1063 – Trem and King Wendell
Scooter slowly spins a few childhood tales, one with a wiz and another with a wizard.
- Split Rock Quarry
- The Brad Bird Constraint
- Sonic Sounds Podcast
- Dan Harmon
- Terry Pratchett
Notable Talking Points:
- The sound of Sonic moving around?
- If it’s a real utopia, it lacks conflict
- Giving script notes to my younger self
Episode 1063 – Trem and King Wendell
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and my patron peeps, thank you so much, my patron peeps. Let’s get on with the show.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. I guess I should say of sorts, because…I don’t know why. I always mean…this has been on my to-do list for like, thirty years; look up the lyrics of Carnival of Sorts. It makes me think of a tangent, Carnival of Sorting Stuff, so let me cross my fingers and hope I remember that, and remember to look up the lyrics of that song. Also, I get three different…that’s a song by REM and I get Carnival of Sorts, Pretty Persuasion, and Can’t Get There from Here all mixed up anyway.
Oh, and boxcars…there’s a song with boxcars…Boxcars Stirring, or something. Or are they whirring? Maybe that’s in Carnival of Sorts, ‘cause I associate carnivals and boxcars a little bit. Not in a pejorative sense, by all means; just that you say well, there’s…yeah, we keep…yeah, that’s a boxcar full of tent stuff. Of course we use boxcars. We do say…instead of the big wheel keeps on turning, we say the boxcar keeps on wheeling. Anyway…oh, we’re here for a sleep podcast…do it with a bedtime story. Alls you could do, alls you need to do, alls that you might do if you choose is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I’m gonna do the rest.
What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake, whether it’s thoughts, things on your mind that you’re thinking about, feelings, anything you’re feeling emotionally that’s coming up for you. So, thoughts about the past, present, the future, feelings about the thoughts or physical sensations. You could have feelings about the physical sensations. You could have physical sensations about the feelings. I got both of those a lot of the time. Could be something else; a change in time, temperature, your routine. Could be something that we could just say it feels like the deep, dark night is the deep, dark night. Doesn’t even feel that way.
So, whatever it is, I’m here to take your mind off of that and keep you company, not to make it smaller, but to just say hey, why don’t I sit here for a little while and tell you a story and keep you company? Maybe you get to fall asleep during it, ‘cause alls I’m gonna do is be here rambling. So, the way I do that is I try to create a safe place with the structure of the show and my intention. Also, I try to take the safe place…I try to smooth it, I try to pat it down and say safe place and move away with a magic move, but in slow motion. Then I’ll send my voice across the deep, dark night. Just realized how ridiculous it is ‘cause I was actually doing it while I was saying it. I even would say safe place like a magician or what…the character on Arrested Development…Job, I think was his name.
So…oh, but I’m gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night. I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents. I’m gonna go off-topic, I’m gonna get mixed up, I’m gonna get confused, I’m gonna slow down, I’m gonna repeat myself, all to keep you company and take your mind off of stuff. If you’re new, there’s a lot to tell you, but the most important thing I can tell you is that you’re important and your sleep is important, obviously. But the fact that you deserve a good night’s sleep is really the most important thing I could say, and that maybe you might not even believe or agree with, but maybe you could feel it a little bit, some part of you could feel a small shift and say yeah, you know what? I do deserve a good night’s sleep. I am a little bit fed up with this.
That’s why I decided to look up this wack-a-doodle podcast of yours. I say, you’re right. You’re right, too. That’s why I make the show. It’s kinda twofold; I make the show because I really believe that and I really believe that not only do you deserve the rest you need and that you probably desire; you deserve a bedtime that doesn’t have any dread in it, that doesn’t have…I used to start worrying about going to bed for school on Saturday afternoon. I’d start worrying about Sunday night and Monday morning. That was one of the biggest, hardest stretches for me, but I’ve had other ones where I say…you start thinking about bedtime in a non-positive way, and I hope I could even make it neutral, because if you get the rest you need, your life’s gonna be more manageable.
You could be living the life that you want to live more fully, and hopefully you could get to the point where you’re getting the rest you need on a regular basis and you could be out there flourishing in the world, because our world needs you. Our world needs that, and you deserve it. So, that’s important. What’s also important is that I’ve been there. I kinda just said it; I’ve been there all…tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep. So, I know how it feels in the deep, dark night. That’s why I say…that’s why I use those words. So, if I can help, it’s also something…it’s important to me ‘cause I might not know exactly what you’re dealing with, but I kinda have a general idea of…that it doesn’t feel great and it’s not easy. So, if I can be here for you, that’s my honor.
Now, there is a little catch in there; this podcast is very, very different than most other podcasts or anything out there. I started this show in 2013 because I was that kid that couldn’t fall asleep, and I wanted something to listen to that was a little bit fun and distracting. So, that’s the idea behind the show. So, the idea of even someone talking to you and putting you to sleep was kinda new, and it still is new. You say wait a second, you listen to a podcast to fall asleep? Is it birds and sounds of leaves and rain? No, that didn’t work for me. I tried that. Well, did you try sonic sounds? Huh, aren’t all sounds sonic? No, this one’s a…it’s called…it’s like…it will only exist in Scooter’s imagination. It was the sound of Sonic moving around, Sonic the hedgehog.
But Scoots’ imagination couldn’t release it because it wasn’t…it was called the Sonic Sounds Podcast. That sounds unbelievably awesome. I hope a listener reminds me to reach out, or if someone works for SEGA, they say Scoots, you have…or anybody that works for the sequel movie or whatever; they say Scoots, you got yourself a deal. Well, here’s three figures. I’d say, I would probably…I don’t know if I could actually do it for three figures, but I would think about it and say, I could do a two-minute podcast for that, but if you give me permission to use Sonic sounds…anyway. Holy cow. Oh, so whatever it is…oh, so this…the idea of falling asleep to a podcast, particularly this one, is not easy, so give it a few…the show a few tries. That’s what most listeners say.
