Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Dreams Of Gunshot Wounds

I don't often (ever) write about it, but at times I have a pretty spectacular dream life. I like to think it's my subconscious' way of making up for drab, everyday life - except that about one in three dreams I have are so incredibly disturbing and vivid that they linger like diesel fumes or the stench of pesticide.

Carl Jung wrote that "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order." Some people dream of loved ones, some dream of monsters - I usually dream of places. I call them "limbic spaces," because they are defined by my memories of various atmospheres in which I have lived, worked, loved, etc. and because they are transitory - not quite Salt Lake City, a few pieces of Arkansas, a recurring dream-space that appears to be a vast, dank and endless public men's room that I call the lavatoryinth.

Carl Jung

Last night, for reasons I have long learned not to look into too closely, I had a particularly vivid and intense dream, the type I have maybe once a year. In my dream, a group of friends and I were drunkenly carousing at an out-of-the-way cabin located in what I can only take to be my mind's version of Hawaii by way of Idaho. What was extraordinary about this dream was how quickly it shifted tones on me.

One moment, carousing, the next, gunfire. I know that William S. Burroughs shared both my fascination with and love of guns and a crackpot, hallucinatory inner life - he often wrote vignettes about pistols. Of course, Burroughs accidentally blew off his wife's head and had to spend many years on the run afterwards and this probably contributed to his fixation, while I suspect my interest is much more pedestrian.

William S. Burroughs
Pretty quickly, last night's splendid tropical/rural dreamscape burst into bloody chaos. Usually, when a gun is featured in a dream, it is featured in a highly symbolic fashion. Phallic symbol, symbol of power, etc. - well, in my dream the guns were very real and the results of firing them horrifyingly so as well.

I shot someone on the stairs. A random dream pedestrian was shredded partially in half by shotgun blasts. People were gunned down in quivering heaps throughout the large cabin my subconscious cooked up for my little nocturnal Tarantino-fest. The ground was slippery with gore, and even though I was dreaming I could smell the hot, explosive burned-meat smells of the carnage.

As the dream closed, I was riding high in the back of a Jeep away from the aftermath, driven by some unseen entity. We slowly tooled past a shadowy figure who was hobbling along the path, and as we pased him I tossed him the revolver I had been firing.

"Thank you," the man said quite distinctly, "But I already know how the West was won." Without a pause, the man then shot me in the head.

In my dream, I fell heavily to the road. I could feel my jaw working spasmodically and my vision went dark; sound dwindled to a low-end buzz and then ceased. I had dreamed of dying.

I woke up already feeling a little ill.

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