Tattoo Dreams and Airport Nightmares

Sad Ren Fair and Magical Tattoos – Dream Log: April 5, 2023

Driving some crappy old small car in terrible shape. Everything falling apart. Ripped seats. Crumbling old plastic dash board. Chipped black paint. Driving to some Ren fair / comic con thing. For some reason after taking forever to park the car in a tiny parking lot far from the fair I get out, rummage in the trunk for something and start to walk. Some forgotten small town somewhere. Everything is sad and run down. Like the town itself had simply given up. Most of the buildings look abandoned. The few other people walking to the fair around me are wearing various costumes- not terrible but far from good. Paper mache masks painted with colors that only seemed bright in contrast to the dim resignation all around us. I discover to my surprise and disappointment that my costume consists of a long dark coat, a tan fedora, dark circle sunglasses, a dirty old feather pillow and a short shovel. I have no idea why or what these items might refer to but its too late to go back to the car so I carry them awkwardly.

I follow the other people between the buildings to a back yard with a giant old tree and no more buildings beyond it. Seems this is a one street town.

The fair is on the side of a small hill running down from the tree and covered with bright green lush grass. Its starting to get humid and uncomfortable and the fair consists of about thirty people shuffling slowly past a few tables and chairs painted black with almost nothing on them. Just a few old worn paperback novels. I try to carry the pillow and shovel in a way that might seem like they mean something but quickly give up.

Driving back through roads in the woods- but now my Dad is driving and we keep going down incredible steep hills where the car almost tilts over- or at least should, but doesn’t. I’m facing the wrong way so I can’t see the road- just seeing the trees going by and feeling so off balance. He’s talking the whole time but I can’t follow what he’s saying.

Finally we skid to a stop and Dad gets out to go do something. As we stopped I could have sworn there was a beautiful girl lounging behind a fence that we almost crashed into and I turn around to look and find that she’s in the car with me. Sitting in the back seat unharmed and looking at her phone. Her pale skin is covered in amazing tattoos so detailed that they are basically impossible. Some of them move. Some of them have tiny carved wooden pieces incorporated into them that turn in impossible ways. She’s completely focused on reading something on her phone and barely looks at me but offers her leg so I can check out her tattoos. Running up her thigh is a tattooed line that turns into a long table of sorts with an assortment of amazing objects on it. Tiny ornate boxes and stars and puzzles. But they’re not tattooed. They are real, tiny, carved wood pieces somehow floating right where they should be to look like they’re on the tattooed table. I realize while I’m mystified by her tattoos that now some friends of hers are also in the car and it seems they want to go. I offer her my business card in case she could use any more artwork and in hopes of seeing her and her tattoos again. She takes it without looking at it and they all leave.

Airport Stopover Nightmare – Dream Log: May 7, 2023

They told to get off the plane during a stop at some New York airport and I ended up lost in a labyrinth of passageways. All dank and dark and not where I should have been. Back corridors painted dark gray floor to ceiling and looking like they almost never got cleaned. Sticky floors making crackling noises as I drag my luggage along with me. Slowly the halls got larger and more filled with random stuff. Boxes and bits of machinery sprinkled with random trash. Workers walk past completely ignoring my pleas for help. And then the walls disappeared as I entered a gigantic warehouse space. But it was far from open. Now the maze was made of stacked boxes and steel columns. I encounter two workers in bright red and black uniform shirts laughing and pushing a coworker into a box on the bottom of the stack. At first I think its just a joke until I notice that worker is not at all happy being shoved through the small hole in the stiff cardboard. Only his forearms and head sticking out as I turn away trying to find a way out and wondering how I ended up here. Hoping the workers don’t notice me. Trying to find my way back to the public part of the airport where I should be.