That’s totally understandable if you’re skeptical or you’re doubtful, and if this podcast doesn’t work for you or you already know…you say yeah, I don’t like the cut of your style, cut of your pants, as we say, check out sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou. There’s tons of other sleep podcasts and sleepy audio there. So, there’s that. A couple other things if you’re new that can throw you off; structure of the show is very different. Show starts off with a greeting so you feel welcome, then there’s support for listeners and support for the podcast so it can come out twice a week for free versus…we could do it another way where it’s part of a service or whatever. It’d still probably…it’d still have sponsors and stuff, but…I don’t know. I prefer it coming out twice a week for free…is my goal.
So, then paying for it is optional. Then there’s the intro, which we’re most of the way…part of the way through. That goes on and on and on. That really can create some strong feelings for people between the support and the intro. ‘Cause I guess if you’re already on guard, you say, what is this intro? You’re going on and on and on about nothing except for the…and I say, you got it. You caught me. I’m doing nothing fast. I’m going nowhere. ‘Cause the intro is the chance to kinda have the sun set, the transition period between bedtime and wake time. For a lot of us, that takes fifteen, twenty minutes. Some listeners listen to the intro as they’re getting ready for bed or they’re in bed or they’re doing something else relaxing, and the intro is the wind-down.
Now, there are people that fall asleep, there are people that skip the intro, so you could kinda see how it goes after you become a regular listener. If you say okay, this kinda works for me, you could adjust from there, but I highly recommend having some wind-down time. Whether this podcast is a part of it or not is optional. But I really, truly…I have a hour wind-down, so if I want to be asleep at a certain time, hopefully I’m starting my wind-down an hour before that, and that involves reading, meditating, stretching, journaling, maybe other stuff, so…doodling. Not canoodling; definitely not. Some part of my brain said that. I said huh, I don’t remember that. Also, is that…does that mean what I think it means or does it just mean wasting time? ‘Cause I…well, I haven’t wasted my time that way, but I’ve wasted plenty of time.
So, the intro’s your wind down routine, so I can understand if it throws you off, ‘cause you say, is this just gratuitous talking? I say oh boy, is it. This is the most gratuitous…like I said, this is the only podcast that has gratuitous, pregnant pauses in it, like that one. Ha, ha. So, yeah, there’s the intro, then there’s more business or sponsor stuff, because the show comes out for free twice a week. That’s our goal, and maybe even more one day. That would be my new goal. Then there’s the episode, and tonight I’m not exactly sure what the episode is. I think it’ll be a childhood story I wrote, but I’m not positive. But it’ll be a bedtime story. It’ll be about forty-five or fifty minutes long, and then there’s thank-yous at the end.
So, that’s the structure of the show, that’s why I make the show, and alls I could tell you…the best piece of advice I can tell you is kinda listen passively, ‘cause it’s a podcast that’s not really meant to be listened to, and it’s also only meant to be here to keep you company, not really to put you to sleep. I’m here to take your mind off of stuff, like with the idea of…and you may already have a new preference; you say Scoots, I love your show, but if there was a Sonic Sounds Podcast, I would love it. I’ve had my ideas taken from other…by other businesses without…they said well, you gave it away for free; thanks.
So, I would prefer to get paid for the Sonic Sounds Podcast and be a part of it, but if I was to have a corporation take one of my ideas for free…though I’m talking about it now, so it probably would be…you’d be caught. But I would love to hear the Sonic Sounds Podcast. So, okay. So, there’s that, and then…so, I think that’s it. Give this show a few tries, see if it can take your mind off of stuff, see if you can kinda listen passively along, ‘cause I really want to help you fall asleep. I really appreciate you coming by, and I really hope I can help you fall asleep. Thanks again, and here’s a couple ways I’m able to do this for you for free twice a week.
Alright everybody, it’s time for a little bit different episode here. I’ve recorded one other of these, but it was a college paper that I did. What happened was…I guess I’ll do a slow setup. In the summer…well, I don’t know when you’re hearing this, so in the summer of — what year is it; 2021 — I was going through my childhood home for the second or third time, procrastinating on that. I mean, especially ‘cause I don’t live near there. Shipping stuff’s always hard, but you know, we’re trying to clear out everything so that the house could be sold instead of just rented out or whatever. So, kinda going through any stuff I have or my parents had held on my behalf. I went through and I found a college paper, and then I found this paper or this story, and I think it’s really interesting.
I thought this was illustrated and the time…I’m interested to read the story. I only have looked at the first page of it. It has…what’s that called? Paperclip on it. I have a feeling that this paper is from computer camp, the legendary computer camp. If people have listened to this show, I’ll talk about it, which actually opens up my thoughts more. I’m interested to read this story. I’m also nervous ‘cause one, I don’t know how long the story is. It’s only a few pages and it’s not full pages. So I’m like, is this gonna be a whole episode, or what will happen after I read the story? But it’s also like, what is in the story? Who was…not the quality of my writing, but you think about people change and that there’s just…I was young, I was ignorant, I was naive.
So it’s like, what is this writing gonna reveal about me, which I think will be a positive thing, and what kind of problematic things can I look at and say huh, do I need to go back and apologize or fix anything? Not that I’m sure that…well, we’ll talk about one thing that…but some of it, I say what was I thinking? So, computer camp, if you’re new to the podcast or you’ve never heard this story before, could have been…I would think it would have been in…when I was in seventh or eighth grade, which is really embarrassing. No, I could have been younger. Yeah, no, I was probably younger than that. Somewhere between fifth grade…I think it was probably fourth or fifth grade, so this probably wasn’t written then. But around fourth or fifth grade, we got signed up, my brother and I.
