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A brief odyssey - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
j4
j4
A brief odyssey
I woke up very slowly today, and by the time I'd come to full consciousness I felt exhausted, as though I'd spent the night trying to tear my way through the fabric of my dreams. The bits of the dream that I remember involved sleeping with one of my colleagues; he's married, and in the dream I knew this, and as I was kissing him I could hear a kind of narrative in my head from his point of view: "I had a sordid affair with this girl at work, but it didn't mean anything..." In the dream I carried on regardless, until his kisses started choking me, and when eventually I managed to make him stop I found that my mouth was still full of some kind of nameless stuff which was still choking me, and I was spitting the stuff out, reaching into my mouth and dragging it out, but there seemed no end to it. Then I remember the radio in the bedroom in the dream (which was my bedroom at home, that is to say at my parents' house, my old single bed by the window) playing Abba's "The Winner Takes it All", and I think that was when I started waking up, because I think Wogan really did play that on Radio 2. Though I can't be sure.

I really didn't know whether or not I was still dreaming for at least the length of another song; I was lying in bed with my eyes closed, and my mind was still sure that it was in my bedroom at home, while my body could tell that it was awake and therefore I must be in my bedroom at home, the other home, that is to say in Cambridge. There didn't appear to be a contradiction here, though; I was just in two different realities at once, and the radio was playing in both of them.

Trying to disentangle myself from sleep gave me an unfortunate flashback to Saturday's episode of extreme paranoia, and the infinite dimensions of existential uncertainty -- like those of the Chinese philosopher, but with crawling, gibbering madness instead of a butterfly, and heaven knows what earthquakes that would awaken on the other side of the chaotic universe -- yawned before me for a few nightmareish seconds. I tossed and turned restlessly in an attempt to wake up, conscious that this was mirroring last night's restless tossing and turning in the pursuit of sleep, and worrying momentarily whether I would accidentally go to sleep instead of waking up. I think this was what woke me up. There's only so far you can sensibly go, really.

By the time Wogan played "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" I was fully awake, at least awake enough to appreciate the song. This boy's too young to be singing the blues, hitting the high note on "blues" that I could never sing unless I sang it all an octave lower, at which point the top note wouldn't be that awesome falsetto, it would just be somewhere around the middle of my vocal range. Instant mediocrity, in the comfort of your own living-room.

I was 20 minutes late for work as a result of picking up my newly-mended violin on the way into work. The peg-holes have been bushed, which now I come to think of it amuses me slightly because they looked pretty well all in before. It also has a new bridge, and new strings, which were long overdue as the old strings (and lack of adjusters) were damaging the old bridge (in so far as a lack of anything can damage a thing, if you see what I mean), and -- in summary, the fiddle is fixed, and fit as a cliché.

Walking along the corridor at work towards my desk, I suddenly felt as though I was back in a dream, but this time my recurring anxiety dream -- which is, unsurprisingly, about being late for work. I looked at the clocks (which gave variations on a time of about 10 to 10) and the time didn't appear to make any sense, I couldn't resolve the reading into reality. Just like in the dream. And the corridors were eerily empty, and I wondered for a moment if the whole place was going to turn out to be deserted, though in retrospect I blame Stephen King's The Langoliers, which I read relatively recently, for that fleeting fear.

Something in the emptiness also made me feel as though I was arriving late at school after a doctor's or dentist's appointment, that feeling when everybody is already in lessons and you know that at some point you will have to knock on the door of your classroom and make stumbling explanations for your lateness, backed up with a letter from your parents, but before the bubble bursts there is a wonderful feeling of solitude, of being the only moving part in a momentarily-stilled machine, and you wonder whether you could in fact just remain in the corridors of the world for ever, never emerging into the open spaces.

The feeling of school reminded me, too, of last night's orchestra practice, when something in the air -- the sense of imminent performance, I think, combined with the smell of resin and school halls -- made me think of ballet exams, and all the fidgeting and hairspray came back to me in a flurry of feelings. Memories of memories. Funny that the Associated Board music exams which were taking place at the String Gallery, where I picked up my violin this morning, didn't have any such flashback effect, despite the fact that I've taken far more music exams than ballet exams. I saw the examiner, briefly; she gave the impression of being a clarinet teacher, and probably somebody's mother as well, insofar as she gave an impression at all, for I can't remember a single detail of her face, her clothing, her hair; only an overall sense of olive-green and beige.

A parcel arrived for me at work today. It contained presents for other people, but still felt as though I was getting some kind of present myself. I like finding things, buying them, opening them, looking at them. I don't really need to own them. I'd like to be a professional beachcomber, I think. There was a man in the news a few years ago who had found over 300 pounds on the streets in odd pennies and tuppennies over the last year. You can't make a living out of it. You'd have to start "finding" bigger things. People's stereos, their cars unlocked. I wonder how long it would be before you convinced yourself that you really were just finding stuff that had been left lying around? That it was all just redistribution, ebb and flow, the tides throwing up their twisted treasures and reclaiming whatever takes their fancy in return? Wrack and ruin.

