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Midatlantic Mørketid

In winter the night sky is a starless brown-orange cloud blanket, lit from below by the lights of the city. Down on one of the rooftops, a small dish antenna is pointed up at a high angle, up at the clouds.

A joke about writing

Here’s a joke I can’t put on Twitter:

Writing a novel is such a difficult and all-consuming activity that it’s necessary to neglect everything else in your life. A tidy house, a job of any responsibility, healthy friendships – all these things take away from the book. Start by giving up those things. (This may be as far as you get.)

Illucid Dreaming

I have always been a sound sleeper, and have often had very active dreams, full of detail and nuance.

Sometimes I also have strange, non-immersive, non-narrative dream states where I’m sort of aware that I’m asleep, but I’m too busy examining words forwards and backwards to come to full consciousness. When I wake up from these states, I’m often able to bring back a newfound anagram or a recherche phrase I’m unaware of having previously known, like the time i woke up with the words “the Upanishads” foremost in mind. What were the Upanishads, I wondered? No doubt something my eyes had passed over a week ago or a decade ago.

I hesitate to mention that when I was a teenager I had a few experiences of waking dreams, where with open eyes I sat up in bed to behold a world that had been utterly changed. Touch, sight and hearing were awake to an alien landscape that I could dismiss only with great effort.

Thinking about my odd dream states, I wondered if this was what was known as lucid dreaming. I went over to Wikipedia and read about yogis training themselves to become aware that they were dreaming, and then to guide themselves consciously through their dream landscape. It sounded wonderful, and like something I probably had an ability for.

Well, this morning when I got up my wife informed me that I’d earlier been yelling loudly at the dogs to get out of the room. Yes, I know, I said. And they left!

No, she said, the dogs had been asleep in the other room.

I also had a dream this week in which I was in the custody of some malevolent organization that had the power to insert me into an alternate reality. I had no choice, they explained to me as they locked me into the pod where I would make the transition. The terrifying thing about this alternate reality was that, once inserted, I could die there. I now realize that this was my dreaming self not wishing to awaken.

So, I am not a lucid dreamer at all. Just the opposite.