Lately I've not wanted to listen to anything but violent, brooding synths; I've not wanted to read anything but science fiction; I've not wanted to watch anything but future-horror and psycho-thrillers. I've followed sci-fi news, the news of the future in the now, of the future in the future, almost exclusively. Ellen Ripley stalks my dreams, accompanied by a humanoid vampire left over from childhood nightmares and a shark, giants, carnivorous plants, days indistinguishable from nights, old friends, disorder, and those terrifying visionless stupors where I can't part my eyelids. Shaded sight, another dream I've been having for years and each time feels like the first and the realest and the new absolutely inescapable reality of waking life. But I don't even know what it means to be awake - in another post I wondered, along with Caruth Freud and Derrida, if we don't do our actual living as we sleep - and so how should I remain occupied, over which images do I obsess?
I'll tell you about one of my most paralyzing dreams, having started in childhood I-don't-know-when and lasted perhaps to the age of twelve or thirteen but I couldn't really say when it stopped recurring. I called it a "big dream" -- as I laid in bed I'd begin to fall asleep but would only make it halfway there. For years when the big dreams happened it seemed like I never actually slept; for all I could tell I receded only just so into the unconscious tonic, as if the thick and noxious gases of sleep only covered me up to the ears so my nose and mouth and eyes hovered just above the immateriality of REM. In this state my body floated as a plank of balsam in a lake. This gravity, somehow off-balance, stalled me in an upward lurch toward my bedroom ceiling and all along my eyes were open and so I was always sure I was seeing everything in a real time, in the material world. Only everything worked differently; all colors were some iteration of brownish red and the cadence of my inner voice slowed and expanded, a single note collecting others in anticipation of the crescendo --
As I floated a half-inch above the bedcovers my arms and legs lengthened. Each blink brought added inches, feet. To look at the end of my bed was to recognize that I didn't end for meters, that the bottoms of my feet faced the opposite end of the room that was now what seemed miles away. It always happened that I'd hold my hands to my face and, though they felt far from me they were grossly swollen and huge. Not my hands, I'd think. And always then I'd call for my mother (remember I was only half-asleep, awake enough to hate what was happening and act upon that fear) and she'd come and stand silhouetted in the doorway, the hallway light drawing a cartoonish line around her edges, and she'd ask me what the matter was. I never heard her but knew or felt she'd asked it - why else would she have come? It's the big dream again I'd tell her. She, the size of a toenail in the doorway.