Primarily a writing exercise, this dream journal-inspired blog is a quiet introspective sojourn into the process that we traverse in going from private dream to public art. I see our dreaming as an internalized mythmaking. As I philosophize and expressively exhibit dreams, both private and public, I encourage and delight in creative language as a way to practice experiential metaphors through a “public dreaming." Writing Theory: Creative Dream Fiction

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Anaïs Nin and the Secret Self: From Blindness to the Mountaintop

Henry Miller

In the last few years one sees quite a few either writings about you or quotations from you about dreams and the dream life and I feel that they haven't really understood what you mean about this. I don't think you want people to be living in a dream state while conscious, do you?

Anaïs Nin



But you mean that dream has its uses, its effectiveness in life afterwards.


No, I meant something else, I meant that what we could arrive at a state where what we dream at night would be the blueprint for what we wish to fulfill, or to reach, and if we understand the dream then we know what the secret self is and then this secret self we can fulfill.

Anaïs Nin, whose literary renown is most prolifically exampled in her posthumously published diary writing, is also respected and admired for her role in encouraging and stimulating the work of Henry Miller. Her opening preface to the Tropic of Cancer, Miller's first book, is one of the most incisively written dedications to the literary spirit that I have ever read. Her quotations on dream, are poignant in their truth and magical in their realism, vibrant in their imagination and open in their accessibility. 

Similarly as with Carl Jung, both Nin and Miller drew liberally from interpretations between Western psychoanalysis and the traditional religious learning, thought and practice of Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist cultures. As highly creative minds, who lived richly balanced in heart and mind, stood for a conscientious human being, who through developing thorough self-awareness comes naturally to be a part of compassionate change in the creative universe. 

“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living,” said Nin, in a comment that affirms the dream psychology of Jung, who considered the dream life, or the life of the imagination, of the mind and of creativity as more real, meaning a more direct form, or manifestation, of experience, than the life lived through the senses. Thus, Nin determines, “Dreams are necessary to life.” 

Indeed, Nin would press ever on into conceiving the dream life as integral to meaning, to holism and self-truth. She asserts, “Our life is composed greatly from dreams, from the unconscious, and they must be brought into connection with action. They must be woven together.” Further, one might add that when woven together, the dreamer, as artist-visionary-thinker-writer, becomes the seer, as in the mystic of unmediated experience, of eternal unity in the present, of enlightenment in non-being. 

Eventually, dreams are life, as life is certainly made of dream, and that we are the substance of dream, as the subtle nature of perception, meaning, truth and self-knowing. In reaching the transformation of necessity to becoming, in the paradigm shift of dream action fulfilled in daily living, is for Nin, a miraculous occurrence, likened to the rare and precious goal of enlightenment. She reminds, “The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.”
Night in the forest, like soot and anger, under a flattening sky. I fell from Paradise into History in the moment of a sting, the lunging insect-antennae, electric, lunged into my paranoid flesh. Hooked under the stark and opaque canopy, obscuring starlight into the bitter and directionless flood of need, anxiety and hope. I sprang from the petrified mud to the swaying vegetable maw of a blind quake, a wild charge.

Georges Lacombe, La forêt au sol rouge
Extinction moved in the sad, ghastly wave of moonlight over frostbitten leaves. Bone-white spears upended my eyes, as I dodged a full-grown bull. Adrenaline-shocked, I sped, scanning the immobile trunks, weighing the Earth down with inhuman strength. And the soil broke in a jarring flash of bestial rage, as another bull, of sturdy, muscular build, spun me around, my heart waning of life.

Bull's head, painting by Johann Heinrich Baumann
I tore through the endless nothing. Then, one bull split my body from the waist up the gut. Marching on my hands, stomping and cracking bone with its merciless strength, adrenaline rushed and spilled out into the open air as I climbed back to my feet, nearly wasted by the crushing jeer. Countless bulls encircled, as I fled, bleeding, the pain yet to reach my brain, grabbing for low-hanging anything, my stomach burning, my feet turning to knee-splitting daggers and brain-flushing mush.