The warehouse turns into some kind of factory with vast processing going on. Choking on the hot dry air as I walk past piles of clothing on the floor organized into rows that look as though they’ve been vomited out of some machine. Colors matching for each wavy row but these are not new clothes. They’re old and worn. As I move on the rows of clothes become gray and I notice they’re not clothes anymore but bones organized by type. All becoming dusty and crumbly as they are slowly pushed along the floor by the rest being forced out of whatever distant machine was puking them up. Pelvises and skulls marching single file. Long bones looking like piles of sticks and gray sludge rivers of smaller bones all slowly pushing their way across the dark painted concrete floor. The room is huge and loud. Hot ash hanging in the still air. Machines rumbling and grinding. Workers yelling over them. The endless rhythm of hiss and thunk. Everything so dry and sterile. A processing plant for the dead. Bones and dust pushed by a long handled broom. Sounds of things being dumped into steel containers. How did I end up here?

And then- as if the death became too much- suddenly I’m outside. Surrounded by green. Bright fresh Spring leaves everywhere. Almost hiding the few buildings around. I’m not in a city. Some rural place in rolling hills all covered in green. The air is warm, humid and full of life. I so happy to be out of the hell factory but now I’m sure I’m going to miss my next flight. Still dragging my luggage along I travel down a road lined by ivy covered fences. Passing a couple walking a small dog who do not notice me at all but talk to each other in hushed voices. I keep moving. There must be a way back to the airport. Where am I? Down the road and now I’m on a path and the woods around me have become thick. Green light filtering in from above. I notice the weirdest shape in a small clearing in front of me. Gray and furry- like a long tail about two inches thick draped over a squared arch about shoulder high. Its got odd joints that don’t make sense and places where tufts of longer matted hair hang down. Almost like two very skinny legs connected by a length of tail. Bits where I can’t understand what is going on and then I see it is moving and feel it notice me. Wobbly and unsteady it moves towards me. One uncertain step at a time. I move onto a different path and it shambles past. Alone in the woods. The light from above dimming and it stops as if its looking at me but I can’t see a head or eyes. A few places might be ears sticking off it but I can’t tell. It just stands there- wobbling slightly as though its just as confused by me as I am by it. It made no noise and moved like a puppet suspended somehow from invisible strings up above. Eventually it started to move on and I almost tripped over my forgotten luggage. Did it look back? What part would do the looking? I’m never going to get back on the plane.

Storytime 1 – The Burning of Elm Terrace

Here we have another kinda doodle / video experiment / me reading the first chapter of my novel The Burning of Elm Terrace which I started long ago and am going to try and finish through these videos. It’ll take a while. Its a big story. And the video is kinda weird but I hope you like it. The sound effects in the background are from the sound experiments I’ve been doing for use in my animated series Surreal Orange.

J Matthew Root – VLOG #003

Here we are with vlog number three!

I’m trying to do these in smaller chunks now so I can get them out to you sooner so the MODit system release and Piano Abstracts will be in separate vlogs coming soon!

This is the Surreal Orange story.

Of course its not the whole story. Its spoiler free and really just a quick introduction to the concepts, structure and feel of the show, but it should give you a good idea of what I’m thinking. Light-hearted and more of a comedy but with some darker stuff mixed in. Its got adventure elements but it’ll be all over the place. I’ll be exploring not only with the characters and story but also with the treatments and style of the show and I’m sure it’ll get very expressionistic, no doubt.

Let me know what you think! Thanks!

The 2-8 Dreams

Whisper by J. Matthew Root Digital Image 2021

These were all dreamt in the same night and in this order. It was a rare experience that I remembered all four dreams. Also I’m not sure if dream 4 is a continuation of dream 2 or not. Could be.

How did I get here?

A deep dull green sky writhed low over a sea that shouldn’t be calm. Miniature crests lapped and hissed over the dark pebbly sand. I looked at my boots as the water ran gently over them. Hands in my pockets. Breath a faint ghost of winter in morning air hinting only slightly at a hot day to come. The orange polyester vest was a welcome comfort- a gift from my unlikely benefactors. They argued behind me- a map laid out on the hood of their old Jeep. I could hear their voices but not the words. It amazed me that anyone could argue in tones that pleasant.

Coffee would be so nice right now.

An old rotting wharf stretched out like an incomplete bridge to a sunken island. The water caressed its feet too.

