13.7.06

It came to me in a dream

... must be one of the weariest tropes in our culture. I have never quite believed it myself, until Sunday night that is. Or should I say Monday morning? A friend had reminded me, serendipitously, of the due date for a certain grant application to be in. I was about to go back driving, imminently (I started that Blue Monday) and was feeling a sort of mild desperation about my prospects: what an earth could I contrive that might save me from the phantasmagoria? I had no new book to write, nothing I could legitimately ask for money to do.

During the night, while I slept, a name came to me. It loomed in my dreaming consciousness, crossing from vision to vision with enigmatic insistence. No particular narrative was associated with this name, nor did I see the person it belongs to. What there was, came down to this: Mr Oort, Master of Illusion.

Well, I love to dream and I particularly like dreaming enigmas. They are gifts that can entertain my usually scattered and fractious thoughts for a long time. When I woke, with this title and phrase intact in my mind, I began to wonder who he was and what it meant? Within a very short time, perhaps an hour or two, answers began to flow through my synapses - a first name, Jakob, a history, a mystery, a calling, a disappearance, a quest. It was an extraordinary feeling, to see, as it were without agency, this plot, or plat, constitute itself before me. The projection seemed not to require anything of me except that I witness it.

And the writing down, of course. The application I'm going to make insists that you produce a sample of the proposed work, an idiotic requirement I feel - as if with a brick you could show the house you are to build - but there we are. With equal parts anxiety and wonder, I started tapping out the first ten pages of my tale. There they are, floating like a tracery of dark threads on the blue pool of my screen. They may not earn me the grant, but I no longer care about that. There will be a way.

4 comments:

Okir said...

Just tell me that this Jakob character is not laying on his back in an oarless rowboat, staring up at the mist, and floating on estuary waters towards the ocean (from my unfinished probably never-to-be novel). My experiences with dreams and writing and the internet makes me suspicious that dreams occasionally migrate from one person to another.

Martin Edmond said...

Ha! No, Jean, my Oort is a painter manque and perhaps does not even appear in the (notional) book. They seek him here, they seek him there ...

Okir said...

whew. good. maybe I can revive my jakob later. yours sounds very interesting, though.

Martin Edmond said...

for some reason your Jakob's plot reminded me of the movie Dead Man - the boat upon the sea at the end I suppose. last night I dreamed my Jakob's daughter's name - it's Rêve ...