Animals in a Landscape (aka Painting with Bulls) by Franz Marc
Pit against an escalating fever and white with near-mortalizing blood loss, I fainted under the powerless impression of my death, only steps from the forest edge, still besieged under the sightless underground forest of the human Earth. A single house stood at the edge of a rock face, and I was carried to its door. From a window fogged with subzero condensation, I could make out the moonlit peak, and with every second that my mind ascended, my body shrank with fear, and I gasped for each breath as my last.

Mountain Peak with Drifting Clouds by Caspar David Friedrich
Staring at the summit, and then was enshrouded by cloud-cover, my eyes closed, I stole beyond the body, and time, beyond death and need, beyond blood and truth, beyond the waves of human flesh that rode on this belligerent tidal sway of hope and tragedy, to summit the Everest flight of dream, and survive through this tyrannical flood of mortal reality.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Create You: Fearless Artistry and Creative Identity

"I began to dream heavily, violently, every night, and then I learned how to wake up…" 

"Consciously or unconsciously, all writers employ the dream, even when they’re not surrealists. The waking mind, you see, is the least serviceable in the arts. In the process of writing one is struggling to bring out what is unknown to himself. To put down merely what one is conscious of means nothing, really, gets one nowhere." 

Creation is life. More, the incipience of creation is the life of the creator. The life of the artist is bound to their creation, in the same way that a mammal survives on each breath of fresh air. As long as the air is fresh, the artist will continue to create, and as long as the authentic substance of heart issues from the core of the artist's own vision, the arist-seer will align and harmonize with all of creation. 

To forego a path without heart is acceptable. The great mystical physicist of our age, Fritjof Capra, began his famed text, The Tao of Physics, with that realization. Yet, on the path of heart, a different narrative runs its course. To remain true to oneself is to hold fast to the consciousness of one's life source as not merely the beginning precepts of one's physical subsistence, but of the visionary path onto which one is led through to the heights of meaning and becoming. 

The proud artists will realize their vision in the instant of a moment, at simply being the processional experience of creation, the ever-beating heart of co-unity with individuality and universality on Earth. To not over-think is the key to strengthen the creative momentum, reminds Henry Miller, the American author with a self-professed Chinese ascetic's nature. 

So, in holding fast, the artist and author of self-creation, is near-shattered, sensitized by the flood of the fleeting that files down the materialism and consumerism of an all-pervasive cultural fear, to belittle the uncultivated mind to ignorant non-being and blind negativity. In this way, the inner sanctum from where the creativity of an artist is strengthened by the water-like ability to be vulnerable, naked, raw and emotive in a full and unbridled formless truth. 

To all artists, and to the Self, I call on you to be strong, and to claim the ideas and visions and dreams in your mind and heart and being as you would claim your rightful place on Earth. For that creativity, and the perfect imagination of its fruition in your life, is your truth, your heart, your mind, your being, your soul, your foundation, your meaning, and all your own, it is you, your nature, your life, all yours, be it and be proud. 

Everyone, as with one mind and one heart, is capable of becoming sensitive to the expression of your truth as an unheard knowledge that only you possess and that is invaluable, necessary in its tragedy, absolute in its humour, refined in its judgment, authoritative in its experience, wild in its reason, cautious in its aspiring, and pure in its love. Create you. 
Around this circle danced the flame of eternity. In the green spark licked the tongue of heaven. Spring in the Jungle bloomed with effervescent majesty among the ruined foundations of another remote, human wasteland paradise. The veils of fame and belonging passed like a soothing tide, recoiling in the abyss of oceanic depth. We smoked the herb of forgetfulness, harmony and love. 

Ernst Haeckel's 1905 Wanderbilder (Travel Pictures)
The smoke coiled around our lazing necks, floundering amid the slow-moving river, her brown body motioned like a heavy emotion. One among us, an artist of metal and flowers spoke up as paper and marijuana stung our eyes, blinded by the greedy moment, a fleeting light. "Native community leaders announced their wish to use our space. They will hold facilitations, meetings and workshops on the militarization of the Indian people; their War." 

Coolies on the Road near Kalicut, Malabar by Edward Lear
A shade lifted and a heaviness shrank as our hearts wept and our minds faltered along the brink. She, the speaker, high as the azure, fled to the banks, to swim and cleanse in thoughtful reflection. She swung on a low-hanging vine, falling into the naked river, dressed still in paltry coverings, now a resident of the Amazon for well over a decade. Her eyes spoke of what her tongue could not shake. 

