The Continuous Dream
Certain dreams of my nights spread out a hypnotic glow. For a long time after I awaken they stay on my retina like a neon drawing in the dark. The more I focus on the bustle of silhouettes chasing one another behind my eyes, the livelier they become. The easiest means of keeping my dreams is to awaken suddenly in the morning and pin them down, in writing, one by one, like insects caught in amber. Sometimes I get to write them down almost with my eyes closed, letting my hand transcribe mechanically what my inward glance keeps watching rapturously on the still visible paths of sleep. The more I zero in on a scene that I want to describe in its finest details, the more the other scenes sink into an impenetrable haze. That is why, as soon as my head has surfaced from the liquid of the night, I ought to proceed to a short rehearsal of everything I have dreamed, that might imprint the crucial moments on the soft wax of memory. There are much more complicated oneiric practices - they do not belong to literature, but to mysticism. Such as, for instance, intending to see my hand in a dream. I have never succeeded in this shamanic exercise, I did not know how to remember in my sleep what I wanted to do, or I did not have enough power of concentration for the purpose.
Dreams are the everyday world seen inside out. Whenever my access to the inside of this texture was denied I felt threatened. The weight of my dream images reconstructs my feeling of internal fulness. They make me more fragile and at the same time stronger. When a dream weighs down on me, on such days I become vulnerable, because I miss that bladelike glitter of intelligence that allows me to surpass reality in its speed and master it. I set off on my way into the world carrying the bastard baby of the dream I do not want to lose, swaddled in my fear or guilt. In order to avoid this state of uncertainty and dissociation I tend to move to a different spiritual level. This is the level of reality. It’s also the level of the infernal race of time. The reason is that if I tear myself away from the vital shimmering of the nocturnal spring for a longer time, I can see the ever more staggering spinning of the days. I grow slippery and I have no more point of support to stop old age. As long as I was in contact with the realm of dreams I had no fear of death. Dreams have a vibration that keeps me in a continuous present; on the other hand I felt myself getting old whenever I let myself be drawn too much to the wakened life. Intellectual activity and the exploration of dreams are the head and tail of the same life, so that I get split up when I roam along just one of the two ways. Without my nocturnal half I would amputate my soul.
Schopenhauer compares the real world to a book whose pages one turns, one by one, from first to last, and the dream world to a book that you skip through. The feeling of reality is given by the continuity of the reading, while the hallucinating impression would be due to discontinuous reading. By adding up the sequence of the dream pages, one should come up with a hallucinating representation of the world, complementary to the diurnal perception. It is as if I put on the black lenses of delirium, that make silhouettes shapeless and unsettling, turn objects soft and elongated, and make outlines wobble. It would be the world seen in its negative, under the nightmarish light of a black underground sun. But also a fairy world, for having the warm, genuine vibration of the springs of one’s soul. The spyglass of the dream is an exploration instrument of everything that disappears in the light of day. Death, for instance.
My novels (Claustrophobus, Hydra, Louise Textoris, The Ventriloquist) are an attempt to link together the oneiric images that have haunted me, in order to make up a continuous moving picture. Down this thread one could walk down into the realm of the world beyond. My dream diaries (Oneiria, Acedia), on the other hand, leave the dream pages in the untidiness in which they appeared; it may be that isolated fulgurations also have the power to light up the depths. Is it possible for me to dream a continuous dream in which reality flows from nightmare into a fairy scene, and the other way round? A diary of dreams is a permanently renewed attempt to take off from the everyday world to the world beyond, that is why its pages are bathed either in the ashen light of the quotidian , or in the splendid colours of noctambulation.
Translated from Romanian by Liliana Pop