Sunday, April 28, 2013


There was no way it could  happen without involving dreams, but I've been banned dreams by my friends and family, banned them categorically, because, I'm told, they're bad for me, bad not only for my mental health, but also for my creativity, like when I obsessively put dreams or tedious concepts about dreams in my stories or crazy dream visions in my paintings or gradually falling asleep with non-programmatic music, such as symphonies and sonatas, sounding through my ear-plugs, feeding, no doubt, the onset of more dreams for me to re-cook....

So how could I make it happen without the help of dreams or what I imagined dreams to be? The task itself that I had been set you already know because I just told you. The task was to be starved of dreams or of thinking about dreams -- for there to be NO DREAMS. But how could this happen without me thinking about dreams first, without me having dreams, and so forth, so that I could later ensure that I had made it all happen, made the NO DREAMS life not only possible to happen but actually happening, observably happening in the shape of an absence of something rather than the more provable presence  of something ... An absence not only achievable but incontrovertibly achieved.

To have something in your life obliterated you first needed to know everything there was to know about that something so that you could ensure that not only the something itself but also every disguised trace of it, every encoded  innuendo of it, every secret lurking power of it, every clandestine clue of it, were all obliterated, too.

And I was not yet ready to KNOW.

Not ready to know when there were no more dreams possible in my life. I had to continue dreaming about dreaming -- even about not-dreaming -- as a sort of belt-and-braces method to allow something like a dream to know more about itself in comparison with a not-dream, in order for a dream to rid itself *of* itself.

In other words, if you can forgive me, this was no overnight process!

TIME, then, was the essence. An Experiment with Time. The linear absorption of further dreams and not-dreams would be insufficient.

Using more of an instinct than a knowable fact, I felt I needed, somehow, to scatter any new test-dreams throughout my past and my future as well as my present, seeking an absence of a dream  for each presence of a dream and systematically replacing the latter with the former. This would be the only way to clear my complete system from dreams, so that a whole lifetime of such dreams could be flensed.  Scraping at the sides of the mind till every corner of it had been given the all clear from dreams. And I was sure that this was the only way to do that -- by using dream to destroy dream.

But then it dawned on me that this 'scattering' process would need to be conducted through all time not only my own time. Those dreams that existed before I was born and those dreams that may exist beyond my own finite future would otherwise likely impinge toward the middle that was me.

In other words, I needed to be concerned with other people's dreams, people dead, people still living and even people not living now but people who were due to live.  NO DREAMS must mean NO DREAMS.  Otherwise,  I could never be sure. And, so, the task took on mammoth proportions in my mind and, if you will forgive me,  I must tell you that I began to suffer nightmares about it!

How dare I be set such an inhuman task,  I asked myself. If my friends and family loved me they would never have asked me, would they? The reasons they had given  for setting the task  I had now forgotten, and even if I could remember the reasons, they would probably now seem so trivial when compared with the enormity of the task itself.

Time, as I say, is of the essence. It may be easier than I thought. The quickest way would be probably be the *only* way.

I live now in the past and in the future, but never in the present. The strength of dreams prevailed, after all, to make such an existence possible.

This is the moment in time that is me,
a moment never quite crystallising but always there,
merely a thought away.
Not a not-dream, as such,
but a memory of somebody that nobody can ever quite place.

1 comment:

Weirdmonger said...

first published in 1991:

No Dreams, No Packdrill

It was darker towards the middle of the room.

There is no fear greater than that of a greater fear. And a fear of death is not the greatest of all, by far.

John’s thoughts fired off each other as he dreaded their eventual outcome: insanity, complete and utter.

He had been in this room since daybreak. He had woken up on the couch, having the previous night fallen asleep, he thought, in his usual bed upstairs…if indeed he were downstairs at all.

The couch was under a bay window, a wooden surface with a narrow mattress on it. Most of the daylight hours he had been snoozing between dreams. Now with dusk, he noticed that the outskirts of the room, including even the windowless walls, were shimmering with light, leaving the central rug between the fireplace and the bay window in shadow. Not only shadow, but an almost tangible sooty mist rising towards the ceiling.

With growing horror, he realised that the dreams need not have been dreams at all, but merely what he feared most: the onset of insanity.

Then cane the big doubt, the one flaw in his line of argument. His mind flooded with mental fire, as he grew less confident about the nature/demarcation line of dream and insanity. Then, of course, there was that first rogue force called reality which feeds from both dream and insanity and then calls itself sanity for convenience (or just for the laugh). He felt more than a little confused, without properly understanding that the degree of his confusion was affecting all his senses, not only that of thinking. He smelled awful. He tasted his own dead body. He saw nothing but his own eyeballs slowly revolving in their sockets, with all the scratching at the window to get in. He touched the top of his head and felt a gluey substance instead, which action in itself seemed to cause other senses to be worse affected. The darkness in the middle of the room disappeared from sight.

John woke up in his usual bed upstairs, having slipped peacefully through a dreamless night, a beauty sleep to end all beauty sleeps. But it was still very dark outside.

(published ‘Midnight In Hell’ 1991)