Have you heard about the Dream Foundry’s first piece of recurring programming yet? No? Well, you’re in luck!

Over on the forums, we’re spinning up our official Media Exploration Club. We’re going to pick a theme and a variety of works from all the different formats the field covers, and then we’re going to talk about them. The discussion around theme selection is happening now; the current top contenders are “Transformation,” “Coming of Age,” and “Vulnerability.” If you’d like to have a say in that, swing by and make your preferences known.

This is a very cool and exciting project for us. We’ve been champing at the bit to launch this from the very beginning, and we’re super excited to have it be one of the first recurring programs we’re offering.  

Why are we doing this? So glad you asked!

“The arts” are one of those things where some things are universal, and some things are highly specific, and there’s a long tradition of fistfights (rhetorical and otherwise) over which is which. The fact is that all art shares a similarity in purpose and, so far at least, is by and for humans. The Romantics back in the nineteenth century all had a shared aesthetic, but they expressed it in everything from music to sculpture to poetry. The medium for their art didn’t matter so much as their interest in the way big, dramatic feelings and atmosphere can warp and shift otherwise realistic representations. The poets were talking to the painters and the composers, discussing and refining shared purpose, spurring each other on, and together producing one of the most exciting bodies of European art. (Or so says me, anyway.)

Very few people are fluent in all the mediums available. That isn’t just okay, that’s normal. But fluency isn’t required in order to appreciate a piece, even from an analytical, craft-driven perspective. A prose writer isn’t necessarily likely to have a hot tip about a Photoshop brush, but they could very well notice how the framing in a comic panel references another piece and what extra work that does for conveying the content of the panel. And if they don’t notice that on their own, they’re definitely in a position to learn a lot when somebody else points it out. After all, while the prose writer isn’t going to frame a visual image as part of their work, they certainly can echo structure and motif from prior work to good effect. Plus, they might someday wind up writing for comics, and knowing something about panel layout and design will suddenly be quite useful.

I could go on and list a dozen more scenarios for the kinds of craft discussions that could be useful to a variety of folks (narrative techniques for developing character sympathy as a template for compelling game mechanics, anybody?), but the proof is in the upcoming conversation. Come read, watch, listen, and play, then stay to talk. If the medium for that month isn’t one you can speak about, then ask questions. Insight into what catches somebody with a different background and perspective is the stuff of epiphany and inspiration. So come on, dive in, and join us for all the enticing conversation we have coming.

Jessica Eanes
President at Dream Foundry

Jessica Eanes, also known as Anaea Lay, lives in Chicago, Illinois, where she engages in a numinous love affair with the city. She’s the fiction podcast editor for Strange Horizons, and has had her short fiction published in a variety of venues including Lightspeed, Apex, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Pod Castle. Her CYOA interactive game, "Gilded Rails" was released by Choice of Games in 2018.  It features a demonic cat, an implausibly efficient accountant, and far too many potential romantic interests. For fun she reads, cooks, eats, plays board games, interrogates people about the logistics of their chosen field, and forms intricate business plans over brunch.


Jessica Eanes

Jessica Eanes, also known as Anaea Lay, lives in Chicago, Illinois, where she engages in a numinous love affair with the city. She’s the fiction podcast editor for Strange Horizons, and has had her short fiction published in a variety of venues including Lightspeed, Apex, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Pod Castle. Her CYOA interactive game, "Gilded Rails" was released by Choice of Games in 2018.  It features a demonic cat, an implausibly efficient accountant, and far too many potential romantic interests. For fun she reads, cooks, eats, plays board games, interrogates people about the logistics of their chosen field, and forms intricate business plans over brunch.