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Surreal Darkness - updated 12/13

MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
Hello! I am glad that you have found your way here.

This is a land of darkness and bones and winged kittens and giant pigs, where nothing is quite as it seems.

3075ba20-9855-44ff-b39d-a11b7374c61e_zps3zhyuzck.jpg

The story starts in Sims 3 and then moves to Sims 4. It only uses scenery pictures, but I assure you that it is very much set in the Sims game.


Surreal Darkness

Sometimes the darkness and I go for a walk.

They are not very pleasant, these walks.


Even More Surreal

I am suddenly overcome with exhaustion and despair, and I drop my crayon.


The Endarkening

The darkness is sitting cross-legged in front of me. I look at it. It is not wearing the gatorskin. It is not wearing any skin. This is where it lives. This is where it wears its real self, its gray bones and its red red eyes.


Skindark

I want to talk to the darkness. I want to ask if the point is that everything is a skin, that it’s skins all the way down, but I am afraid that it will say yes and that then the streetlights will go out, one by one, and I will go dark.


Deep Blue Howl

The darkness says that I am still alive, but I am not so sure.


Bonefish

I keep grinding the toe bone against the rocks. I try to fit the chip of my soul back into myself, over and over, but it never seems to fit.


Not Quite All There

I thought being captured by shimmery colorless aliens with lots of legs and a propensity for eating humans would be more exciting, somehow.


Separate Skins

Sometimes the darkness and I….

Sometimes the darkness and I….

Sometimes the darkness isn’t here.


The Black

The lights shrink down to tiny points, and then they disappear. The path and the trees and the flat buildings disappear into the black with them, and the black lasts so long this time.

The darkness is dying.

I walk in the black, and I imagine.


The Spaces Where I Am Not

I wonder what it was like inside all those other versions of me. I wonder what they felt before they went into the black. I hope they weren’t scared. I hope it didn’t hurt.


The Unswallowing Place

I wonder what being unswallowed is like. I imagine it’s a great sucking upward and then a whoosh and your stomach drops, like a roller coaster, but then it’s over, and you are yourself again.


Ghost Walk

Sometimes the darkness and I go for a walk.

It is very pleasant, this walk.


Void Where Prohibited

The ghost pats me on my hand. It says “You do look so very tasty. Even with the void inside you.”

I am not really sure what to say to that, so I say, “Thank you.”


Abyssal Fingers

I stare into the abyss. I don’t blink.

The abyss stares back at me.

I think maybe it blinked, but I’m not sure.
Post edited by MedleyMisty on
Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.

Comments

  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    Not an official story update, but here's a post answering some questions about me and Sims stories:

    Liebster Award
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,671 Member
    edited November 2015
    Oh, how cool that you have a thread! :) Now we can talk about your stories here! I hope this draws readers, too, since your stories are so well-written, artistic, and imaginative. Readers are in for a treat!

    EDIT: And I love your Liebster post! :) <3
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    Oh, how cool that you have a thread! :) Now we can talk about your stories here! I hope this draws readers, too, since your stories are so well-written, artistic, and imaginative. Readers are in for a treat!

    EDIT: And I love your Liebster post! :) <3

    Awwww, thank you! A lot. For everything.

    I hope you know how awesome you are.
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • XLostxDestinyXXLostxDestinyX Posts: 42 Member
    Beautiful narrative! It's so much like poetry, and the landscape shots are gorgeous!
    giphy.gif
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    Beautiful narrative! It's so much like poetry, and the landscape shots are gorgeous!

    Awww, thanks! :) I promise it gets more of a plot in later chapters. ;)

    I like rhythm and getting the words and sentences just right.
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,671 Member
    Hiya! So, Medley, you were asking about the comment I'd made in the Art of Storytelling thread about the ways I felt that the first chapter of Surreal Darkness was perfect.

    Here's what I see about what works so well in that chapter:

    John Keeble, a writer that I worked with in grad school, loved to say that the first sentence, first paragraph, first chapter "established the capacity" for the piece. I started imagining the first chapter as a vehicle: is it a truck with a large bed and, hence, the capacity to carry a few tons? A little VW bug with a trunk in the front? A zippy two-seater sportscar with hardly any trunk at all?

    Readers read the first chapter so see what's up and what to expect in the piece.

