Sunday, 5 December 2010

That Damn Ending

Last night I dreamt Dr Sam Beckett leaped into a ruffian who was harassing a commune in the woods.  He was only a henchman, and expendable, but our hero leaped again, and again into different people in that same situation, unable to leave until he put right what once went wrong.  But he never had a chance to fix things, for every time he got near, he leaped out and back into a different character and had to start all over again. 

Al had been absent for most of the episode, then a car pulled up and an extremely elderly man got out.  Sam with his Swiss cheese memory didn’t really understand.  But Al was old now.  Not a hologram.  Because Sam never got home, he kept on leaping years, decades after the day he first stepped into the quantum leap accelerator.  Because his body was still alive, he could leap into what for his mind was the future. 

Al took him to the lab, and it was old, and dusty.  For while Sam had leapt on, no one waited for him to get home any more.  But now Al was trying to pull him out.  It was one last attempt to save him, which was why he was leaping every few hours, but Sam knew he wouldn’t be allowed to leave until he had solved the problem he’d arrived there to put right.

It was a dream with a mixture of emotions.  The general fun and excitement of any episode of Quantum Leap certainly, but a melancholy seeped in.  It was about dying, and the end of an adventure, being trapped forever.  Generated by those last words that appeared on the screen in the final episode.

Dr. Sam Becket never returned home.
I haven’t watched Quantum Leap in several months.  I did watch the pilot on my birthday back in September, but I don’t know why I would be dreaming about it now.  Why did the finale have to be so damn depressing?

I do like open endings.  Or rather, although I like the plot to resolve, I want to see the characters carrying on, having adventures long after the last page turns or the credits roll.  The characters live; it’s just that we’re not watching them any more. 

And that’s probably what Quantum Leap was going for.  After all, who’d want to see a show set in the present of the Quantum Leap universe?  It’s boring. 

But the show was about Sam’s desire to return home.  That was the gimmick, the drive.  It was in the opening narration.  Star Trek Voyager wouldn’t have had a satisfactory ending if they never got back to Earth.  It would have been a waste of seven years.  We didn’t have to see Sam get home, we just needed to know it, or even just to assume it.  And with one sentence, after the last image had gone, they took that safety net away.

And here I am seventeen years later, having sad dreams because of it.

Still, it was good to know Sam was still alive, even if he is still leaping.

This was not one of those dreams I could then a write a story out of.  I’ve had those.  I definitely have.  Just not for a while.  And I think sure, chronicling the dreams will be a useful writing tool.  And not a waste of time and space and creativity filling up a page with irrelevant, redundant gibberish that bores anyone who isn’t me (although this is a blog, guffaw). 

It did have a fairly coherent plot, which is actually more annoying than having weird dreams, because coherent-plot dreams never conclude.  I either wake up or start having another dream.  And certainly characters from different dreams I have in one night do cross over into each other’s arena, often bringing along plot strands from a dream I was having hours ago and there are twists and revelations I wouldn’t have seen coming and yet make sense, but not one of them, no matter how detailed, ever has a satisfactory ending.  I can pause and rewind the dreams when I don’t like something that has happened (usually me getting killed) but it still never plays out properly.  There’s never an epilogue.

But it is an expression of my creativity.  Often using genres and subjects I couldn’t possibly handle with consciousness.  So it is worth documenting, just in case it comes in handy. 

So dreams will appear in the blog.  So will reviews, mostly of films.  And lists (I fancy exploring all the great heroes, heroines, villains, romances and endings I have come across (in fiction) as they are sure to influence my own writing).  And influences and inspirations as they occur in my real life.  And musings and developments in the stories I am currently writing.  That is the intention (but being L-A-Z-Y, who knows). 

This blog shall follow the ideas and the attempts as I stumble around the blacked-out cupboard of being unpublished.  And maybe someday soon, I’ll find the damn doorknob.


  1. Perhaps you were dreaming about Quantum Leap because Sam Becket had jumped into you in your sleep (I'm not sure if that counts as rape or not...) You quote how he never got home, so he must still be out there somewhere...

  2. One of my housemates was flicking through the channels and Sam came on the screen. Another of my housemates said 'He's got a weird face'. Turns out, they hadn't seen Quantum Leap, and knew nothing of Sam Beckett. I was astounded.

  3. Astounding indeed. A truly scary world we live in.

    I can't imagine a greater person being in control of my life than Sam Beckett so I wouldn't mind if he did leap into me.


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