Friday, February 26, 2010

My love is better than the dead cinnamon buns - The Shortcuts, Peepholes and Wormholes of Dream Geography

One theme of dreaming and creativity, which is especially valuable to us considered from a poetic perspective, is the discoveries of special objects or phenomena that opens up impossible doorways between hitherto separeted spaces (or spatialized mental states) and times. Below in the comments area we will begin to gather accounts about poetic shortcuts, peepholes, wormholes and other dimensional collisions. The investigation launches off with this wildly illustrative report from CD.

My love is better than the dead cinnamon buns

One day the phone rang in my room, I got up, left my body in bed and answered. It was my mother who called. She said: It's raining outside. I looked out and there were a couple of feet of water on the street and the sky was black. I hung up and sank into my body again, I lay there for what seemed like the endless eternity. The phone rang again and I went out of my body to answer, it was my mother again. This time she said that it was snowing outside. I looked out and there was half a meter of snow on the street, the sky was white. When I hung up this time I started to wander around a bit, outside of my body that is. I walked down the stairs of the terraced house to the lower floor. The entire lower floor had gold-colored walls, curved as in some Orthodox church. I went over to our cat who sat on a bookshelf. When I reached out my hand towards him, a small hole opened in him where I could see my ceiling. I was aware that I was in bed. When I pulled back my hand, the hole was contracted. I went over to my sister who sat and talked over the phone in the kitchen. On the wall hung a framed tapestry or what to call it. It had a black velvet background with pink text "I am the queen of my castle" in graffiti-style. I heard someone on the phone asking for me but my sister said that "He is up there hallucinating" and waved me away.

So I went out into the terraced area and touched things like mailboxes and the asphalt. Everything felt like it was real, I even licked the bricks of our house. I walked around the street for a moment while flowers shot up from the asphalt and withered. The sky was a blue tarpaulin with dollops of whipped cream as clouds. A bit like in Toy Story, one of my favorite movies.

When I was heading towards a playground in the area, I heard the sound of engines above me, looked up and saw the Spitfire and Messerschmidt planes shoot at each other and form long streaks of smoke. At the playground, there is a small hill and a sand pit really. When I arrived at the hill it was a high mountain with snow on top and people were standing on the top and around watching the air battle. On the way back towards the house I met a man who somehow radiated an inexplicable feeling that he knew me, was my relative, a close friend. I still remember his face but I can not in any way describe it.

It dawned on me that I could take this opportunity to sneak in to the houses of neighbors I didn´t know. There was an old lady, a danish who used to curse at all the kids on the street. I thought it must be interesting to see how she has it.

Once I was standing at her door it had been replaced with a huge marble arch with glass doors, like a mixture of a church and a bank. I opened the door and there inside I was met by everybody I've ever known, almost like a surprise party. All patted my back and threw streamers. I was aware all along that it was not for real, although I could feel things, taste things, move freely and fully explore this state of mind. I went further into the neighboring house through a dark corridor. The participants of the celebration became fewer and fewer the farther in I went.

Eventually I came to an underground parking garage with a concrete ramp leading downwards. My curiosity led me to continue down into the underworld. When I had walked for a while, certainly 50-60 meters below ground, I saw a room behind a thick pane of glass in the concrete wall. Inside stood a piano, which I practiced on as a child. My piano teacher who was a big fat woman with thick fingers also sat in the little room. A dirty yellow light was thrown out from the room out on the concrete. Through a door at the end of the room a man and a woman dressed in 1950´s fashion appeared, the man wore a suit, wavy hair, was smoking a pipe and wore a pair of thick bakelite glasses. The woman had red dress, blond hair and wore pearls. They sat on opposite chairs and wept. Somehow they were my parents and the piano teacher was the therapist. She delivered them a long speech and I knew that I wanted to come in from the darkness of the parking garage.

I thought that since everything took place in my imagination, I should be able to think away the glass pane. So I focused on the absence of it and ran towards it. It was a big bang and I felt the pain in my head.

I started to go downhill again and I heard my piano teacher play the piano and singing "my love is better than the dead cinnamon buns".

The farther down I went, the darker the music became and finally it sounded like iron bars beating against each other (I had bought Kraftwerk, at that time newly released album, Tour De France. The iron bars music reminded me a lot about some songs from that record.) Now I was tired, barely managed to proceed any further, I began training to visualize a door in the concrete wall. It was difficult and I began to feel some ecstasy and a completely crazy playfulness.

Suddenly I had a door in front of me, a sheet metal door resembling those found on boats. The music had transformed into a runaway heartbeat and I was afraid, while I felt I was increasingly losing control. Megalomania began to take over. I came through the door and entered a large saloon with levers of slot machines around the walls and circular tables with smoldering ashtrays and unfinished drinks. Heart beating faster and faster.

Farthest back in the auditorium someone was sitting in a chair, hidden by a newspaper. I approached with quick steps, both scared and curious, tore away the paper that hid the unknown person's face.

Behind the paper was a woman with brown page-clipped hair and brown eyes. I was sucked into her pupil, into the darkness until it turned gray then white. I began to see the ceiling again, took a deep breath and it felt as if I had not breathed for weeks.

My eyes smarted, I must have lain in bed staring at the ceiling all along.

/ Christofer Dahlby


zoe said...

this is the most fantastically described and titled dream i have ever read/heard! amazing.
i have a similar problem sometimes, when i become lucid in a dream, of knowing that i am dreaming and therefore should be able to do anything, but cannot do the thing i am trying to do--for example, when you try to lunge through the glass and bang your head. it's insanely frustrating to me, because it is most like a waking feeling of not knowing how to make my mind see the world as it *wants* in the quote by kafka:
"By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired."
so, the frustration is: i want to get through that glass, i am now in a state of mind in which i should be able to get through that glass, and yet i cannot. where is the insufficiency in my desire?
it is like a lack of faith in the unending power of the self that goes even further than the subconscious, if that is possible?

ok, at the risk of leaving the world's longest (and most incoherent?) comment in a blog post, now for shortcuts, peepholes, and wormholes:
seeing through walls--a lot of times, i dream that i can see from one room to another even though when i go back to think about the dream, i know there was a wall there.
ditto for seeming to be inside and outside at the same time...