    This chapter does that--not just with the words, but with the relationship between words and pictures.

    The opening screenshot with winter in TS3, the mailbox, not a Sim in sight, the shadows stark against the light: it lets us know already that we'll be moving through a world that's a different order of reality (the title contributes, too).

    Then the way that the text plays with what's unknown to the reader: who is the narrator? What's happened? Who's the darkness? What are they talking about? How come they have a relationship? What is the narrator?

    These questions--which aren't answered in the first chapter--compel the reader to keep going. We'll figure it out, or we might--and our desire to know about this drives us to keep reading.

    You let the reader know in the first chapter that there will be gory stuff--and talk about death and a potential for violence and uncomfortable sensations and images.

    This is important: readers can decide if they've got what it takes to explore this and let these images into their imaginations. It's important that this capacity is set in the first chapter.

    There's also absurdity and humor, irony and sincerity. And this mix is also important for the reader to know right away.

    For me, personally, I discover that my perspective will be altered while I read this: I learn that in the first chapter. So that helps me understand how I want to read it. If I'm at a point in my life where I feel I need to stay grounded, maybe I'll read it on the surface or analytically, so that I won't lose myself in it and then have to take some time to come back into my everyday. Or, if I'm in a place where I can be lost for a while, maybe I'll let myself get immersed and see what the experience is like.

    This chapter lets the reader know that reading this will be an experience--not something light that they can do on coffee break at the office.

    The capacity continues to be set through all the screenshots as the colors become surreal as the spectrum shifts towards, what, violet? Then there are stark contrasts with light and dark--and then those scenes beautiful to me, but threatening to the darkness of the sunlight hills and the birds in the sky.

    So, we get it all here.

    I also just took a look through recent comments on the page, and it sounds like lots of your readers are picking up on these same things.

    You're not revealing where you're going--but what's evident is that we're going somewhere. This isn't static.

    I guess the only thing I wonder about is the length--it's a long chapter. But then, that, too, establishes the capacity in this work for long chapters, so I feel that even that is perfect and effective.
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    edited December 2015
    @CathyTea Well, I guess I feel a tiny bit better about the first chapter now. ;)

    I never think about this stuff, lol. I'm like "Yay pretty picture! Now add pretty words! Yay prettiness!"

    I don't know the answer to those questions myself. I've developed some theories as the pretty words show up from my subconscious.

    Uncomfortable? I guess...well, like what I was originally planning to name the storytelling thread, with the blood and bones. ;) That is imagery that I'm comfortable with. But hey, I am developing enough awareness of other people to have figured out that I should go with a more general name.
    ...readers can decide if they've got what it takes to explore this and let these images into their imaginations.

    This reminded me of the movie theater bit!
    Sometimes the darkness and I go to the movies.

    I want to watch a black and white classic love story. It wants to watch the latest 3D slasher flick.

    I tell it that it shouldn’t put such images in its mind, that violence rots the soul. It says that its soul is blood and guts and dismemberment.

    Which...I guess that's what you were talking about there, huh?

    I honestly didn't know stuff like that would be hard for other people to explore.

    I spent the winter I was nine reading every book that the local library had on the Holocaust. I mention that a lot, because it had a lot to do with forming the person I am now. And I guess I am mentioning it here because, well...maybe reading graphic depictions of death camps when I was nine inured me to some things? Or made it easier for me to handle when I encounter it in fiction, because at least there it's not real, right? Or maybe it led to violence and death being something that I would want to examine in my fiction, because I have spent the 20+ years since then trying to understand how humans could do that to other humans. And also trying to figure out a way to live on this planet controlled by the species that did things like that and still be able to find some peace and happiness and meaning and freedom.
    There's also absurdity and humor, irony and sincerity.

    I resemble that remark! ;)
    For me, personally, I discover that my perspective will be altered while I read this: I learn that in the first chapter. So that helps me understand how I want to read it. If I'm at a point in my life where I feel I need to stay grounded, maybe I'll read it on the surface or analytically, so that I won't lose myself in it and then have to take some time to come back into my everyday. Or, if I'm in a place where I can be lost for a while, maybe I'll let myself get immersed and see what the experience is like.

    Oooh, I find this very interesting! It's something I would have never thought about, because to me it doesn't feel like an altered perspective. It just feels beautiful.