It's so dark outside.

Current Mood: waning

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Comments
From: kaet Date: November 20th, 2003 09:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Was it sarcastic Richard? (You don't have to say!)
j4 From: j4 Date: November 20th, 2003 09:47 am (UTC) (Link)
It was Cynical Richard, yeah. I don't know why; much though I like him, I don't really fancy him. I hardly even see him at work any more. I wonder what part he's playing in the drama of my subconscious. And who's responsible for the casting.
From: kaet Date: November 20th, 2003 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Oops, yes, I meant cynical. I'm worried that he seems to have some rôle in my model of your subconcious, :).
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: November 20th, 2003 09:43 am (UTC) (Link)
You write really well.

*long hug* would that you had cheerier things about which to write.
huskyteer From: huskyteer Date: November 20th, 2003 09:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Wouldn't be as good. All the best writing is about tragedy :)
huskyteer From: huskyteer Date: November 20th, 2003 09:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, wait. Except P. G. Wodehouse. And even he writes best about crises, usually involving silver cow-creamers.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 20th, 2003 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure I can do "cheery", really. At the moment I just feel melancholy, which isn't altogether a bad feeling, though neither is it altogether a good feeling. I'm trying to stay in the same place by wandering around in circles, and I'm trying to pretend the circles aren't aimless. If you see what I mean.

[State how you feel without using any of the following phrases: "Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold"; "At the still point of the turning world"; "Nothing walks with aimless feet". Do not attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once.]

Hugs and comment are both appreciated, though.
From: kaet Date: November 20th, 2003 10:08 am (UTC) (Link)
State how you feel without using any of the following phrases

To be rhetorically naive for a moment, I'd probably be a sad angsty teenager and quote Front 242:

We will stagger, we will stagger, on an on. A simple habit, shift from one foot to the other, on and on. Chained to the laws, chained to the laws. Let's go further, used to reeling, on and on. A plain reflex, if mistaken, never lose faith, steering on. We will stagger, lose our bearings, on and on. Yes, there can be no obvious answers, as we move on, on and on. We must tremble, lame and humble, on and on. Behind the stars, beneath the walls, below the ground, before the storm. Below the ground, before the storm. Chained to the laws, chained to the laws. Useless anger, there's no answer to be found. We will stagger, we will falter, stained and blackened, on and on. Chained to the laws, chained to the laws. You'd better know the laws.

I most often think of this song, and sometime even sing it, when waiting at bus-stops. It's the shifting from one foot to the other which makes me think of it, :).

From: kaet Date: November 20th, 2003 09:49 am (UTC) (Link)
There's a Project Pitchfork song I like based around the Chinese Buterfly thing. It's about a guy who after some really strange event which appears to affect the earth he keeps on dreaming that he's in a mental hospital back on old earth because he can't cope with the insecurity of the new odd world full of fantastic nonsense, or else it's the other way around, and he can never be sure.

Spoilt only slightly by their slight conflict with the English language that early on in their career when they seem to have learnt it proficiently but have not yet learnt "English is not logical". You keep on thinking, throughout that album, "yes that should be how things are, but it's not". Like "dropping bottles" for "drip bottles" and the like.

ewx From: ewx Date: November 20th, 2003 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps you should read Amaryllis Night And Day.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 21st, 2003 12:22 am (UTC) (Link)

message from claudia again!

Funny because I had a dream about Richard as well once, where I slept with him, or at least tried to - it didn't work out because he couldn't get a proper hard-on...it was all very embarrassing....on another occasion, I dreamt I slept with Steve Knight, in his bedroom while a party was going on and his girlfriend was downstairs. The surprising thing was that his body was covered with tattoos and piercings, and I remember the next day I wondered whether this was actually true! I didn't have a dream about Stewart though...or Simon although he was cute...
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 24th, 2003 06:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Dark...

And pretty dark inside, too, lovey, by the sound of things. Sounds like you have a lot of needs to choke back; and if you give way to them they'll overwhelm you...? Failing the exam of Life? Not Meeting Standards?

I know you have an antipathy to theism - because you say you have - but maybe it is time to pray, meditate, give yourself a small spiritual retreat even without believing anything at all. You can start your five-minute retreat by saying you don't believe in a God, but imagining a life as if there was one like the storybooks say: someone to just pick up all that stuff and destroy it all, forever; someone to take the load off your back. Even if it's a fantasy it's five minutes imagining being relieved.

It's not the same as feeling good, but five minutes "off" is better than not....

xx
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