Dreams and landscapes

Writing what is often termed Speculative fiction (though this is a very large umbrella under which numerous genres shelter), is enjoyable and sometimes frustrating, though never dull. There’s something very therapeutic about thinking up unusual events and characters, yet do we really create the things we write, or do they emerge from some other place other than our imagination?

I have a life separate to the one I present to the waking world. And although I have no photographs or mementos from my experiences there, I find it no less tangible than the one in which I currently reside. I have friends in this other realm, and places to which I have grown fond of. And before you begin to think that the place I speak of is all sweetness and light, know that whilst beauty and wonder is abundant there, just as in this physical world, so too is darkness and strife. And just as in life, it creeps unexpectedly, catching you unawares. I am of course speaking about dreams.

Throughout my time on this spinning rock I have had a number of what are known as recurring dreams. Though recurring is somewhat misleading as this indicates I have the same dream over and over, and that the details of them remain the same with each telling. True, whilst the places and people (though people is generalising, sometimes the personalities take on forms far from what could be termed human) are known to me, the events and actions experienced are always unique, and more often that not, a continuation of what has come before. For example:

When I was around five, I dreamt whilst crossing some vast desert, coming across an apparently empty town. The town itself wasn’t anything remarkable; anyone who has seen a movie western would be familiar with its structures. Ramshackle huts, house made from timber, each with porches upon which rocking chairs swayed buffeted by the breeze. Streets empty save for the odd dried weeds. I walked along those streets, peering into windows as I did so, searching for some sign of occupancy, slightly fearful of the silence and loneliness of my surroundings, yet unwilling to sound my presence, mindful of what may be watching me from afar. And there was someone (or something) watching me, I was sure. That dormant animal instinct that lies within us all had risen to the fore of my senses. And it told me: be wary, it sees you.

Some years later I visited the town again. Though this time its appearance had changed slightly. Windows, which before had been visible, their glass stained with sand and dirt, were now broken and hidden behind rags which were pulled by the wind, exposing the jagged glass beneath. And the streets, once showing no signs of life, now housed a collection of footprints; trails meeting and dividing, the remnants of some populace, who still remained hidden from me. Again I walked those streets, though this time gingerly. Jumping at each sound, turning only to find a door banging against its frame or chair rocking upon wooden boards. Eventually, tired of my wanderings, I gained the courage to call out to whatever was hiding from me, my voice sounding loudly upon the air. No response came. Though still, I had the feeling my words reached more than just the neglected houses.

Jump forward to July 2010. Once more, I returned to the town within the desert, and made my way along its streets. The footprints were now abundant, crossing this way and that, yet apparently leading nowhere and the town itself appeared to be rotting. Beams now littered the buildings interiors having falling from the fastenings, and doors which had upon my first visit been intact, now had panels broken, their paint peeling from years spent uncared for against the elements. I investigate a few as I walked along the streets, peering in only to find them as before, empty and still, yet as I reached the streets apparent centre something caught my eye. Upon one of the houses fronts a piece of paper was pinned. It flapped in the wind, attached by a single nail, like a bird eager to escape its confines. In plain black lettering it read only this: These heavy sands are language tide and wind have silted here.

On waking I quickly jotted the line down. What did it mean? I felt as though it was obviously written to me, for I had seen no one else within the town, but its apparent meaning eluded me. For days I pondered over the mystery, asking friends if they recognized it or could interrupt its meaning, all to no avail. Ah, the internet. That wonder of the 21st century (yes I know it was around before that, but let’s be honest, how many of us had access in the 90’s?), the sum of all knowledge. Looking back, it should have been my first port of call, but who honestly looks for messages given to them in dreams online? I typed in the message and there it was: These heavy sands are language tide and wind have silted here. From ‘Ulysses by James Joyce. Now, I have never read ‘Ulysses’. True, I may have no doubt encountered quotes from it in my time, but still, it’s quite odd. Joyce’s book describes the passage of Leopold Bloom through an ordinary day in Dublin and establishes a series of parallels between characters and events in Homers Odyssey and his own character of Bloom. The passage in question relates to the character Stephen and his thoughts on the role of language in relation to the past. Reading it didn’t bring me any revelation, if anything it just confused me further. I can only surmise that the note, though using that very passage, carried a meaning unconnected to the context of Joyce’s Stephen character. In short, its message was for me alone.

I have yet to find the meaning to the puzzle, though I have racked my brains over it numerous times. I can only surmise that the answer will be revealed to me in time; perhaps when I next come upon the town in the desert. Though when this will be I have no idea. It could be tomorrow, or even years from now, if at all. Though I feel I am destined to return and perhaps find the one who resides there. Part of my wonders whether in death, I will leave this world only to find myself there amongst its houses. Wandering alone, waiting as the one before me did, for someone to come and search its streets. And will I too leave a letter nailed to a door, in the hope that they will be the one to unlock its mystery?

Food for thought then. The waking world is a place of wonder. Its beauty so rampant and prosperous that we take it for granted. So too, is that other world. The one in which we spend one third of our lives. Its wonders may be difficult to interrupt, they may seem alien to us. But does this make them any less moving, any less important? I’d like to think not. And let us not forget, sometimes, they cross. This dream world spilling into the waking, its shores reaching over onto the very banks on which we sit. Look and you may find remnants. ; Pieces of driftwood signposting places unknown on any map, trinkets strangely familiar to us, though the wearers name escapes us. Scents carried from lands far removed from the ones we know.

A separate life? Perhaps not.

One day I may write a story about all this. Perhaps reading this, you think it is already just that: a story. I often question it myself. Just as I question the other recurring dreams I have. The most common being the girl who has followed me throughout my years, appearing now and then to simply chat and ask me about how things are going earth side. Though when I’m in a relationship she vanishes, only to appear once the relationship has broken down, voicing her opinion with a told you so. Dream women it seems, are no less tactful than waking ones.

Speculative fiction then. Writing it can be fun and rewarding. Even if it does make us a little mad Smilie: :)

Now as the observant ones of you may have seen, the title of this post is ‘Dreams and landscapes’, a nod towards Stephen Kings Dreamscapes and nightmares. King as you may now recently published a collection of short stories titled ‘Full dark no stars’, very good it is to, the first story ‘1922’ being a favorite of mine. Being as I have two copies of this, I’m giving away one hardback copy to one lucky person. All you have to do is post here asking to be included, or falling that (I know lots don’t have a WordPress account) email me at beckettbaron@btyahoo.com stating the same thing. I’ll pick a name at a random from a hat stolen from a magician and notify the winner on, let’s say August 30th. Good luck.

Oh, you have to click on the post title to comment Smilie: :)

Recently read : The passage by Justin Cronin
Hard landing by Stephen Leather
Hellbound Hearts anthology various
Listening to : Violet Cries by Esben and the witch

Category(s): Quick Update

One Response to Dreams and landscapes

  1. Awesome post mate. You never cease to amaze me with that imagination of your.