I think my brother Carl and I; I don’t know if my sister was signed up. I hope for her sake we weren’t, but one summer we got signed up for…I call it computer camp. It really wasn’t; it was a class at a…it was at a other elementary school in their computer lab. I think Split Rock was the name of the school we were at, or at least it was near Split Rock, which there was also a quarry there; Split Rock Quarry is near there, legendary in Syracuse lore. So, I don’t know. We’ll see where this goes. It could be on a journey…so, maybe I’ll save…as I read the story, I could tell you the story of computer camp. Well, the bad choice I made at computer camp. I’ll tell you now, ‘cause I don’t want to…I’m trying to put you to sleep. So, you say well, Scoots, I want to hear what you did at computer camp.
So, we started…so, we were taking this class at this thing. I don’t think it was just Logo or whatever you learned back then, where you could make the turtle go around or whatever, but maybe that was the class. I thought it was more of a word processing camp, ‘cause I can remember writing stories and drawing stuff, too. It also reminds me, now that I’m talking it out…at one point, LA…Los Angeles, when I was a teacher there, I had a program called…I think it was called Write to Read, where they were trying to teach reading through creative writing, like where…I liked it. It was…that there was no wrong way to write. You didn’t have to worry about spelling or grammar.
This was in grammar, elementary, primary school, and I was working…I was a second-grade teacher’s aide, and the kids were able to…we would go into this…we would go to a Write to Read class in a computer lab, and I don’t know if this…I don’t know…I don’t necessarily think this program had a storied history, but a positive…but I had a positive experience with it ‘cause I loved that the kids would just be able to write whatever they wanted. Then we would print out the stories. I think this is what would happen. Sometimes we’d drum or we’d…I’d read with them or they would tell me the stories, and they were always so amazing. I feel like this computer camp was very similar, so I don’t know if this is when I wrote this story, but the one thing that happened at computer camp that was really humiliating…mostly…I guess it was more confusing for me.
It was probably…it was very not-positive for my mom or my brother. I still don’t know; I made a lot of poor choices as a child. I made a lot of poor choices in my life, and a lot of times, the reaction of adults…and then I guess, looking back…I mean, I had feelings, you know, I need…I mean, I need…literally; I’m not even being joking, help from a professional counselor or therapist, but also doing a lot of reading and work on my own. For some reason, I think of Brene Brown, ‘cause she talks about that big S word, and…S-H-A-M-E is…but so, that’s what came up for me with this memory. Not anymore, though. I say huh, this is a confused young man. That’s what I think of now. But I mean, my takeaway at the time was like huh, must be…I didn’t even…I wasn’t even that down about it because this was the kinda choices I fell into and mistakes I made all the time.
But so, what happened was we’d have recess. It was a summer program, right? I think it was only a week long. It was all the kids around the same age, which I’m guessing…I don’t know how old kids are. Fourth, fifth…third, fourth, fifth-graders, is what I’m guessing. For some reason…so, we were allowed to go in this grassy area where you had recess, and for some reason during recess…it might have been the last day of class party and I may have had too much punch, but I decided not to go back inside and go to the restroom, but to go outside which recess was going on, against a tree, and not really to…I don’t know what I was thinking. Of course, everybody could see me, and of course everybody told…they said little Andy’s going to the bathroom outside.
It was very inappropriate; they said what are you…the teachers said, what? They called my mom and of course, then my mom…they said, what? My mom said, what? I guess I don’t know at the time, to be honest; I’m looking back at it and playing the tape in my mind. It just seemed like…it didn’t seem…I mean, obviously it was some sort of…they said, was I acting out there? Was I acting out for attention or was I…did I have some…I mean, I think I had a neuroses about…I said, why wouldn’t I have just gone to the bathroom? Was I overexcited? Did I really have to…? ‘Cause I don’t remember like, oh gosh, I gotta go now, or oh, I don’t want to ask about going to the bathroom, or oh, I don’t want to go to the bathroom. So, I don’t really know why I did it.
I’m sure Freud would say well, you know, because you were lonely or something. I say well, okay, whatever, man. But so, that’s my main memory from that computer camp, other than that my brother was at that computer camp and one other kid I knew from our church that maybe was in some…I don’t remember going to Sunday School, but I remember this kid, kind of, and that I never thought I’d see him again ‘cause we didn’t go to the same school, but he was there. So, those are the only things I remember, other than the looks on the teachers’ faces, or the volunteer parents that were teaching this class, of shock and confusion. So, that’s my story about computer camp. Use a restroom; less…well, I never…I’ve got…I got a ticket one time for going to the bathroom outside when I was like, twenty-one.
So, I guess I didn’t learn my lesson. At least they gave me a ticket; that…what…that also wasn’t the last time I did it, but that time I had to…sometimes you have to go, but I was trying to be stealthy. This time, I don’t think I was. Some of you may be new and you’re like, is this the sleep podcast or are you…? I say well, these are…I’m taking a risk, here. Maybe this is relatable to somebody. Doesn’t…maybe it’s not peeing in public, but you did something as a child you have no idea why. There are strong feelings behind it, and some would say with good reason. I don’t know if my mom tried to say, is there something wrong…? Like, instead of saying is there something wrong with you, say is everything…are you alright? That was a interesting choice you made. I would hope that that’s what I would say to myself now.
I’d say, that was…tell me about that choice. What led up…wow, you must…sound…that sounds like it was intense. I mean, this is what I…the work that…this is literally the kind of work I do when I talk to a therapist. Say okay, well, that sounds like…oh, you might…well, it must…did you feel some of that stuff Brene Brown talks about? Yeah, I bet. That’s confusing. Huh, well, now we don’t even really know why you made that choice, huh? But you were just a kid. Sometimes you forget that as an adult, that back then you were just a kid. Now you’re an adult. Maybe I could try to care for you and soothe you here, huh? And say yeah, that’s hard that this choice got made and we don’t even know why. Huh, confusing. But I don’t know if you necessarily need to take on that S-H-A-M-E, either.
