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This Morning's Dream, Or What My Notes Say

I was an old woman, a very old woman. In my eighties, perhaps, and I had, at some point, inherited a squalid little flat in Boston that had been left to me by Quentin Crisp. I don't know how this had been accomplished, as Crisp died in 1999 and tended to live in squalid little flats and flop houses in Manhattan, not Boston. But there I was, and he had willed it to me, regardless. I had a very clear sense, not only from my advanced years, that this was happening decades in the future (2047ish?). The apartment was cold and dingy, but there was a fireplace (bricks glazed green) with a small fire, and I sat in a ratty armchair not far back from it. There was a party going on in the apartment, and there were very pretty boys in drag, and women with insect heads in elaborate latex and chrome dresses, and there were a few others, just people in Edwardian clothes, if Edwardian clothes were designed for a William Gibson novel.

My hands were so cold, and I sat before the fire, rubbing them together. Outside, it was snowing, and one of the boys kept shouting about the zombies, that the zombies were back again. Someone explained to me, very patiently, that the zombies were not zombies at all, but merely people who'd suffered severe brain damage during a long ago, brief fad of attempting to have one's mind uploaded to the internet or mainframe computers. I thought this very oddly funny, and when I laughed I had the unpleasant sensation that my dentures were loose.

There was Radiohead coming from an antique Victrola.

No one I now know was there, not even Spooky, and there was a terrible aloneness, despite the crowd in the flat. "This is what happens," I kept telling anyone who would listen. "You live this long, and this is what happens. It's just you."

At one point, I looked up, looked back over my shoulder, and Nar'eth was sitting on a chaise in one shadowy corner of the room, talking with one of the insect-headed women. She glanced at me, smiled, then went back to talking with the woman. This is the first time I've ever dreamt of Nar'eth when I was not actually Nar'eth. She'd not aged at all. I recall (it's in my notes) feeling two things upon seeing her: first, jealousy that she'd not aged and, secondly, relief that I was not entirely alone after all.

I was wearing velvet, and I think it was red velvet, but I'm not sure of any more than that, as regards my own clothing.

And then I was approached by one the cyberEdwardians, a man who looked just like a young Aleister Crowley, and he was carrying two hardback books. Both were quite old, and I asked him who read books anymore. There was a joke I can't recall, only that it was very funny, and the two of us laughed so loudly that other people stopped their conversations and stared at us. "Sign this one to Tesla," he said and handed me a copy of the black leather-bound edition of Frog Toes and Tentacles. So I signed it to Tesla. I didn't use a pen. Somehow, I wrote with my fingertip. My index finger. "Now," the man said, "sign this one to me," though I did not know his name. The book had a paper dust-jacket which was in bad shape and held together only with yellowed Scotch tape.

"Where did you find this old thing?" I asked (or I asked something very similar). I could hardly recall having written the book. The title on the cover was Post-Industrial Paganism (Spooky and I discussed just such a book a few nights ago). The man told me that he'd had it since it was published, and he told me how important it had been to him, that he was so glad I'd taken the time to write it. I opened the book and the copyright date was 2015, but it was copyrighted to Nar'eth ni'glecti Mericale, not to Caitlín R. Kiernan. I told him that she was here, at the party, and it would really be more appropriate if she signed it.

No, he insisted. You sign it. I want you to sign it, but I kept stalling and flipping through the pages while he talked.

I noticed a large green parrot sitting on the hearth, nibbling at a muffin.

"Isn't there the sense that American history has ended?" someone said. "What else could possibly happen?" I muttered something to myself about that being bullshit.

There was thunder and lightning and more talk of zombies, and the man who looked like Crowley told more jokes, and at some point someone brought me a neon-blue martini.

