struck gold, but, it’s just, I couldn’t get myself to sit up and jot it all down before I forgot it.

My brain tried to jolt me up, but I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t, because I was asleep.

And now, the nagging feeling of knowing I had it all, and that it’s still there, but just out of reach is killing me.

I can’t wait for the last few pages of my book.

Fun “science”: Did you know that your body is mostly paralysed when you sleep and dream? It is this that prevents you from acting out your dreams; and this is the mechanism that doesn’t function properly in people who are prone to things like sleepwalking.

This is a printer-friendly version of the journal entry “The last few pages” from actuality.log. Visit http://emphaticallystatic.org/earlier/the-last-few-pages/ to read the original entry and follow any responses to it.

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