Just seems like a bad choice you made. Do you remember making it again? Yeah, you just…well, later in life, but in the same exact manner, I don’t think you made that choice again, so that served you well. Don’t pee in front of an entire class at a…you learned that lesson, right? Don’t pee in front of a whole class of kids during recess. Go somewhere by yourself where you’re hidden or you use the bathroom. So, if you’re new, that’s just a little bit about me. This is what you’re dealing with, a human being, and that’s just scratching the surface. So, I’m interested to see if we’ll scratch any other surfaces here. So, this story may have been written in 1991. If it was, I thought…I…maybe…well, I don’t know what to expect, and I wonder if…what this was for, ‘cause it doesn’t have anything on it other than the story.
Maybe it was written to be a children’s book? I don’t know. I did find a report card that maybe I’ll break out. I guess I was in remedial reading, because they didn’t know I had dyslexia. This isn’t a joke, either. So, I found my seventh-grade report card or my…no, my ninth-grade report card, and I was in remedial reading. I don’t even remember…here’s the thing; I don’t even remember taking that class at all. I said, really? I was in remedial reading? I don’t even remember that. Apparently, it didn’t…apparently I wasn’t doing so hot in any of my classes, but yeah, I had dyslexia, so they…but they didn’t know that. So, okay, let’s start…why don’t we do this; we’ll just see how this goes. I’ll start reading through the story and word…almost word-for-word and then kinda see where this goes.
A long time ago, in a place not far from here, there lived a great king. He was loved by all his people and was known for his acts of kindness. The city that surrounded the huge castle that the king lived in was called Scotchtown. Scotchtown was the most beautiful place in the world. The prisons were empty, the land was fertile, there was never any wars, and no one was poor. The king’s name was Wendell. He was chubby and had cherry-red cheeks. Sounds like Santa Claus. His hair was grey and silky. So, grey and silky hair, and his mouth was etched into a permanent smile. The future looked magnificent for Scotchtown. Oh wait, so, I kinda do remember this story. I think it was…I mean, maybe this is a more mature story. I’m like, wait a second, this is starting to sound like an episode of Sleep With Me, and like I lifted this…some of this from something else.
One day, Wendell decided to check to make sure the future would be good. The king called upon his magician and seer…oh, I spelled seer like S-E-A-R. Interesting. Wasn’t corrected, but I don’t think this was turned in for a grade. I think this was just a draft. The king called upon his magician and seer, Trem. Wendell asked Trem to tell him the future of Scotchtown. Trem wanted to make sure that Wendell really wanted to know the future, because Trem told Wendell the future cannot be changed, no matter how hard you try. Wendell was confident that he would not want to change the future, and told Trem to inform him of Scotchtown’s fate. So, I like this so far, and I think about the kid that wrote this. If it was written in 1991, that was like, angst-city.
So, I don’t know what I’m setting up here, but now I’m getting a better sense of…I’m setting something up. But let’s think about this place called Scotchtown and what echoes in Sleep With Me. So, Scotchtown is interesting because it sounds like something I made up, of course. Wendell, he’s very Santa Claus-like. This is male-centric, but it is written by a male in…like, a early-adolescent male. Cherry-red cheeks, he was chubby, and his hair was grey and silky. His mouth was etched into a permanent smile. So, I do like the imagery there, not just the Santa Claus imagery but that the permanent smile…I say okay, Wendell’s one of those people that’s…always has a smile. Say okay, that’s soothing.
Even though I strayed from this, I remember one of the things that has always stuck with me is…at that time, I said the prisons were empty, and that was one of the things…being raised Catholic and some of the teachings that didn’t sit well with me, but some of them that did was the idea of like, what does this mean that we’re incarcerating so many people? Even though I drifted far away from that, I end up coming back to it and thinking about that a lot and working with people that were incarcerated for some time, because…I don’t know. I think…you say jeez, I don’t know about this. I don’t know if I’m comfortable with this, and even as a kid, I think this is foreshadowing for my real life. But also, I think from a storytelling side, I say okay, this place is a little too perfect, eh? So, it does have elements; like, whoever was teaching or running this class…and kinda the story structure…you say…like, when you think about the hero’s journey or Dan Harmon, the Dan Harmon kinda circle idea; it’s like, you.
So, in this one, it’s…this is like the regular world, or you. The regular world is Wendell’s world. Wendell’s always happy or confident, at least. A magnificent present, so why wouldn’t there be…the future looked magnificent for Wendell? So, you…this is your normal world, and I think it’s also funny, from my perspective, of thinking about Season 2 of Get Besos, and that whole season…I don’t know what year that came out, but the whole season of Get Besos and the idea of where it came from was based on utopias, and I had gone to see Brad Bird speak at…somewhere with my brother, and Brad Bird was kinda talking about…this was right around when Tomorrowland was coming out.
But Brad Bird was kinda talking about dystopia, and I guess this has always kinda been a ongoing debate, so I don’t want to wade into dystopias versus…but Brad Bird was challenging the audience in some sense, like oh, why doesn’t anybody…isn’t that a creative constraint, writing in a utopia? I took that to heart and said okay, what would it be…? I said well, the problem with utopias is that if it’s a real utopia, it lacks conflict. So, that was the whole premise of Season 2 of Get Besos. It took place in a utopia, and I don’t know, I just really liked that idea of that creative constraint. I still do, because it’s a puzzle. You say okay, how do you create…if the rules of the world are it’s a utopia and not a utopia, wink, wink, how do you create conflict in that? Of course, that’s an unattainable…that’s just something you strive for.
