Friday, August 28, 2009

Cool Dream/Nightmare from 9-10 Years Ago

Some people ask why I’m into horror. For my part, I don’t understand how someone could not be into horror.
Here’s a dream from a long time ago. I’m not sure when – I might have been 22 or 23:

The train rattles along, trees rush past in the grey light.
I have my own compartment on the train. I set a leather case onto my lap, pop the clasps and open it. I check the contents, make sure that everything is there, in its correct place – each item easily reached should it be needed.
There’s a mirror, a cross, a chain of garlic. Small vials of salts, chemicals, and holy water. A gun, a knife, a mallet. Five wooden wickets, each a foot long, sharpened to points.
I close the case and try to concentrate. I try to keep myself calm.
In the bathroom I wet my face, wash my hands. I see myself in the mirror – tall, thin, very pale. Black hair to my shoulders, a white dog-collar, black cassock down to my feet. I’m a priest.
The train rattles, the trees rush, the grey light grows dimmer and dimmer.
I’m running out of time. I’ll get there too late.
I try not to think about it.

By the time the train pulls in to Brighton the sky’s a dull pink, striped with grey metal clouds, and the sun hangs low over the water. *
It’s been many years since I was last here, but I still know the way.
Almost. I make a couple of wrong turns, stupid mistakes which cost me time.
Too late anyway. But I have to try.
Finally I recognise the streets, I’m in the neighbourhood. Here’s the switch-back, where the cobbled street leaves the coast and winds up the hillside. I’ve thought about this street many times before, and it’s exactly as I imagined / remembered it. It’s narrow and climbs sharply. The buildings have clay / stucco walls – stained pink with sunset. A Mediterranean street. **
My destination is halfway up, the old cinema. Like most things in Brighton, it’s been dead for a long time. Closed down, boarded up.
Fading light.
I have maybe twenty minutes left.
The doors are locked. Of course they would be. I step back, check the alleyway beside the theatre – a fire escape goes halfway up, to a small door (also locked). I climb onto the handrail, then the doorframe, sling a rope around something on the roof, hoist myself up. It is dangerous, exhausting and costing me time.
The wind catches and billows my cassock. There is an enormous round window in the roof, a stained glass skylight.
I smash one of the panels
lower myself through the jagged mouth
glass teeth, orange and purple
drop down onto the plush red carpet. A landing, the top of an ornate staircase. It winds down into the heart of the building, electric lights in wall sconces, which shouldn’t be on, but they’re on. The theatre has power.
And as I look around I see no evidence of dust or decay, the inside of the theatre is intact and luxurious. These doors open onto the theatre’s highest gallery. The passages to the left and right lead to opera boxes. I've been here before, a long time ago. I'm from here.
But then I hear a booming from far beneath me – a single crash of stone falling onto stone.
In the dream I actually feel cold sweat on my face and hands. The vampire is awake, he’s thrown aside the lid of his sarcophagus.
I think: he’s fast. I stand no chance against him. I have to –
Too late, he’s demonstrated his impossible speed, he’s now standing in front of me.

The vampire is terrifying, an extremity of fear. He wears white
– white jacket, white pants –
Bare feet.
His skin is black,
jet black,
not African but black/black/black
the eyes are huge and black, they swarm and reflect the light, I think they are made of nesting flies.
The mouth hangs loose, it’s filled with teeth – squirming black needles.
He can move in the blink of an eye, I understand this. I know that it’s by his (momentary) indulgence that I’m still alive.
I say: “Look.”
Do I have enough time? Will he allow this?
Staring at me with swarming black cavities.
I hold up the case, at arms length.
With the other hand I reach over and unfasten the clasp – it all spills out.
The cross, the holy water, the stakes. All of the “weapons”, useless anyway. They’re symbols.
I dangle it, let the last of it fall, then I drop the case and step back.
The vampire steps closer to the weapons, and I step back again. He’s confused, but maybe he is starting to understand the message:
“Here are things which could hurt you – I won’t use them”
“Because I’m not here to kill you.”
And I’m not. He scares the shit out of me, but the vampire and I are not enemies.
He steps forward – so do I. Facing each other, my white face to his black face, black clothes to white, another step and we’re together, holding each other,
melting together, our heads meld with each other
and incredibly (***) I can see in three hundred and sixty degrees, I can see every part of the landing
then I’m on the street outside, three hundred and sixty degrees
not a character of the dream anymore, a roving point of view –

– I wake up,
I feel incredible,
an immense feeling of satisfaction, of wholesomeness hangs about me, it has been months or years since I have felt this good. I can’t wait to get out of the house, I have a sense that nothing can stop me today.
And people actually notice. Over the next couple days people say:
“What’s happened to you? You see really happy.”
Or even
“You look really good today.”
(always a nice thing to hear)

I’ve had similar dreams (some of them a little "weirder" – hahahaha, I’ll keep those to myself), but never any as complete and coherent
& I’ve had better dreams, certainly happier dreams, but I’ve never had that same feeling of satisfaction from a dream again

though I do sometimes find it in real life
– e.g. me & Q are coming up on four years! –
so I’m not complaining

FOOTNOTES (because my dreams have footnotes) (so fuck you)

* which is wrong of course, since Brighton’s on the East coast, but it’s a dream, so.