Anonymous said...

In lucid dreaming i have developed this method for shifting scenes; i imagine that all given in my visual field, the totality of what is visible in that field at a time, is actually printed, painted o projected unto a thin surface, and then i just walk through, or rip apart, this surface to continue.

Kormorantrådet said...

When I´ve had that lucid frustration, I found it had at least two reasons. One was that my mind-frame seemed too "awake-like" so that I seemed to be pushing ahead with a physically grounded view of what I am (probably involving simultaneous real-life muscle tensions), instead of putting the attention on myself as merely a thought or as an imaginary body situated some wished-for distance away. The tao of less effort turned out to be more effective. Second was that, much like Zoe relates above, the internal energy-reservoir seemed insufficient (for moving through walls for example). For these reasons I concluded, a bit superstitiously perhaps, that my subconscious prompted me to choose to be a more passive dreamer, that I should favor being surprised or "taken along" rather than going for consciously directed explorations.

But perhaps passive-active is not such a good polarization to describe this shift in attitude. To me one of the possible hints in CD´s remarkable dream is rather that magic openings are created by an affective or libidinous bond of some sort (here: to the cat and the woman respectively). And that without the magic energetics of such a "good love" one´s energy is instead, according to the striking imagery of the dream, directed inwards spirally like in the form of a "dead cinnamon bun", going nowhere. A "good",or "living" cinnamon bun stratey would be possible, though, which was what I called the tao of less effort.

As for poetic variations of remote-viewing, I am currently re-reading My life in the bush of ghosts, by Amos Tutuola, where one chapter of the book is called The Television-Handed Ghostess. According to the foreword, Tutuola got this marvellous idea of television-handedness and wrote about it at a time (1950´s)when he was only acquainted by television through hearsay.


zoe said...

i agree with kormorantradet that it does seem to be a message from the subconscious to pay attention to making myself fill the space i'm in instead of pouring my energy into pushing for a new space. although, when i want to break the glass, it just seems like a curse--haha.
i like this "tao of less effort," though, it makes a lot of sense. and the idea you put with the spiraling cinnamon bun (and its alive/dead status) is fascinating.

i guess, in relation to the quote from kafka, it's not so much about dropping the thing/ideal desired as it is dropping the current (in these scenarios), ineffective and frustrating method of trying to attain it.

Kormorantrådet said...

Yes, and to follow the quoted kafkaean view where existence and desire is co-mingled, it could be less about dropping the bun altogether (desired object) than about dropping the current bun (existant method). So, maybe we should name this method of lucid flexibility the currant bun-method? ; )


Christofer said...

Interesting thoughts about the cinnamon bun quote. Theres one thing I remember about the piano teacher that might be useful. She often talked about a summer when she was stung by a bee and had an allergic reaction. She said her fingers where swollen like thick sausages, thats the only thing I remember about her except a poem she read in front of the students every year. It was about a snail that crawled over frozen leaves. The word purple was in the poem, can´t remember in what context. I made my first drawing with ink by this time:

The path down into the underworld was very similar to a parking house I used to go to by night. I used to lie on the roof there and calm down my thoughts

Later that year I was prescribed an anti-psychotic drug. I remember the first time I took the pill, I was listening to Tom Waits album Alice. The song "Watch her disappear" came on at the same time as the drug. I got heavily sedated and I had the feeling that the house sunk down into a dirty orange spiral. When I saw the movie "the wizard of Oz" some years later it reminded me of that feeling.

M said...

I've been meaning to comment on this drawing linked for some time, but since I never felt I quite understood the bun business I felt I might be stepping into inappropriate accordions, if the expression is allowed. Perhaps I should say something, even though the previous discussion here seems to have covered the consciousness and possibly geography bits so I don't have to go over those.

First of all, that piano teacher is a focus of fantasies, and her love is indeed better than dead cinnamon buns. Also since one of the most important things about her was being stung by a bee (an obvious sexual metaphor, among other things), with fingers as sausages (or why not sea cucumbers, as I just read Poe's "Arthur Gordon Pym") and here she is denying a bun in her bosom (miscarriage?). However, we must try to stay clear of the american context, where cinnamon buns are usually referred to as "cinnamon rolls" and commonly glazed in a way which all too clearly suggests the half-legendary male-teenager game of "bun wanking".

More interesting then, I found Niklas's slip from "current bun" to "currant bun" (purple?) which is more of a poetic transformation, along similar routes as those creating the dream in the first place.

The drawing is magnificent, and we really need such more naked imaginative representations of hatters in these days of publicity campaigns for the last Disney production. The railroad tracks are such that you see them if looking north towards Gamla Stan from Slussen (Stockholm), and there are several ways of imagining how to integrate them into one's face (via serpentine tongue, nose and hat or otherwise). Especially since I am currently suffering from a sinusitis, sometimes making me thing my entire facial cranium is decomposing. But the elongation process as going on in this drawing, suggesting various marine worms and such lifeforms, also made a strong impact on me on the tube from Heathrow the other day where I saw an american teenage girl with a marvellously elongated chin and a body language that emphasised it rather than try to hide it. Snakes in the grass, but they do say now that the "couleuvres" in Breton's Prolegomena to a third surrealist manifesto or else, is just slang for "swallowing insults". Or just the process of integrating a landscape into your face without necessarily eating it. There's more to do here.