You say okay, well, that’s impossible. I’m gonna have to bend those rules a bit, because you’re right. If it’s an actual utopia, everyone would be happy all of the time, and…I don’t know. It also had…I had fun with being able to take it to the two levels, ‘cause I said okay, well, there’s also the level of belief system and who created this utopia. How did it come to be and what are the higher levels of existence within this utopia? Is this in our world or a parallel world? This was when I was working on it, but I ended up oh, no; it’s…okay, so it’s far in our future, so that would mean it’s still based on the same…some of the same underlying belief systems, so then it’s like okay…I don’t know. That was one of my…it had some of my more favorite moments, especially the ongoing…I love ongoing bits, of course.
So, having the ongoing bit that the higher power or creator was on sabbatical, so that the angels were running everything and they’re not perfect; they’re just demi-gods. No offense, angels. Oh, that was fiction, by the way. If you do have super…please. So, I don’t know. So, those are some things. So, that was the first you, so I guess this would be the need section, if we were going by the story, so I’m just kinda projecting it, but…so, Wendell decided to check to make sure the future would be good. So, I guess everything was imperfect; there was some sort of…and this is where your teen angst comes through. There’s some sort of underlying turbulence or lack of faith or something deep down, which I can identify with. So, Wendell want…or just unease about the future.
So, Wendell said hey, I got this wizard and seer, somebody that sears my meat and can see the future, maybe? I think there was art with this. I don’t know. But Wendell said yo, Trem, can you tell me what the future of Scotchtown is? Trem said, I could. This is a very steady story device. I could tell you what the future is, but you can’t change the future. So, do you really want to know? That’s quite a conundrum, right? You don’t even want…that’s the kind of conundrum you never want to be presented with, because just like Wendell, then it is misery of choice. You say okay, so choose; do you want to know or not? Because you can’t change it either way. Where someone without a underlying turbulence like Wendell or I, someone that was more well-adjust like Ray, one, they would never…even if they found themselves making that choice to talk to Trem, they’d say yeah, you’re right, Trem.
I don’t need to know. I just gotta turn everything over to my HP and let it go, because Trem says no matter how hard you try…but Wendell was confident he wouldn’t want to change the future and told Trem to inform him of Scotchtown’s fate. Okay, get ready, ‘cause who knows what’s coming next. Trem sighed deeply and frowned. Wendell, my friend, I see dark clouds over Scotchtown. Our future is grim. Three cataclysmic events will strike your people; a flood, a famine, and a war. I see hope at the end of a dark tunnel, but someone will have to make the supreme sacrifice. The king smiled and thanked Trem, and then the magician left Scotchtown forever. So, you, need, go, so this is kinda the go part of the story, or where you…so, this is, I guess, kinda still in the need, but you say, okay.
Trem says things don’t look…also, I love…my favorite part of this is that Trem leaves town. I love you, Trem. I mean that as like, forever. Trem says by the way, now that I can change, I’m out. I didn’t look up my future, just the future of this geographic area. So, I quit and I’m out. That I like a lot. It is starting to feel a little tropey, so I’m wondering where we’re going with this. I say oh boy, this is one of these…but it’s also right in the Sleep With Me wheelhouse. Supreme sacrifice, predictability. Hopefully we’ll have something surprising. But three things…so, again, I like that probably something I’m still trying to work on, which is rising conflict or raising the stakes and stuff like that…but says okay, there is hope, but yeah, there’s gonna be these three things. Then Trem left Scotchtown forever.
I think it’s interesting too that I had dialogue, and I’m proud of that. I say okay…Trem sighed deeply and frowned. I mean, I guess I would say if I could change anything, I would give…I’d say Wendell…say okay, are you sure you want to know? Or maybe I’ll dole out the information a little bit slower. But let’s see what Scoots or little Andy did. The king did not tell his people of Trem’s prediction because he did not want to upset them. Project much? That’s funny, so we’ll talk about that. Wendell had decided to prepare for the flood, which he thought would come first. The king had his huge and beautiful estate knocked down, and with the stone from the knocked-down castle, Wendell built a gigantic tower that reached high into the heavens. Sure enough, as the last stone was placed in the tower, it began to rain.
Scotchtown was on the coast, and soon the ocean was rising towards the village. The king moved all his subjects into the castle and the town was enveloped by water. The castle was surrounded by water, but the tower was high enough that the people were safe. Months passed, and soon the water sank back into the ocean. Okay, so, I like the idea that also Wendell is a little bit co-dependent, ‘cause I…like, I say okay, I don’t want to upset anybody, so I’m not gonna tell anybody about this. Or you could say…typical leader; say well, there…I don’t…I’ll deal with this. I think I probably did have to draw or do something for this, ‘cause I guess I can see this as somewhat visual, that I say okay…and kinda basic rule-making; you say okay, what’s gonna be your sacrifice, Wendell? What are you gonna give up?
So, this is you, need, go, search. So, this is the search or kinda a little bit different, but…’cause I don’t know exactly…I don’t think I had in mind where’s Wendell gonna end up, or maybe I wrote the ending. I’m hoping the ending is what I think it is, which would be angst city, and probably…I say, where did I get this idea from? It’s definitely from something else. But I like this idea. It’s interesting and it does also lend itself to…there’s some interesting choices, not good or bad, but interesting choices. One, the king didn’t tell the people. I thought that was very Drew-like. Say, I don’t want anybody upset with me or with the situation. Then Wendell decides the flood was first. We don’t explain that, but that was what Trem mentioned. So, you say that makes sense. Okay, let’s knock down the castle and build a tower.
