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I Dream of...ME

Dreamed 1990/1991 by Linda Medley
Cartoonist/creator of the longrunning comic Castle Waiting;


I had previously sworn the following strange little short story would never see print (it just seemed a tad too personal to not be embarrassing) but it really was the 'launching pad' for CW. Why is it embarrassing? Well, it's based on a dream I had years ago, and, henh, I'm in it.

I'm often asked, "Where do you get your ideas?" They come from everything--what I read, see, hear, people I know, bits of dreams, anything. Castle Waiting started out as just a bunch of character drawings; eventually those characters grew personalities. A few very basic concepts eventually sprouted a story.

On the day (in 1994) that I decided, after years of freelancing as an artist on other writers' stories, that I was going to do my own comic, I had nothing more than a folder full of character designs and some scribbled story notes. No script, no page layouts, nothing; it struck me that I really had no clue how to write a comic. How did one convert a story that's in one's head into pictures on a page? I didn't have a complete story--or even sequence--in my notes to practice with. Then, I remembered this dream I'd had three or four years before.

Occasionally I have these dreams that are exactly like watching a movie, complete with plot and actors (like this other one I had about Ernest Borgnine and a train full of zombies). They are the only dreams I remember fairly clearly and in entirety. I don't ascribe any 'deep meaning' to these dreams; I think they are just my brain keeping me entertained while I sleep.

Anyway, I remembered this particular dream--it was fairly short, it was fantasy, I remembered the whole thing vividly--and thought, Hey! That's a 'story' I 'made up', and already converted into visuals! All I'd have to do was storyboard the 'movie', jot down the dialogue, and I could prove to myself that yes, I could indeed do my own comic. So I did. I thumbnailed the whole thing that evening and drew up the pages the next day with virtually no changes. Voila, I was a "writer-artist", even if not a particularly brilliant one. This fledgling attempt appears, for the first and (thankfully) last time, on the following pages.

--Linda Medley, 1999

'I Dream of Me' by Linda Medley; comics rough, page 1 'I Dream of Me' by Linda Medley; comics rough, page 2 'I Dream of Me' by Linda Medley; comics rough, page 3 'I Dream of Me' by Linda Medley; comics rough, page 4 'I Dream of Me' by Linda Medley; comics rough, page 5 'I Dream of Me' by Linda Medley; comics rough, page 6 'I Dream of Me' by Linda Medley; comics rough, page 7 'I Dream of Me' by Linda Medley; comics rough, page 8 'I Dream of Me' by Linda Medley; comics rough, page 9 'I Dream of Me' by Linda Medley; comics rough, page 10 'I Dream of Me' by Linda Medley; comics rough, page 11 'I Dream of Me' by Linda Medley; comics rough, page 12


This dream-comic intrigues me on two levels. One's as a dream in its own right. The idea that getting magically shrunk down to hobbit-size leads to true love is intriguing; Jung, I suspect, might have called it deflation, letting the air out of the ego... or perhaps an artistic prompt to Medley to "shrink your scope"--that comics on a domestic scale, showing magic in everyday life, are her métier, not the grandiose power games ubiquitous in both comics and prose fantasy.

But I also think Medley is right to call it the seed of Castle Waiting. Already present:

Seeking love
Where can I fit in? (She's a literal misfit here!)
Staying "grounded"--she sleeps in a hobbit-hole, and the badger (another burrower) urges her to get down & hide from her human acquaintances in the cafe
Accepting help & guidance from the humble. Well, and from Sean Connery too. Never hurts...
Interspecies love and marriage--in CW, both Jain and Dinah love and have kids with nonhumans
Rounded interiors, enclosed, comfortable spaces--much of CW has this same feel. Bag End!
Nature scenes--intimate, not grand
Realistic non-cartoony faces. Hobbits aren't children--a mistake even many Big Folk make in The Lord of the Rings... from Sauron on down.
A free mix of animal, human and humanoid characters.
Hobbits! CW is an encyclopedia of folklore from Slavic to Mother Goose, with just ONE prominent intrusion from modern-day fantasy: hobbits. I always wondered why they alone made the cut... but here they are in the seed.
Small characters in general are taken seriously--and that message, applied to more than mere physical size, is at the heart of Castle Waiting
It really is only a sketch, and yet... it was the first step in a work spanning decades whose story arc still has far to go. "Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow."

--Chris Wayan

SOURCE: the 1999 'hiatus' issue of Linda Medley's Castle Waiting series, as it went on hold because she'd been offered a job as the artist for The Books of Faerie. The story's not directly in the Castle Waiting storyline, so it doesn't appear in book collections of CW. Used by permission.

Two volumes of collected Castle Waiting are now out from Fantagraphics Press. Highly recommended! Hard to describe--maybe a blend of Amy Unbounded and Bone plus formidable folkloric scholarship. Which is to say it's like peaches and fleas. Plus formidable folkloric scholarship.

LISTS AND LINKS: Tolkien and Middle-Earth - love - friendship - animal people - mustelids (otter, badger, weasel...) - guides - help and gifts - mages and magic - spells and curses - eat it! - size matters - transformation - weddings - comics - ink - I'm Just Not Myself Today! - species-bent dreams - hobbit dreams: A Hobbit in L.A., Five Elvish Dreams, His Mine, Waldrop's Summoned, Hobbit Sniper, Aragorn's Liver, Wells's Quest, Hobbit Eruptions

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