Young hunter by Ferdinand Keller
They arrived, and we vacated the area, as a show of respect. And one day, on the top floor, whereon we store our arts, with wood canvases lain and strewn, I saw her. She was not Native. She was a woman of the Old Country. Her heart was cold as a perennial shadow. Her moonlit face eyed me with an inhuman glare, and her blood then boiled, raising her hair, intoning a voice as harsh and ghastly as the screaming bite of a bullet ant. 

14 abril by Yolanda Palomo del Castillo
I ran. And then falling with desperation in the rushing river, we were swept along. In the instant of our near-death, she lunged towards my angular body, stretched out above the surface, in full display of my superior experience on these riverine lands. I watched as the infamous cult leader, impostor of the Cocama ethnic struggle was buried in the open jaw of the current, as her bones cracked in the turbulent stream. Awash, I lay at the edge of reason. 

Giant tree in Brazil's tropical forest by Johann Moritz Rugendas
Then, I saw the body. The tattooed flesh, gouged and lacerated. Two arrows pierced the man's underside, widening a deep, mortal wound. With bowels distended, his blood having since let almost completely of his sunken frame, I cried, lowered to the wet jungle floor, bleary-eyed. Not only had his own turned on him, but the man also suffered bullets. Scarred and mutilated, his body is the story of his people, dead to the world, brutalized and beaten down by the perpetrators of human trust, by invaders and blood alike. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

Rebuilding the Unconscious: National Reconciliation and Personal Poverty

"What was in the unconscious, by talking about it, was brought into the conscious mind, and since the conscious mind, Dr. King's already won, the behaviour changes. Wait a minute, what's that mean? Wait a minute, what's that mean? That means that we may be closer to Dr. King's dream than we fear, but we got to keep talking. We've got to keep talking, even when it's uncomfortable." 

"Today, the American Dream is under threat. Our veterans are coming home to few jobs and little hope on the home front. Our young people are graduating off a cliff, burdened by heavy debt, into the worst job market in half a century. The big banks that American taxpayers bailed out won’t cut homeowners a break. Our firefighters, nurses, cops, and teachers – America’s everyday heroes – are being thrown out onto the street." From the Rebuild the Dream Contract 

Van Jones

Usually, this space features original writing, mostly essays, articles, and creative pieces published across the globe, a repository of works featured online. Such original writing usually comes after referencing relevant quotes from the luminaries of the age, those who spoke and clarified humanist dream-thinking beyond conceptual idealism to the pragmatism of imaginative vision and achievable action. Yet, in light of the exceptional words of Van Jones, noted public intellectual on green economics and social justice, a project on the American Dream, and the War on Poverty, a non-fiction work entitled, The American Nightmare: Deconstructing the War on Poverty that I had been working on for on average 6-10 hours daily over a span of three weeks has been suspended due to negligent correspondence. 

The suspension of the work has led me to seriously question my place in the Struggle. I have reflected earnestly and steadfastly into the bitter and stubborn recesses of my young mind, to uncover and explore the history that has led me to my current state, profession, and living circumstances. Not only has the suspension irked me personally, it has led to a seemingly irreparable disintegration of my professional development, as I have been led to question the very foundation of my primary income-earning as a freelance writer. Simply, I accepted a job to write a major work on poverty, which truthfully, paid so little, and asked so much of my time, that it may as well have led me into poverty. 

Added to the initial fact, while I did the work out of curiosity and an impetus to serve a greater work ethic in the name of fulfilling a position asked of me, the suspended correspondence between myself and the publishing agency has caused unmentionable anxiety. The topic on poverty in the United States, and government programming intended to reduce and eradicate poverty had led me to very interesting conclusions on the nature of governance and civil progress in the American context. The freelance job that I had taken to produce 215 pages of carefully written and closely studied work on the subject was truly an exhilarating and inspiring process. 

However, the process as a whole, and the empty-handed result thus far, has left me with an enduring impression with regard to the nature of work, one that, honestly, compels me to complete exasperation. Was it vain pride at the chance of writing a book, and being paid for such work? Or, the overall scheme of my life that has led to this point of personal and professional denigration in the name of accomplishment, work and independence? 