I like that idea, I mean, is…if you have the capacity to do that. Also a cool idea; even as a kid, I’d say okay, building a giant tower and towers…Freud, could you please stay out of this conversation? But building these giant towers does seem cool. You say, okay…okay, I gotta move on. Freud just ruined all that for me…reached high into the heavens, but sure enough, at the last stone, it began to rain. So, you get this Noah and the ark type thing, but I like how I found…at least some part of me or somebody that I…gave me notes said I don’t know about this, so I put it on the coast. So it’s like, okay, now it’s more believable. Also, I know what’s gonna…I remember the next part of the story, I think, so…but I think what I’m drawn to is that the choice was like, that months passed.
So, I didn’t feel the need at the time to kinda fill in all the blank spots, but I do think it’s interesting or would be interesting to think about, and it kinda reminds me of other fantasy books or even Terry Pratchett books of like, what was going on in this tower? Or seeing a cutaway of the tower. This must have been a really massive tower, ‘cause we don’t know how many…it was a village, which is bigger than…smaller than a town, so even if you had 1,000, 2,000 people in this tower, I think that would be cool to see kinda how they were managing. So, then the rain stopped and the water sank back into the ocean. So, some of you may already be telegraph…telegraphed where the next thing is going. The people clean their homes in the hot sun, so they got lucky. This hot sun dried the waterlogged town.
You say okay, well, that’s kind of a best-case scenario, actually, that their homes were only submerged. But I also like your way of thinking, your way of fantasizing, kid. Because I say okay, yeah, they could have been…but the…okay, I’m with you; the ocean slowly rose is what you’re saying. The town was submerged, not washed. So, okay. I’m interested. I’m interested to see that. I say okay, again, it’s kinda visual. I like it; I can almost smell some stuff. I could feel the moisture. I could see people dealing with it. Then it says it was spring, and people were getting ready to plant crops when another disaster struck. The land had been saturated with the salt from the ocean and could no longer bear crops. I don’t know if this is true, but I think the idea of salting the earth is where I got that.
All spring and all summer-long, people attempted to grow crops successfully, but it was actually unsuccessful. Winter was coming and there was no food to store. Wendell knew something must be done. Okay, now I’m already seeing the next stage. He went into his tower and took all the treasures he had acquired over the years and packed them into a cart, and he traveled far away to Morganville. The king traded all he had, even his crown, for all the food the town had. Wendell brought all the food back to the town, and his people easily survived the winter. Did something like this happen in…like, After the Glass Slipper? Did I copy my own story? I’m thinking this…I reused this. Somebody will have to let me know. So, that was another series we did, if you’re newer, was called After the Glass Slipper.
It was a tale of Cinderella and her stepmother and her fairy godmother after she became princess and queen, at least in my mind. The first season was more about the stepmother in competition with the fairy godmother and Cinderella. I think that the fairy godmother was…or the stepmother was actually the…she continued to be the antagonist. But then in the second season, did she become the pro…? She became the protagonist to me. She kinda always was. But in the second season…was there two or three seasons of that? I think there was three seasons, but maybe there’s just one really long one. I guess there was three seasons. The second season…yeah, ‘cause in the second season…the first season happened early in the podcast when I hadn’t…it was one of those bonzo stories with undertones and stuff.
But the second season, as far as I can remember, is Agatha…Cinder…is that…Cinderella? Is that the one? Right? Cinderella…cinder…yeah, ‘cause she’s in the cinders. I think she’s away, and Agatha’s running the town. It gets overrun, and then there’s people trying to deal with…or maybe she hosts everybody. She’s in love with a man who became a letter, letter man. But she’s dealing with some ogres or some orgs or something, and also trying to save the fairy people. The fairy godmother comes from the fairy realm. So, she’s trying to help them, too. Or maybe also it was like, the fairy people and the human people had kinda fallen out and reflecting subtextually where things were at, and not too subtly. But I know that she had to deal with stuff, so I don’t know if that’s…if I reused this.
That’s interesting if I did. But yeah, this kinda sets up the next part of the story; you, need, go, search, find. So, not exactly on the Harmon…but interesting three challenges. Again, raising the stakes. So, Wendell got them out of the flood, then there’s a famine. Okay, let’s take everything out of my castle, we’ll buy a bunch of food, and then this next part of the story comes. One night, the people of Scotchtown were suddenly attacked by the citizens of Morganville. Oh boy, Morganville. It seems that they ran out of food during the long, hard winter, and many of them had perished. They blamed Scotchtown for this and declared war. Scotchtown had no army because they were peaceful folk.
Wendell tried to encourage the people to start an army, but they were fat and lazy after a year of no work. The army of Morganville was approaching, so Wendell took his sword and went with his smile to face the enemy alone. He fought bravely against the army, but he was stricken with a mortal wound. The army was so impressed by the courage of this one man, they feared…so this is all very…even though I don’t remember, I’ve read stuff like this since then. The army was so impressed by the courage of this one man, they feared invading a town of people like him. Wendell returned to his people and told them of his victory. So, I think that’s a pretty standard, I don’t know, monomyth type thing, that this one great warrior can set the stage.
Wendell returned to his people and told them of his victory. The people asked the passing…the king who was about to pass to the big farm in the sky how they would grow crops this spring. Wendell, smiling as always, walked out in the fields, and as he fertilized the soul…soil with his body, the land became fertile again. Wendell disappeared into the ground, but the people knew they would reap a bountiful harvest that summer. So, that’s the end of the story. Not exactly…I mean, no offense to Scoots; I was a young kid, but I say okay, that’s kind of a recycled ending. Probably no one in my class or…I mean, it probably wasn’t…I probably read it somewhere, or maybe it’s just monomyth, that I thought I was creative. I mean, just ‘cause literally when I’ve been…different things I used to randomize for the podcast, I was seeing stories like that.