    Maybe this is part of my social issues in the community and also my issues with feeling like if I made it good enough then everyone should read it and like it and being confused when they don't. Because I honestly didn't know that I was being challenging and altering perspectives. I had no idea that I could create something that felt beautiful to me but that it might be hard for other people to get involved in.
    This chapter lets the reader know that reading this will be an experience--not something light that they can do on coffee break at the office.

    Oh wow, really? I never saw it that way. That's pretty cool in one way, but in another way it makes me sad because maybe it puts people off reading it?
    The capacity continues to be set through all the screenshots as the colors become surreal as the spectrum shifts towards, what, violet? Then there are stark contrasts with light and dark--and then those scenes beautiful to me, but threatening to the darkness of the sunlight hills and the birds in the sky.

    Ooooh, this is awesome! I just kind of randomly edited the pics until I thought they were pretty and then I just kind of randomly chose one to caption, so I didn't mean to do that at all! Also wow *goes to look at those pics and their captions to see how you think the darkness found them threatening*

    You mean the last two pics? Those are Monte Vista, which is beautiful. :)

    Hmm. I will have to think about that some more. Because with the red hills pic, I was just making pretty words that went well together and also kind of just carrying on the idea of the darkness being, well...dark. ;) And then with the last pic - actually they weren't in that order to begin with, I don't think? I will check Tumblr for their original order. Because....
    I guess the only thing I wonder about is the length--it's a long chapter.

    It's longer than the others because it was just a random thing I was doing for fun on Tumblr, and then after quite a few months I had the idea to post it on the WordPress and make it all official and advertise it on Sim Storytellers. And there's a rule on Sim Storytellers that the advertised stories have to have some sort of discernible plot, so I changed the order of things so it would end with that last pic where you could say that the narrator triumphed over the darkness, although of course we know the narrator did no such thing. ;)

    So the nine pics to a chapter rule wasn't in place yet, and it was just a collection of everything I'd written up until I made that decision.
    You're not revealing where you're going--but what's evident is that we're going somewhere. This isn't static.

    Thank you! *hugs*

    That was the thing that worried me the most - that people would think it'd just continue as somewhat but not really connected vignettes with no real progress or storyline, and so they'd stop reading before they got to the storyline in later chapters.

    Also thank you a lot for everything, and for taking the time to read my work and give me this in-depth comment. I really really appreciate it.
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,671 Member
    edited December 2015
    This reminded me of the movie theater bit!

    I know! I was actually thinking about the slasher movie and the scary movie poster in the window when I wrote that! LOL!
    And also trying to figure out a way to live on this planet controlled by the species that did things like that and still be able to find some peace and happiness and meaning and freedom.

    This is such a cool theme, and has also been the theme of my life this entire time around! It's something that I work with nearly daily. Within the last year or two, my boyfriend and I (with whom I've been exploring this theme for almost 36 years) have come to understandings which allow us to feel some sort of resolution about it--and still, it's a theme that is so potent and ripe, and really, what art's been about forever on this planet!
    Maybe this is part of my social issues in the community and also my issues with feeling like if I made it good enough then everyone should read it and like it and being confused when they don't. Because I honestly didn't know that I was being challenging and altering perspectives. I had no idea that I could create something that felt beautiful to me but that it might be hard for other people to get involved in.

    It's very beautiful. And it's powerful. My own perspective... it's probably a lot like Goofy Love--that kind of dancing in the sunlight in the desert.

    Your writing is really powerful, and it allows me to enter that perspective. Since it's not my own native perspective, when I enter it, then it takes me a while to find my feet again--I'm out there in space, and it takes me a while to become grounded again in my own world.

    I really don't think it's a question of "good enough." It's already as good as it gets--it's art. And so it's a question more of, as I see it, "Who is ready for this adventure? Are you ready for it? If not now, maybe later?" And so the readers that come to it will be those readers who are ready for that adventure....

    Also, when you think about how many young artists strive to be unique, to have their own original perspectives and viewpoints, that your work presents this perspective so effectively is something to celebrate! :)
    That's pretty cool in one way, but in another way it makes me sad because maybe it puts people off reading it?

