Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Fifty Shades Of Sophie Gray

That's not a song title!

No, it's this:

I had to cut the description short, so here's the full version:

My name is Sophie Gray.  That's “Gray” with an A, not “grey” like the tone.

My parents were very kind to me but I always thought they were hiding something.  I think probably most children believe that when they're younger, but in my case it turned out to be true.  Of course, when you're very young those things don't go through your head at all because you just think everything is normal.  So I never used to wonder why they always wore glasses and I didn't.  Later on, I decided it must be a grown up thing and that one day I'd get my own pair.  I was wrong.  Similarly, I never wondered why there was no light in the bathroom and why I had to put the cream on in the dark afterwards.

I remember my favourite foods as a child.  They were banana, meringue, porridge, pasta and milk.  I didn't just like white foods though.  Licorice, olives, wild rice and burnt toast were really nice too.  I was never allowed to have bread unless it was white or completely burnt.  I supposed it was dangerous in between.

I used to have friends come round to play when I was younger.  There was Fern, Rose, David, Susan, Nigel – lots of boys and girls.  I was even allowed outside with them if it was snowy and cloudy, or at night when there were clouds and no moon.  My parents were always very careful to take the key out of the door and sometimes when the sky started to get brighter they would call me in.  My friends didn't seem to know who their mums or dads were though, and I thought this was strange.  They all seemed to live together in a big building with lots of adults and they sometimes used words I didn't know, like “window”, “mirror” and “glass”.  They seemed very interested in my parents.  They said that many of the grown ups who lived with them were very kind but sometimes they were also not so nice.  Then one day Rose said a naughty word, which i'm going to spell.  G-R-E-E-N.  Then she had to leave and none of my friends used to come round any more, but I was still allowed to email them.

After I couldn't see my friends any more, I got into reading a lot, and I learned about science and stuff.  I was particularly interested in physics and how the human body worked.  We always used to play a lot of music and I learned to play the piano.  The black and white keys were very pretty.  I also got into clothes.  I liked the ones with bright patterns and stripes especially.

Music was fun.  Just as things could be dark and bright, sounds could be quiet or loud, but they had an extra thing because there were different notes, so hearing wasn't like seeing at all.  There was nothing like notes for seeing.

Then one day I was reading my favourite book about the body and I found a diagram of the eye.  The book explained that there were different kinds of cells at the back of the eye which responded to different kinds of light.  It took me a long time to understand what it was talking about because it used words I didn't know, like “colour” and “red”.  Then I noticed that it used that word Rose said about one of them - “green”.  I was ashamed and shut the book.  I knew nothing had happened like that and wondered why they would be there – they didn't seem to be of any use.  So I looked stuff up about light in my physics books and it really opened my eyes.  Just like sound, light was made of waves and it had different notes like sound had.  I thought it was a shame you couldn't see notes of light like you could see notes of music.

As I read on, I learnt about all kinds of other stuff.  It seemed that light would bounce off bits of smooth flat metal so well that you could look at them and see a picture of yourself as good as a photo or a video.  Also, there were other substances which light could go straight through as if they were air, but they could be liquid or solid.  I was amazed by this and looked around the house for some, but there weren't any at all so far as I could see.  I realised that the computer and television screens must be like that but I didn't want to break any of them, and my parents' glasses were probably a bit like that too or they'd keep bumping into things and stuff.  But there was nothing which reflected really well or let light through really well except for the air and the plastic in front of screens.  Apparently water was like that too, but I'd never seen it.

I read and read about all this stuff but kept it secret.  As time went by, I started to wonder why my parents never talked about it but thought it was probably a bit like sex or going to the toilet, so I had to find out on my own.  I noticed also that when I blinked, there was something funny about what I saw.  One day I stared at a light for ages and ages so I got a really strong afterimage.  It definitely looked really different from anything else I'd ever seen, but I couldn't say why.

Years went by and I got older.  Then I woke up one day and heard my parents were talking excitedly downstairs.  When I came into the room they started whispering, then writing notes to each other.  I asked them what it was about but they wouldn't say.  Then they went upstairs again and I noticed they'd left two things on the table:  a piece of paper and a key.  I looked at the piece of paper.  It said “the cameras have stopped working”.  I wondered about this and tried to email Rose about it, but the internet wasn't working either.  Then I picked up the key and walked to the outside door.  It fit!  Then I unlocked the door and opened it.

There was something wrong with my eyes.  Everything looked really weird and I couldn't work out why.  There were new things out there I hadn't seen before, but I had seen pictures of lots of them and they were different.  They reminded me of afterimages somehow but it was everywhere.  I thought I was going blind.  I ran indoors to my dad and said “Dad, dad, what's happened?  I can't see properly?  Help!”

Then Dad and Mum sat me down and told me about my life.  Many years ago, they said, almost everyone had lived in families in homes with just a few adults in them.  Then the government decided it was too dangerous to let this happen because the children might get hurt, because the adults weren't experts in looking after children.  They'd never studied it at college or anything.  Then Mum got pregnant with me because she didn't eat the food the government gave everyone and Dad and her got into big trouble.  They wanted to look after me themselves and that was against the law.  After a long argument with the government, they agreed that they would be allowed, but on two conditions.  One was that I would have to be part of an experiment where I was never allowed to see “colour”.  The other was that there would be cameras in our house which filmed us all the time.  However, now nobody knew how to make or mend a lot of things and they'd all broken, so   there was no more internet and the government couldn't see what we were doing any more, and in fact the government couldn't work properly at all without the internet.

We were going to have to go over to the big building where my friends lived and rescue them, but before we did that, Dad had one more thing to show me.  He handed me a piece of metal and glass which I now knew was called a mirror, and told me to hold it up to my eye.  This is what I saw.

For some reason, Blogger won't let me start a new paragraph now.  How about now?

Nope.  Well, not a double line break anyway.  Not sure what's going on here.

Still nothing.  Ah well.
OK, this video took two days to make and about five to pluck up the courage to decide to make it.  It's far from perfect but it's a big thing, which is one reason i need to take a step back and a deep breath.  If it turns out this doesn't work or gets a lot of hate, i need to be ready for that, hear the criticisms and assess what's valid and what's invalid, along with how typical the reactions are likely to be.

I've gone a bit mad with posting links to this because i'm desperate.  The kidnapping video's doing quite well, which is typically annoying for an off-the-cuff thing, but this is a minor magnum opus, as i said, although nowhere near as good as a professional or amateur video.  It also raises the issue of what counts as spam and the issue that i have no idea why spam annoys people and therefore, as with other things, cannot tell when i'm spamming, which is why i err on the side of caution on the whole.  I've also stuck this on reddit, another place i can't get my head round.

Incidentally, the last sentence is missing from the video.
Flaws in this video:  the scene changes are not well lined up with the monologue.  I could probably have made the voice sound more female or got Holly to read it.  There are a number of transparent or specularly reflective objects in the video when there shouldn't be.  Liz and i should both have been wearing glasses when we were talking.  The thumbnail could've been included at the start and a "page turn" transition.  I need to go through this and analyse how it could be improved and what to learn from it.
Well, i'm a bit disconcerted by the way this isn't paragraphing properly so i'm going to stop now.