But I do like…and then this kind of…kind of tying it up in a bow pretty neatly. So, it kinda makes sense. Again, I think this a plot device I probably used in a story for Sleep With Me. But it’s like, and it’s all…I guess unintentionally, I think it calls back to the beginning of like, a deal, a bargain you should have never struck, right? Wendell should have never asked Trem…this actually hasn’t paid off in the story, but Wendell should have never asked Trem what the future was, right, is what I was hinting at at the beginning of the story, or Trem says you can’t change the future. Then in this part, the people of Morganville shouldn’t have…they shouldn’t have sold all of their winter food. I mean, I don’t know who was running that town. They shouldn’t have come after Scotchtown.
They should have just dealt with whoever…they said, you sold all our…well, for a bunch of gold. We got a great deal. So, maybe they did make a good deal, ‘cause you say well, wait a second, the guy gave us, whatever, a pound of gold for every potato. You say okay, well, that does make sense on…not even on paper; on gold. So, but it’s like a bargain that shouldn’t have been struck or wasn’t a good idea. Then that…I do like…again, for a very similar twist from other stories but also probably from mine, of like okay, then Wendell’s making the sacrifice, but then a lot of the people were like, oh well, we’re not gonna…like, that…almost like…I guess that’s probably my own subconscious bleeding out and saying well, that’s what happens when you over-sacrifice or try to please everybody, that everybody’s like, oh well, you’re on your own, Wendell.
Then, I don’t necessarily like the choice…but it’s just at this point in my life; I say okay, I would definitely change the ending, but not all of the elements. Then I’d def…so, I don’t like the fact that he went out there…I like that he went out there on his own, but that just feels a little bit too on-the-nose for me, that Wendell was so brave that they said forget it. Well, that does make sense, though. Maybe it’s just, I’ve…I’m jaded from reading too many stories. Then I definitely don’t like the ending…the good ending. I thought it was…honestly, I thought…I was cringing because when I started…when I got to the second page of the story, I was like, wait a second, is…I thought it was gonna end in a similar way, but that it would be a little bit darker, that Wendell would give even more sacrifice to the people that would be unappreciated.
So, I kinda like that idea. But so, I guess if I was reading the story with myself and I…like, I was saying okay, well, I’m gonna…let’s brainstorm this out. Let me give you some notes, or let’s tease it out even more. You say okay, I like this Wendell, but how are we gonna play against that? Or is Wendell gonna stay the same through the whole story? Yeah, I’d like him to stay the same. Okay, so you want him to be the same kind of smiling optimist at the end as at the beginning? Yeah, I think so. Okay, so, Wendell goes and then this wizard says you don’t want to know the future ‘cause you can’t change it. Yeah, yeah, that’s what happens, and Wendell says I wanted the future…to find out the future anyway, yeah. Okay, so, that’s where I would say I’d like us to do a little bit more work.
So, if you like Wendell as Wendell is, I have two questions for you to think about. One would be is the ending…does it match that tone of the warning from Trem, and does the story kinda follow that, and is there a way back on the first page to say why…I don’t…I guess one thing I don’t understand is why does Wendell have to know the future? You don’t necessarily have to answer that, but the answer to me is that so there could be a…right now it’s so the story could be told. So, I think it would be more interesting if it was like, Wendell has to know the future because of this. I know part of you…’cause I know you’re in my brain now. You say well, he had a nightmare. Okay, well, so then, what caused the nightmare? Even if you know, we might not even have to work it into the story, but I think I would like to know, even if it’s not in the story.
I think that would be a point where we could develop the story from, is why does Wendell have to know the future, especially after he’s warned? So, that’s question one. Then question two would be, how’s the story reflect the warning from the wizard? Because right now it just feels like it goes very straightforward, even though Wendell does some creative problem solving. I guess you’d say as a kid, you’d probably say well, the…because they were friends. So, what the wizard was saying was that I just love you, Wendell. I know the future and what’s gonna happen that took place in the story, and I love you and I’m your friend, so I don’t want that to happen. So, that’s why I’m warning you, for me. I’d say okay, so, I like your answer there. So, maybe we could work that back in there.
Like, is Trem the wiz…is Trem and Wendell in a relationship together, or have they been…? I guess maybe that’s tropey, but could Trem be…if there’s…’cause I noticed Wendell’s single; I noticed you’re single, so that’s just interesting to me. But I’d say, is…I think if there’s a strong attachment and that the pain is important to not forget about…’cause I understand what you’re saying; the story makes a lot more sense to me in that way, so is the story…I’m struggling ‘cause I guess it is Wendell’s story. But then, the emotional impact of the prediction is being carried by Trem, but then it’s also like, even though Wendell gave up all this stuff, I really felt like it was easy. So, I guess it still brings me back to why does…I think if that question gets answered, a lot of these other questions would follow from that.
So, do you want to just talk it out because we have a few minutes together? Okay, so what are some reasons Wendell would want to know the future? Well, Wendell loves Wendell’s people so much that he wants…he’s always worried about everybody being happy and keeping everything perfect. Okay, so…there’s…and it’s kinda weird that it’s like this perfect place, but as soon as Wendell solves one of the problems, everybody kinda kicks back. But people really tried to make the most of the crops, and it sounds like he worked really hard on the tower. So, as much as I find them…that the fact that the townspeople couldn’t defend themselves because they didn’t want to and they had grown lazy, maybe there is something there, but it’s just moving the pieces around a little, you know?
But it’s still…again, so Wendell…okay, so let me understand Wendell. So, Wendell sounds like he’s been king for a while. What was Scotchtown like before Wendell was king? I don’t know. Well, do you think three or…has it always been peaceful, and how did it…like, in other times, they never had an army ‘cause they were peaceful. Is there a reason for that, like a geographic advantage? Yeah, geographic advantage sounds good. Okay, and then I guess it would be…like, this is definitely taking away from the story, so I guess we gotta focus on when, though, ‘cause I’d say well, why isn’t there any strife in between the town? I mean, I guess it makes me think of like, is there some other bargain? Why…is there a story…a part of the story, like why is the town perfect? Is that what Wendell…the real pain of being Wendell.