** it feels exactly like a road I used to know as a kid, a dirt road up a wooded hillside – feels like it, but doesn’t look like it. This old dirt road used to hold a magic fascination for me, even now thinking about it gives me a strange chill

*** I’m serious, I really dreamt this

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Event / Calamity / In Memoriam

Hey there.
This is a proper plug for a collaborative blog / writing project we're doing here.

Five writers are writing five characters' experiences of a massive event as it takes place in Wellington. We're doing it in five parts. The 5-5-5 thing doesn't have a secret meaning. It's not a religious or conspiracy thing. It just happened that way.

The premise of the Event itself is pretty basic:

say it’s a regular day in wgtn & you’re
buying breakfast / coming down off acid / sleeping with your boss / looking after someone else’s children / twenty floors up / watching the same horrible movie again and again / meeting someone nice / drinking wine with teenagers / limping off home

& you happen to notice
people pushing down to the water / shapes moving under the surface / watching glassy-eyed / the bright sun / crowds / someone else’s children / pushing through them / & then as the customers turn nasty / broken glass / running feet / distant screams

& before you know it you’re
cast into the sea / thirsty / drowning / watching helpless / as their corpses rise / drinking & drinking / in the crowds below you / when the lights go out / when the ground shakes / the buildings sway / from the back of the police car / from your seat in the theatre / from under the table / water spattering / onto the asphalt / onto the tiles / mouths yawning / time frozen


Meanwhile, calamity.
Fuckers have broken into the flat and stolen our laptops (& the digital camera we got from Alive and Doses, et al.)
So this is a transition moment, a point where Sleep Dep (& the rest of my writing) becomes temporarily less of a computer thing and more of a written on paper thing.
Which is a shame, because typing very fast is part of my creative process on this.

What this will mean: less photos on Sleep Dep, maybe less frequent entries, and maybe different sorts of writing due to GOD DAMN IT the inability to comprose the writing on a computer anymore.
Instead I have a powder blue notebook for Sleep Dep, and a little Pukka Pad in which to recreate Harrison Monsters.
It's not all bad. The powder blue notebook has an inscription from PETER CHRISTOPHERSON written on the back. It says: "All the best, S()*^D*^(O£!", or something to that effect, his signature is very messy.


The worst part is all of the writing that's been lost. Most of the finished drafts are backed up on Gmail, thanks to my insecure need for the approval of my peers. But the fragments and half-written projects (amongst them many of my favourites) are gone.
A moment's silence for the lost story fragments:
- The Remains
- Resonant Object
- Nn Thom Nee Yah
- Dirty Things
- Satan
- The Birthday Film
- Something New
- Huss
- The Week Before the Formal
... & approximately 5,000 words of the Harrison Monsters
& God knows what other things I can't recall right now.

Lost story fragments, we lift our glasses to you.
May you drift and squiggle back off into the darkness from whence you came, content and at peace. I'll try to recreate you, but it will all come out different I'm sure.

Ah well.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Later On

Later on he took a bath. He stood by while the bath filled, unhappy. It was the end of a long and upsetting day.
The bath was one part of a remedy for the unhappiness. A moment before he'd eaten a fast food dinner. Later he would drink beer and watch a film. When the bath was almost full he took his clothes off, placed his book on top of the toilet cistern, and pissed into the toilet. Then he slid into the water.
The bath had all kinds of comforting associations for him. Foremost of these was the womb. It was a gentle warm annihilation that asked nothing of him.
He grew comfortable, then spent some time reading the book.
He melted into the warm water and after a couple of difficult pages was transplanted into the world of the story. It was a grimy and wretched world filled with unhappy people, he enjoyed it. He floated through the scenes as a spectator, intrigued by the characters and their suffering.
For a while he saw everything with vivid clarity.
But then the words began to tangle up, some of the expressions were too oblique. The author described a character as a “smudge” against the “grey black night”, and he found this too difficult to visualise. Specifically the night being both grey and black.
He closed the book and leaned back in the tub. Tired. It had been a long day. He opened the book again, but closed it a moment later. For some reason he balanced it on top of his head.
Fighting back sleep. But then he slept. He woke a moment later, the book still perched on his head – a close call, it could easily have slipped.
He set the book back on the cistern, and fell asleep.
Woke, blinked, looked about him. Then fell asleep.
His sleep was black, blank and dreamless.
Each time when he awoke, he found himself relaxed and at peace. Sleep hung around him like a heavy force, it couldn't be fought. It was as if he were being born, again and again, into short lives he could make no sense of, then swiftly obliterated. Born, to live for a moment, just long enough to realise he was slipping away.
It felt good. It was only afterward, as the bath drained, that the comparison with births and deaths occurred to him. Maybe Samuel Beckett would have liked that. The sort of thing he was often saying about the human condition. Good old Samuel Beckett.
What was I going to do next, he thought.
Oh - beer and a movie.
Another good idea. On days like this, the best you could hope for was to disappear.