Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Mysterious Dream with Christmas Coming On

Last night my sleep was interrupted by the abrupt delivery of a letter to my door. I was shaken to be awakened and knew it had to be bad news. But, it turns out it was a letter from someone I had hoped to hear from. And in the letter this person said everything I was hoping to know. I re-read it carefully. Analytically. That's when it dawned on me that it all sounds like something I would say. And it was in that moment I awoke from the dream to realize I had only been writing to myself in my sleep.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


It's funny - about that sound. Well, not funny...some other word I can't seem to find right now. It was the sound that woke me from a dream I was having. I was staring at the hole in the front door. A hole I had forgotten was there. A hole shaped like someone I knew. Thats when the sound caused me to sit up in the bed in a cold sweat gasping. It was a wet, watery, dull - but, heavy thud - the sound of my heart hitting the floor.

Friday, December 13, 2013



Thursday, December 12, 2013


Laying out the pieces of the dream, I wonder what fell through the crack? What happened after you went out? Was the room really spinning? After I waited, After she came in, Was it just the bed that was going Around and around? Why did I climb out the window? Who was it, coming up the stairs? And then, The man at the podium, His irrational smile. He doesn't see me, He's talking to an empty room. Something invisible Was going on. I remember, There was dirt in one of my shoes. From a cave.... I dumped it on the table.... Around the candles.... Was that some part Of the ceremony?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Plague of Dreams Re-visited.

I suppose I consider myself to be a person of average intelligence. And, for the most part 'stable'. This is not to say that I've never had any 'What was I thinking?!' kinds of moments. I have had plenty of such, especially in social situations where I have impulsively blurted out some comment I wish I hadn't, and which typically got me into hot water of one kind or another. To tell you the truth, I am quite inept in social discourse. I say all this in preface as an explanation perhaps, for how it was I wound up at a small obscure university in Nova Scotia immersed in academic activity that increasingly removed me from the contemporary reality in which I performed so poorly. Who, in their right mind would spend endless hours poring over hand-written medieval manuscripts in search of font aberrations or eccentricities in scribal penmanship? But, it was my destiny it seems, to toil away in a library of forgotten texts, becoming more and more like a monastic scribe myself, cloistered away in some labyrinthian tower of ancient papers written by people long since turned to dust. It was as though I was a spy peering in on ancient history like a cryptographer decoding the subliminal and possibly sinister intent of a sentence that makes no sense today. I actually became quite adept at discerning the subtleties that took place in the evolution of hand-written manuscripts prior to the invention of the printing press. And while I did publish several notable discourses on the shift from Textura to Angelia cursive script styles in the early to mid 14th century, I was finding myself increasingly unable to have normal conversation with my contemporaries. One cannot hope to attend a faculty cocktail party and find an audience when bringing up the subject of the evolution of the way a medieval pen was cut as it comes to bear upon the individual stylings of 15th century scribes, when they would just as soon contemplate the weather, or how to get into their graduate student's pants. I was increasingly lost in a world of matters that mattered to no one. In case you are interested (though likely you are not..), it is quite clear that the artful scribe of the medieval period had little room for creative interpretation. His art was that of copying in the most minute and precise way, the important manuscripts of the day. No re-phrasing. No poetic license. No interpretation. His task was to create a hand-penned duplicate or clone of the original work. In the best exemplars of this exactness, it is virtually impossible to denote any difference at all between an original manuscript and its copy. Thus the evolution of the scribe's pen, and the emergence of Mixed Hand script in the 15th century was quite significant. It is here we see some expression of individuality emerge. Texts reproduced in Mixed Hand at first appeared to be an individually styled rendering of the (post-Angelia) Secretary script by an occasional scribe who got carried away in brief moments of self-expression. A Bastard Secretary script, if you will. But, as later history will confirm, such experiments with lines, letters, inked flourishes ascending or descending beyond the line, and so on, had some impact on the first fonts to be applied in the emergence of the printing press. While teaching a graduate course on codicology and paleography, I was poring over term papers written by my students. It is a tedious thing to go over these pages of redundancy as a rule. I was perhaps half-asleep in my easy chair and sipping an apple brandy when I came to the paper of one Meredith Merriweather, one of my favorite students among the 75 or so faceless nameless bodies that occupied the seats of my lecture hall. And it was as I got about three pages into her work, that I came across her most startling finding. She had identified a few passages in a lengthy and boring late 14th century accountant's document inventorying the cargo holdings of a vessel owned by an early Genoese shipping company, that made my hair stand on end. Miss Merriweather stated she had chosen this manuscript despite its lengthy and tedious accounting of the ship's holdings, simply because there was no record that any scholar to date had taken the time to peruse such boring detail. In these passages it bcame clear to Miss Merriweather that the unknown scribe had slipped into some cryptomnesiac state describing an event he could not have actually experienced, but which was written as though he had. He describes with exacting detail the stunning beauty of a woman named Alatiel, daughter of a sultan of Babylon. We know very little about Alatiel other than Boccacio's passing mention of her in The Decameron. But we do know, that while sailing away to escape the plague of the Black Death she was shipwrecked on the island of Majorca and held there by Christian captors. And there is evidence she went to great lengths to conceal her identity during that time. The scribe went on to recount conversations he had supposedly had with Alatiel, and in one instance quotes her as having said: "The blue-eyed scorpions have tainted the well, thus casting a spell on all who would drink thereof. And it is their fate to stagger henceforth through dream upon dream of love." While we do know that Alatiel was known to have had promiscuous, even licentious affairs with many men, orgies, if you will, there has never to my knowledge been an accounting of her ways in her own words. Miss Merriweather's discovery is noteworthy on several accounts. Cryptomnesia in the form of automatic writing as evidenced in the scribe's account was not even conceptually identified until the emergence of such scholars of the unconscious as Freud and Jung. In fact, it was Carl Jung who first pointed to its existence in the writings of Nietzsche. Secondly, while mass hysteria in the medieval period has been noted in numerous ways, Alatiel's words are perhaps the first reference to hysteria as being founded in the world of dreams. Clearly her cryptic poem suggests a conscious rationalization for her sexually wanton behavior as having had something to do with 'the water' as a symbolic catalyst unleashing repressed desires. In this, Alatiel prefigures the discoveries of Freud and Jung regarding the role of the unconscious, by centuries. As a footnote, I am happy to say that Miss Merriweather went on to become a foremost scholar on the role of dreams and the unconscious as evidenced in medieval instances of mass hysteria. And, I by association, gained some notoriety for having discovered her. I also went on to three years of Jungian analysis in an effort to understand myself and subsequently regained a foothold on contemporary reality again, and later even married Miss Merriweather.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lonesome Love