"The war can't go on forever," one of the insect-headed women said. "People won't stand for it." And I closed Post-Industrial Paganism and gave it back to the man, unsigned. And sometime right about here I woke up. My mouth was so dry I couldn't speak and had trouble swallowing. I found my notebook on the floor (Spooky had moved it from my side to a stack of books on her side, fearing I'd stumble over it in the night) and wrote down everything I could remember. This is only slightly more vivid and coherent than my dreams usually are. This evening, I've forgotten most of it, thanks to the Ambien (otherwise, I'd probably still be hazy and "dreamsick") and only have the notes to remind me. Make of it what you will. It's had me baffled all damned day.

Maybe my prayer stalker needs to pray a little harder...

Comments

( 22 comments — Have your say! )
docbrite
Sep. 27th, 2006 11:07 pm (UTC)
I just prayed that I'll be able to figure out why this dream puts me so much in mind of "La Peau Verte." Seriously, there's no obvious connection that I can see, but it has a similar atmosphere somehow.
sclerotic_rings
Sep. 27th, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
I'm honestly jealous, as my dreams are pathetically dull.
jomacmouse
Sep. 27th, 2006 11:47 pm (UTC)
Better than waking up at the wrong time and not remembering them at all...
sovay
Sep. 28th, 2006 12:21 am (UTC)
Make of it what you will. It's had me baffled all damned day.

I have no idea, but it should really turn into something.

I dreamed that I was over at the house of some friends, watching a movie set in the Edwardian period in which three sisters lived together with their brother's head preserved in a glass jar on the table. It wasn't a supernatural head; it was just there in the drawing room, drifting behind the thick glass, and I kept waiting to see if the plot would ever explain what it was doing there. Unfortunately, I woke up before the movie ended. So much for that.
oneirophrenia
Sep. 28th, 2006 12:33 am (UTC)
Cyber-Edwardians? It sounds like you stumbled into one of MY dreams! Was there a steam-powered robot and a lavender-skinned young lady wearing a black gown with a massive bustle that was actually full of stinging tentacles? If so, then welcome to my mind. :)
greygirlbeast
Sep. 28th, 2006 03:15 am (UTC)
Cyber-Edwardians? It sounds like you stumbled into one of MY dreams! Was there a steam-powered robot and a lavender-skinned young lady wearing a black gown with a massive bustle that was actually full of stinging tentacles? If so, then welcome to my mind. :)


When I was writing this all out this evening, I admit that I kept thinking of you. :-) Yet, sadly, I did not meet the lavender-skinned young lady with tentacles. More's the pity...
oneirophrenia
Sep. 28th, 2006 03:49 am (UTC)
I'm actually sketching out a very hallucinatory, China-Mieville-esque piece set in a strange, Gibsonian sort of alternate 1905 that now features that same lavender lady and a few other Lovecraftian weirdos as well...perhaps even HPL himself as a lad, shanghaied aboard a pirate dirigible hunting for the Lost City of R'Lyeh.

I've been reading a great deal of turn-of-the-century adventure/sci-fi novels by Welles, Verne, and the like lately, and naturally offsetting that with massive doses of New Weird fiction. I'm feeling like I need to trump Swainston, Mieville, even Jeff Vandermeer--which, considering how much J. K. Potter art I've been stuffing into my head lately--might actually be possible.
stardustgirl
Sep. 28th, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)
Someone explained to me, very patiently, that the zombies were not zombies at all, but merely people who'd suffered severe brain damage during a long ago, brief fad of attempting to have one's mind uploaded to the internet or mainframe computers.

I laughed aloud at reading that and startled Robin. I could see that happening.

tactileson
Sep. 28th, 2006 03:22 am (UTC)
Wow. Really amazing dream. It seems so realistic when told by you, it really would be a shame if it never turned into anything. I'd love to read some further elaboration of it, it seems to me like it could be some wild science fiction undertaking.

