Part 2 of “For The Winds Like Dreams or Visions” went up today, and it was very satisfying to not only finish out our first look at the Totems as they appear in dreams, but to also introduce Ian’s friend Swapan, or Swap for short. Lets see if I can convert that excitement into a decent blog post…
I’ll hit 2 points today, and try for 2 more on next week.
Totems, Dreams, and Spirit Forms
As far as we’ve seen, at this point it seems the perpetual and enduring form of the Totems is their physical, stuffed animal body. Sometimes an animus form, which overlaps, occupies, and animates the physical body, will become visible, and often seems to have an imbued, symbolic quality to its appearance. We’ve seen several instances of the Totems “flaring their animus”, as I like to call it in the notes I write to Lewis, so there should be nothing new or strange about the visual imagery around the animus. But in this story arc, Installment 9 and 10, we get a look inside the dreamscape of a sleeper while they are under the influence of not only a nightmare-creating spirit, but of the Totems themselves… and in doing so, we get a look at the ultimate expression of the Totem’s metaphysical form: their spirit form.
And example of the difference between animus and spirit form can be seen here:
Sindri (the white bear) flaring his bear-like animus, which is primarily linework energy.
Sindri (the white bear) pushing his animus into an almost full manifestation of his spirit form.
So, maybe it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine who’s featured in the upper left corner of this panel:
Of course, the nightmare responsible for the appearance of the Bag Men in the dream looked like this:
All of that to say, in the dreamscape of a sleeper’s mind, supernatural influences may not always appear in their truest forms. Be it to inspire, comfort, terrify, or corrupt, metaphysical powers can be brought to bear to shape the dream, and in shaping the dream, shape the memory and mind of the sleeper. It hasn’t necessarily been said outright, but it seems fairly obvious that the nightmare spirits are determined (for some reason) to get to Ian in his dreams, and that the Totems are determined to stop that from happening however they can. Do all nightmares come from spirits? Are they all bad or wicked? Do the Totems try and stop all nightmares? These are legit questions, and I promise they’ll be addressed as the story rolls forward.
Also, in the story, we’ll get more into Spirit Forms and what they mean (and how they develop), but for now, just to be able to get a look at how Lewis is illustrating the difference between the “waking world”, the “night world”, and the “dream world” is a super treat for me.
You have to remember, in a lot of ways, I’m along for the ride on this one as much as you are: I steer with my words, but Lewis paints the image I see outside my windshield.
Swapan is the 3rd human character we’ve met in Totems, technically the 4th if we count Ian and Brandon’s faceless mother, but only the 2nd to actually have dialogue. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m easily excited about things, but having hit the point in the story where Ian can talk to someone other than himself really opens a lot of opportunities for the story. Who is Swap? We’ll get to see him develop out over the next Installment, but for now I think we can rest assured that he’s at least a friend of Ian’s. More human characters, including my first attempt at writing female characters, are on the way, and I’m in the process of trying to figure out a gender-neutral, or at least gender-swappable, gaze to use while telling their stories. Wish me luck!
Alright, I guess that is it for now. Hope you enjoyed Installment 10.
Check back for another Coda, and another blog post: I will be talking about the homage/tribute nature of our Installment covers, and why I try and use quotes and excerpts from other writers in Codas and in story arc names, and how I hope it doesn’t seem pretentious. 🙂
Have a good weekend!