Caleb Crowley was a rare soul, no doubt. He seemed to know from the beginning what he wanted to do in life. He never entertained that question of what best to do. He was a born actor. A master of improvisation. But Caleb would be the first to tell you that his art would never have been realized and expressed, if not for Alison Morrissey. She was, hands down, the one playwright and director who could bring out every nuance of his dramatic art. She defined him over and over, and in the most astonishing ways at times. It was a magical coupling from the first moment of their meeting one night long ago. And from that moment on, he performed exclusively her wildest imaginings.

Most of the performances that Caleb Crowley and Alison Morrissey pulled off were in the dead of night. It seemed she was at her best then, and so was he. Caleb lived for these times with her. He cherished every meeting, and came to her like an amorphous lump of clay to be shaped by her brilliant mind. And she seemed always able to cast him into a character and role that invariably was unique and unexpected. She could bring forth in him ways of acting, of being, that he could never have anticipated or imagined. And they both seemed to feed on this reciprocal fulcrum of their respective souls. They seemed to fan in each other some extraordinary fire. Some shared divine madness. Some folly a deux.

And yet, Alison Crowley was quite the recluse. She seemed to have an uncanny knack for coming and going unobserved. Not an easy thing for one living in a tony neighborhood in mid-town Manhattan. Caleb was even more of a phantom, it seems. No one claimed to know him. Yet people talked about the two of them all the time.

Caleb always came to Alison seemingly fearless of how she might cast him. He had some inner confidence he could be whatever she proposed. She would cast him as her lover now and then. Each time was different, but he always seemed to know the way she needed to be held. He knew her perhaps better than she knew herself. What to say, what to do, came as instinctively as a knee jerk to the thump of a doctor's mallet. He never questioned the roles she envisioned for him, he just carried them out flawlessly. Even when she needed him to be cruel. A beast. He seemed capable of being a stranger one night, even though they had been lovers the night before.

Somehow it seemed inevitable that when Alison Morrisey met her untimely accident, Caleb would die too. It was more than fitting. It was an inevitability. Caleb had never lived without her. He had existed only because of her imaginings. Her dreams. Caleb was nothing more than the invention of Alison Morrisey's mind as she lay night after night lost to sleep. And in the moment of that fatal accident on some nameless corner of the city where she lay dying, Caleb was there hiding inside her, holding her, and dying with her.