Like, does Wendell almost already know this? It almost reminds me of some sort of loop, in some sense. I wonder if you were feeling that way when you wrote it. I don’t know; what do you mean? Well, it’s almost like Wendell’s sacrifice at the end, even though it’s kind of somewhat figurative ‘cause I wouldn’t…or some sort…or magic, because Wendell is not enough…like, Wendell is not providing enough compost for…to undo what the ocean did in such a short period of time, right? So, that’s kind of some sort of supernatural act or magical act, or it takes us out of our suspension of disbelief. But it’s also just like Trem said; oh, somebody has to make this big sacrifice so the town can carry on and be perfect again. That would be interesting as a series of stories.
Now I think I’m…I feel like I’m taking the reins from you and taking over too much, so I’m overstepping my bounds. But it would be like oh, Wendell pops out of the earth as a flower again. Maybe he’s some sort of cabbage patch child and then he becomes king again. Then he repeats the whole thing over and over. So, I don’t know. Maybe there’s part of me that mistook Wendell as totally calm and optimistic. Is Wendell really that calm and optimistic? If he is, then why would he…why does he need to know the town’s future after he’s warned that he can’t change it? I guess in that sense, it kinda makes sense, too. You’re like well, of course; if Wendell couldn’t know how to make his town better, then Wendell’s gonna go find out. So, this actually may be a prototypical, perfect sleepy story, more perfect than the stories I tell.
So, I guess in some sense, I should congratulate you because this is…maybe I didn’t see it ‘til just now, but really, you’ve designed a story better than any of the Sleep With Me stories I’ve ever told. Now, I will say I’m not sure this story is sustainable, much like the Brad Bird constraint of every…conflict in a utopia. Brad Bird wasn’t saying that; that was my projection…playfulness with it. But if what you’re saying’s true, this is the perfect sleep story. So, you have a benevolent person and they’re also full of love and kindness and confidence, and they’re so benevolent they’re gonna go to the end of the line every time in their benevolence, whatever the cost, whatever the sacrifice, including even knowing things they wouldn’t want to know so they can take their benevolence to the end of the line.
So, I think in that sense, there is still some pain and conflict, because…okay…oh, I guess I was saying how perfect your story is, but I can’t help my story brain get drawn in, because then maybe there is a way…then maybe then the missing gap for me in the story, if what you’re saying is true, is that there has to be some other bargain or some other sacrifice or some other skill or something Wendell’s willing to do to enable the fertilization at the end. There’s really only one thing I can think of, but that wouldn’t be sleep podcasty or whatever, or some sort of exchange. It doesn’t have to be with an underworld exchange, but that…to provide Wendell with that power and capability and still have it be believable…you’re talking about an Ursula situation-esque.
Like, not that Trem is Ursula, ‘cause Trem’s just saying be careful; are you sure you want to know the future? You can’t change it. I’m your friend and now I’ve seen the future for you, and it’s really, really not great at all. So, I gotta leave because I can’t watch you go through that. So, that has some power for me. So, I guess your story really is…’cause you just didn’t explain that part, but…so, that’s what’s calling to me now, is…okay, so Wendell finds that out. Wendell’s, as you said, competent, confident, calm, loving, maybe co-dependent, so maybe there is some sort of subconscious neurosis. At least I have to do that and project that. Or maybe not, but that’s a lot of…a lot to bear, I would say. So, then Wendell finds out ‘cause you say well, if I have the ability to find out how to make things better or keep my people safe, I’m gonna do that.
Trem says oh, boy. Yeah, here’s what’s gonna happen; there’s gonna be these three things, but for you to be able to do them all, it’s not gonna…it’s a dark place. Now, what you’re saying in this story, what I was really complimenting you on, which I’ll finish up ‘cause I did have to make it about…you know, I had to go into the story swamp there, is that your story really is…it’s like, okay, there’s a benevolence, then there’s some more benevolence with a light sacrifice; gotta get rid of my castle to keep everybody safe, gotta get rid of my rich stuff to get everybody food, then I gotta sacrifice…I gotta head to the big farm to stave off this war. So, I would say four…this…the fourth thing would be that…oh, by the way, in order to keep you from the next famine, also can’t go to the big farm.
So, I think that would be it, would be…I mean, you can make it mythological. This is just me having to do that, but I…’cause your way is just too perfect, right? Which I guess is some…luckily, I couldn’t make Sleep With Me like that. I’d say wait a second, you can hear me struggling. But it’d be…just because it’s fun. It’s a puzzle that…this is what we’re having fun together, with this puzzle. Also, I know that you wanted Wendell’s people to do something more, but we don’t have to make it about the people, though. It could just be that…and maybe there’s some other point where there’s one other person like Trem that says do you really need to take this to the end of the line, Wendell? Is this really what’s best for…? This is…and Wendell says, this is what it takes to maintain a utopia.
I guess the irony would be…and then I guess it would be this rebirthing of like, if it only takes one figure going to the end of the line and beyond to maintain the utopia, what happens after Wendell’s gone, right? So, I don’t know. But I think that interests me, that…the weight of benevolence or something. That would be like Wendell…if Wendell was gonna do a tell-all story that wasn’t…but Wendell would be like, ten greatest things about being overly-benevolent? I think not; the King Wendell Story. You can’t be overly-benevolent. Is benevolent the right word, do you know? You don’t know, either. Good. I guess we’re one in the same, you and I. So, I enjoyed that story. Thanks for sharing it with me, and yeah, I hope everybody drifted off into dreamland. Goodnight.
[END OF RECORDING]
(Transcription by Leah Hervoly)