    I wouldn't worry about it: What you are saying in "Surreal Darkness" needs to be said in that way--the way you're saying it. And... it's like Gurdjieff's "Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson"--it's written in such a way that those readers who find their way to it and through it become the very ones that it speaks to. And Gurdjieff has a lot of other things he's said that can reach others. Not every work is for all readers--or should be! Best to have a work that reaches and really speaks to the readers who find it.

    And... I have a feeling that there are many, many, many stories within you, expressing many of your ideas and insights, and that with all these stories, you'll reach lots of readers!

    No need to reach everyone with every piece! :) <3
    that people would think it'd just continue as somewhat but not really connected vignettes with no real progress or storyline, and so they'd stop reading before they got to the storyline in later chapters.

    Not at all--as a reader, I have so many questions, that I want to keep going. I want to see who is this? Will the darkness "defeat" him/her? Does the narrator even understand the darkness? What's going on? So, it really propels me to keep reading.
    Also thank you a lot for everything, and for taking the time to read my work and give me this in-depth comment. I really really appreciate it.

    I hesitate to provide too much analysis to this because it still seems very much "in process" to me (the work as a whole)--and this work feels that it's driven by the subconscious. So I don't want to insert logical analysis too much to interrupt the process.

    I'm really happy to share analysis and interpretation with you whenever you ask for it--it's something that's always going on with me when I read, so all I need to do is tune into it to be able to share it.

    And at the same time, I don't want to volunteer it without your asking because I really feel that you can trust that creative process that's at work--for look where it's leading you! To some place with deep beauty, significant images, and lots of discovery!

    Thank you for writing it and sharing it with us! <3
    Post edited by CathyTea on
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    Within the last year or two, my boyfriend and I (with whom I've been exploring this theme for almost 36 years) have come to understandings which allow us to feel some sort of resolution about it--and still, it's a theme that is so potent and ripe, and really, what art's been about forever on this planet!

    I found a quote from David Foster Wallace the other day that I think really applies to my longer works, like Valley and Surreal Darkness. I don't think I'd like his fiction, but when I read his speeches and essays and interviews I see a real person caught in a struggle with an unreal society, a struggle he lost.
    The interesting thing is why we’re so desperate for this anesthetic against loneliness. You don’t have to think very hard to realize that our dread of both relationships and loneliness, both of which are like sub-dreads of our dread of being trapped inside a self (a psychic self, not just a physical self), has to do with angst about death, the recognition that I’m going to die, and die very much alone, and the rest of the world is going to go merrily on without me. I’m not sure I could give you a steeple-fingered theoretical justification, but I strongly suspect a big part of real art fiction’s job is to aggravate this sense of entrapment and loneliness and death in people, to move people to countenance it, since any possible human redemption requires us first to face what’s dreadful, what we want to deny.

    I'm lucky enough to find enough meaning in my work to keep struggling.
    Your writing is really powerful, and it allows me to enter that perspective. Since it's not my own native perspective, when I enter it, then it takes me a while to find my feet again--I'm out there in space, and it takes me a while to become grounded again in my own world.

    I really don't think it's a question of "good enough." It's already as good as it gets--it's art. And so it's a question more of, as I see it, "Who is ready for this adventure? Are you ready for it? If not now, maybe later?" And so the readers that come to it will be those readers who are ready for that adventure....

    Thank you. That's the favorite thing I like about sharing my work with others - they see things in it that I don't and they have a different experience of it than I do, and I love hearing about the brains outside my skull.

    What do you mean by out in space?

    Also thank you for that perspective - I tend to think that if someone comes to check it out and rejects it. it's because it's not good enough.
    And... I have a feeling that there are many, many, many stories within you, expressing many of your ideas and insights, and that with all these stories, you'll reach lots of readers!

    No need to reach everyone with every piece! :) <3

    This is something that's hard for me to deal with. All my stories are me, and someone rejecting one of them feels like a rejection of me.

    But, I guess....there was one person years ago who said that she tried to read it but the violence that you referred to earlier put her off, but she told me to not think that meant that it wasn't any good. And then the friend who told me a few days ago that she couldn't connect to Surreal Darkness, and I haven't updated it since because why write it, then? But she told me that my writing was phenomenal and to not change and try to be "better" for someone else, but still...it feels like I've failed and like there's no point.
    Will the darkness "defeat" him/her?