Also, as an aside, I remember someone mentioning the band Marillion on the old Phorum, and I can't recall if you ever said you liked them. But I have a great concert by their singer that he gave a few months back solo, just him and piano, and if you're inerested I'd put it up online for you.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 28th, 2006 03:23 pm (UTC)
Also, as an aside, I remember someone mentioning the band Marillion on the old Phorum, and I can't recall if you ever said you liked them. But I have a great concert by their singer that he gave a few months back solo, just him and piano, and if you're inerested I'd put it up online for you.

I've not heard them. If putting it online isn't too much trouble, I'd like to.
tactileson
Sep. 28th, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC)
No problem at all. It's a good concert, he does Marillion songs, as well as some covers (his version of Bowie's "Life on Mars" is always amazing) Most woman I know fall in love with his voice, so hopefully it'll be the same for you.

It's a fairly large show, about two hours, so I have it in two zip files that I'm uploading now to my site and I'll send you the links via email; you're still using the gmail account right?

greygirlbeast
Sep. 28th, 2006 04:45 pm (UTC)
you're still using the gmail account right?

Yep. Thanks!
mb2u
Sep. 28th, 2006 03:25 am (UTC)
At least you remember your dreams. I never do.
__hecate__
Sep. 28th, 2006 09:37 am (UTC)
"The title on the cover was Post-Industrial Paganism (Spooky and I discussed just such a book a few nights ago). "
And what did you conclude?
It sound's like you're hesitant about writing it, but you probably should.
But that's just my fussy opinion!

"And then I was approached by one the cyberEdwardians, a man who looked just like a young Aleister Crowley"
Isn't there an uncanny resemblance to a young Jimmy Page?
greygirlbeast
Sep. 28th, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
And what did you conclude?

Well, I'm off the opinion that far too many books are being published on NeoPaganism and witchcraft. And most of them are trash. I've no wish to add to the flood. And I've years yet to go before I'd think myself knowledgeable enough to even attempt such a book (I don't think ignorance stops a lot of people). I sort of hope someone beats me to it, but I have these notes that keep piling up. We shall see.

Isn't there an uncanny resemblance to a young Jimmy Page?

Hmmm. Now that you mention it.
cause_catyljan
Sep. 28th, 2006 02:18 pm (UTC)
Part of me hopes that this dream was prophetic. I'm keen to live in an era of Cyber-Edwardians, Zombies and a world where Nar'eth is publishing under her own name and you're still around. Maybe there is some hope for tomorrow...
greygirlbeast
Sep. 28th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
a world where Nar'eth is publishing under her own name

She keeps making threats along those lines...
cause_catyljan
Sep. 28th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC)
Well Nebari literature is greatly overlooked in these parts...
stsisyphus
Sep. 28th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
Cyber-Edwardians, dragged-up pretty boys, and insect girls in latex?
I'm flattered that you bothered to come back to us at all.

I didn't use a pen. Somehow, I wrote with my fingertip. My index finger.

And a convenient prosthetic hand with fountain pen modification. I know the nightmares must be freaking awful, but these more fanciful dreams are enthralling. I think it might translate better as a short film, possibly rotoscoped or animated using some subtle drawing style. A short comic book might not be bad either.

I'll shut up now.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 28th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC)
I'm flattered that you bothered to come back to us at all.

Thing is, I'm morbidly afraid of old age. And that aspect of the dream (as well as others), was very unpleasant, the sense of being trapped inside that spent body. Especially, the coldness and ache in my hands, and the thinness and frailness of my hands. I'm not sure it's one of the places I've been that I'b have chosen to remain (though I may be headed there regardless).

A short comic book might not be bad either.

Hmmmmm...

stsisyphus
Sep. 28th, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
A short comic book might not be bad either.

Hmmmmm...

I'd kind of like to see one of your short story collections include a short graphic-narrative work, although the logistical details might be troublesome for your publishers. Maybe something for Sirenia?
greygirlbeast
Sep. 28th, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
Maybe something for Sirenia?

Cost would probably be prohibitive. That is, paying the artist. But maybe a subpress chapbook.
( 22 comments — Have your say! )