Archive for October, 2006


While sorting through my late grandmother’s effects, my mother came across a piece which fills just about every detail of the MacGuffin cliche…

It’s a metal circle, a few inches across, with a bit of fluting and fooferaw along the edges. Taking up most of the surface is a design of flowing lines and angles that, if you tilt your head and squint at it, might be some sort of abstract bird. It came in a tooled leather pouch with some designs of its own, including a circle with a couple of tongue-sticking-out head profiles that remind me of one of those old Central/South American cultures. There’s a pin on the back, and a small circle on top – it might be a broach, or a pendant, or some sort of cloak-clasp.

And – we have /no/ idea where my grandmother acquired it. She’d never traveled anywhere near Central or South America, nor did she know anyone who did; and the object seems to have nothing to do with any of her other jewelry or possessions. And my mom said I could have it if I wanted it.

Now, Hitchcock said of MacGuffins, “In crook stories it is always the necklace and in spy stories it is always the papers.” So, should I start preparing for ninjas or the mob? Or should I, instead, expect one or more wandering adventurers to try to fetch it for their own purposes?


Had a rather unusual dream a couple of hours ago…

It started out fairly generic, “I” (who wasn’t the waking me – for one, in the dream, I was school-age, while in the real world I turn 30 today) was wandering through an indoor mall/market type place, looking at the various and varied items being displayed. (Now that I think about it, in nearly all of my dreams, there’s a sufficient sense of ‘place’ that corresponds to real-world location that I could give directions of how to drive there from a real-world landmark (even if the local dream-geography doesn’t quite match the local real-world); but in this dream, the mall-building simply has nothing in common with any waking-world place, and the only directions are towards its ‘front’ or ‘back’.)

The usual dream interactions are, however, interrupted, by a group of people who barge in, carrying weapons and other equipment, who gather up all the sellers and shoppers and hold us hostage. And they say that one of us is the one who’s dreaming, they’re going to examine each of us to find out who, and then (somehow) use the dreamer to get /out/ of the dream before he wakes up.

That’s sufficient to make me self-aware within the dream, and I suddenly find myself, in my waking-body, hiding behind a large merchant fellow, out of the hostage-takers’ sight. (But I’m still also the smallish fellow staring up at the hostage-people. A literal “bisociation”, if you will.)

My memory of the events is already blurring slightly, but the merchant-type people help keep dreamer-me from being discovered by the hostage-takers and their scanner-devices for as long as possible; while the dreamed-me manages to slip from their grasp, making a break for it out the front door and through a manhole cover. The hostage-takers, dismissing him as not-the-dreamer, let him go, and he proceeds to sneak back in through various hidden spaces, spying on them and their gear (overhearing something about having waited a long time for this opportunity, observing a few signs that they’re part of a secret society), helping a few other dream-people slip out, and doing some general kid-level sabotage.

Then – the hostage-takers notice the mall-folks’ efforts, and dreamer-me is suddenly standing before them. The climax of all their plans, and I don’t actually know /what/ they intend to do with/to/on me… but through some of the mall-folks’ willingness to self-sacrifice to protect me, and the sneaky-folks’ efforts, the plans are put in ruins, the hostage-takers taken away by police-officers, nobody in the mall actually ends up hurt. My two selves look at each other, I try asking some questions, get some enigmatic smiles in return… and start dreaming of a Star Trek-like setting…