    I hope later chapters show that's not the right question to be asking. ;) But it could be right as a question after the first chapter, I suppose.
    And at the same time, I don't want to volunteer it without your asking because I really feel that you can trust that creative process that's at work--for look where it's leading you! To some place with deep beauty, significant images, and lots of discovery!

    No worries, I can analyze and theorize about the philosophy and metaphors and everything all day and then go write an update straight from my subconscious. ;)
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,671 Member
    This is something that's hard for me to deal with. All my stories are me, and someone rejecting one of them feels like a rejection of me.

    I can relate to this, with my fiction. In many of my works of fiction, I'll have a character who is really similar to me--and often, when these works have been workshopped, inevitably, many of the others will not get that character and reject her or him as being "not real" or "weird" or maybe even somehow damaged.

    And it's easy to take that personally, for that person really represents me!

    At the same time, often the people that reject the characters are true friends of mine! They like and accept me!

    So this helps me to see that it isn't "me" they are rejecting. It is a particular experience or perspective--it is my experience and my perspective. But I am so much more than my experience and my perspective!

    Also, if my own experience and perspectives are very different from my friends', then I can understand that they might not resonate with what I experience....

    A beautiful thing about friendship is that we can be friends with those who have different perspectives and experiences--this can be a very, very wonderful thing! :)

    I suppose that we might crave "unconditional understanding." I'm also not sure that it's possible, though it is something to strive for!

    But how about "unconditional acceptance?" It sounds like your friends accept YOU, even if they don't understand your work.

    And I feel that my friends accept me, even if they don't understand these characters who represent me...

    It's beautiful that we have such diversity of experience--with commonality.

    As I've been writing this, the face of my Sim Sugar Maple keeps coming into mind: she is so different from me and from the Sims that I identify with. And I love that about her! I love that I can find a different perspective through her. She accepts everyone--all the Sims around her, who are so different. And she enjoys their differences. That's what I'm getting at.
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    edited November 2017
    I am having an update!!!!
    I wonder what being unswallowed is like. I imagine it’s a great sucking upward and then a whoosh and your stomach drops, like a roller coaster, but then it’s over, and you are yourself again.

    The Unswallowing Place
    Post edited by MedleyMisty on
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,671 Member
    I love that chapter. Now I'm looking for bridges in my world...
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    I love that chapter. Now I'm looking for bridges in my world...

    Yay thank you!!!! :)
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    Is just one little afternoon bump.
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    edited April 2016
    Is update time!

    tumblr_o5t1gxLbZA1t0rl5oo1_1280.png

    Sometimes the darkness and I go for a walk.

    It is very pleasant, this walk.

    Ghost Walk
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,671 Member
    Loved this update. Great screenshots. The first one gave me goosebumps.
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    Loved this update. Great screenshots. The first one gave me goosebumps.

    Awww thank you! *hugs*

    Benches do seem to be important to the narrator and the darkness. :) I've always been fascinated by the meaning that stories find in the setting of the game, like with Valley and the waterfall, and Surreal Darkness and benches and streetlights and giant pigs and the trash can and, well, everything that shows up in Sims 4 scenery. :)
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • JLBDreamerJLBDreamer Posts: 622 Member
    @MedleyMisty I've read the first two of your story and thus far its rather existential and reminds me of the rambles in Moby plum. Its interesting but I do tend to enjoy structured plot stories a little more than stream of consciousness narratives which this seems to be so far. That's just personal taste though and its well written. Personifying darkness is an interesting concept.
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    edited June 2016
    @JLBDreamer I did mention in the circle thread that the first two chapters are more a series of vignettes, and it developed more of a plot after that. With quite a few references back to the first two chapters, so they are still relevant.

    It is of course always existential. ;)
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    edited February 2017
    I am having an update!

    The ghost pats me on my hand. It says “You do look so very tasty. Even with the void inside you.”

    I am not really sure what to say to that, so I say, “Thank you.”

    Void Where Prohibited
    Post edited by MedleyMisty on
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    Is update time! :)


    tumblr_oi4juckhkk1riev15o1_540.jpg


    I stare into the abyss. I don’t blink.

    The abyss stares back at me.

    I think maybe it blinked, but I’m not sure.

    Abyssal Fingers
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • AdamsEve1231AdamsEve1231 Posts: 5,911 Member
    edited February 2017
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