The tunnel was crowded. The arched ceiling barely visible behind the hanging, flickering fluorescent lights. Covered in dry ancient tar the walls peaked out from behind the piles of stuff. Not just any stuff. The corridor had become a makeshift museum of second-rate kitsch. Lamps with strings of plastic crystal beads and ornamentation that could only be impressive if viewed from the other room, or possibly the other house. Poorly made pine chests badly disguised as old oak. A ballerina danced on a cushion of bobbing and swaying lights- colors shifting slowly. A million plastic things all trying their best not to look plastic. All of them failing. A monument to materialism built by people to poor to be materialistic. It was hard to believe the lack of a black velvet painting of Elvis or a pair of staring panther eyes.

Carlos pushed through the mess quickly- urging us on.

I wasn’t so much paralyzed as fascinated. It was impossible to believe most of the things I had seen over the last few weeks- but this pushed the limits. The camouflage disguised the grisly pile on the back of the truck. If you didn’t let yourself focus on it you could think it was just a pile of mulch or cut grass. Branches- garbage- anything but bodies.

I watched as tiny auburn rivers ran down the lowered black wood tailgate until a quick motion caught my eye. Marc ripped his knife out of the last of them. Breathing hard through his rictus grin. Relishing the moment as his last victim went limp and gave up the ghost. Then all I saw was the blade. Deep blackened red on shining stainless steel. It was a short fat blade protruding from his fist. Fresh blood was everywhere on him- turning his dark striped hunting camos black but somehow still looking just like blood.

I didn’t see his eyes- but suddenly I was aware he was looking at me. The beginnings of panic just starting to suggest themselves as a flash flew past my head. And Marc fell.

Gripping his stomach as he slowly became one with his nightmarish work.

Just another body now.

The sun was up there somewhere- behind the clouds- but you couldn’t tell where. Empty branches reached up to a gray ceiling. Perfect water droplets fell onto the dirty wet gravel.

It was over- and nothing had changed.


February? February 8th? Maybe.

I looked down at my watch and read the date.


Had to go a few hundred miles west before crossing the channel.

Why Glasgow? Why me? Why anything?

But I still couldn’t shake the feeling. This was urgent. This had to be. Like an interrupted message from an old friend giving you a time and place that you MUST be- but not getting the chance to say why. It was important. You could hear it in his voice before he was cut off. Deadly serious. This had to be. Otherwise I was just another nutcase.

But no friend had called. Unless God was my friend.



Everything pointed there. Every coded hint. I still wasn’t sure that “2-8” was a date- but it seemed a little too perfect that the date was February sixth.

I climbed into the jeep and closed the squeaky door.

“Well- if we’re going to do this we’d better get going.”

Jorge nodded at me and threw it in drive as I felt Sara’s hand on my shoulder. Unsure herself but still trying to reassure me that I wasn’t crazy. Why were they helping me?

The engine roared as the suspension complained about the rough dirt road. The sea behind us, for now.

“You think we could find a place for some coffee?”

All The Same

Old doodle playing around with the WACOM tablet.

A poem I wrote a while back and just dusted off. I think its not half bad. I hope you like it too.

All The Same

by J. Matthew Root

Until a red-faced man walked in
And laughed at my green skin
And spat right in my face
And called me a disgrace
So I beat him to a pulp and before I left him there for dead
I pulled him close and with his dying words he said…
“In your next life- be me.
And see if you do it differently.”
So I stepped in and pulled on his red skin
And looked out through his eyes
and did it same as him

Thinkin’ I’d done it different.

Until a blue-faced girl walked in
And laughed at my red skin
And spat right in my face
And called me a disgrace
So I beat her to a pulp and before I left her there for dead
I pulled her close and with her dying words she said…
“In your next life- be me.
And see if you do it differently.”
So I stepped in and pulled on her blue skin
And looked out through her eyes
and did the same again

Thinkin’ I’d done it different.

Until a green-faced man walked in
And laughed at my blue skin
And spat right in my face
And called me a disgrace
So I beat him to a pulp and before I left him there for dead
I pulled him close and with his dying words he said…
“In your next life- be me.
And see if you do it differently.”
So I stepped in and pulled on his green skin
And looked out through his eyes
and did it same as him

Thinkin’ I’d done it different.