The work of SoJourn(al), this space, is essentially one where the process of a young life, and its manifestation of dreams, come to fruit through perennial dedication to the passions of independence (i.e. self-employment) and creativity (i.e. resourcefulness). After completing the original sound-art works relative to the Sketches of Style collection, I intend to break from uploading more original content here, to recollect and compile all of the works that support the overall intent, create a master publication (i.e. in the form of self-published collected original materials, such as dream fiction and essays on the narrative subconscious), and begin a new page on a new project.     

For now, more music reviews from BeatRoute are forthcoming… 
There was a sheen of golden sand on the top of the butte, where I sat, immersed in the Valley of the Gods. And as I opened my eyes, the sand sparked, as an invisible flame rose to greet the monumental sun. Tears cracked the thirsting rock as I held in my arms the newborn drum. Taut calf-skinned and maple-encircled instrument of spirit, it moved, as inside me, with a petrified grace. 

Mount Desert Island, Maine, by Jervis McEntee
Not alone, yet from the clouds above, heavy with a sad rain, pregnant with the forecast of solitude, I remained silent, a silhouette of the drunk Earth, whose lines disappear and merge with the clear and lucid landscape horizon. Then, there were others behind me. With hands held at their sides, solemn. We awaited the grace of the Royal Native footstep, a rush of patient anxiety, the air true and sound of our hearts' own unhindered regularity.

"Prayer in the Desert" by Jean-Léon Gérôme
Then, as with the march of an oncoming storm, they strode in dancing. Their flat footwear dusting the tops of the sky, elegant with strength. Their movements sure and ancient, greeting the naked stone with the trust of an artist's hand, as the land's own song cried and intoned the sacred. And all then overcame the one great Fear of Death, displaced by the Beauty of Truth. Their songs spoke of Love, Peace and Unity. Then a rain flattened our wild hair, and we cried in unison for the end of a loud and gross age.

"Early in Day in Desert Quiet" by Mary Agnes Yerkes
I began to beat my skin, summoning the gravel and the hail, I floated on a subtle ecstasy, my own song, for them, for here, for us. The drum cracked and moaned, and my heart opened with a newfound longing. The rhythms of the Earth called forth the Witness. Of sight and mind, I broke fast on the holy mount, within the inner sanctum of my own restrained and haunted psyche. Liberated, I stood, bowed with respect to the territorial spirits in whose name I intoned the first breath of song. 

Lions in the Desert by Henry Ossawa Tanner
We left the butte alone, as it had been for aeons. The Valley of the Gods lay silent and waiting behind our upraised eyes, sharing in the unsayable fate of humankind. 
Thelonious Monk, the great American composer...

Monday, 2 December 2013

Ecological Storytelling: Dream, Hallucination and Vision

"I think it's easier than to formulate high ideals, but a few things are more difficult, and to discover the means whereby those ideals may be implemented one has to dream but one has to dream in a pragmatic way" Aldous Huxley, in Hoffman's Potion

Do I hear a tinge of surf rock here and a splash of psychedelic vocals there? And all wrapped up in a damn fine beat! The new Ketamines 7” So Hot! opens with its killer two-and-a-half minute title track. Resistance vibes ebb and flow as they bray and stomp through lyrics held down by the kind of upbeat clutch that makes this Toronto group well worth a listen, if not a full-fledged tracking down.

Released this October, the band’s three-track album buzzes under the genres of punk, garage and power-pop. Spacey breakdowns mood out these catchy and tight musical explorations with extra-hot reverberating guitar riffs smoothed out over ambient and effectively eerie vocals. “New Skull Tattoo,” the second cut on the album, begins with a daze of light-hearted, fifties-era doo-wop rhythms fused together into punk lyricisms.

The Ketamines provide a riot of trickster stylings, as the lyrics carry us through into a stupendous poetic irony. Final track, “Summer Mothers,” sounds off a dream-pop show with the power of good feelings, impressing the listener with a kind of end-of-concert bittersweet rush that takes no prisoners. It reminds us that when the summer or the year ends and all is lost, we should just hold fast to the driving beat and we’ll all be okay.

All in all, each and every song on this new 7” is good listening. Even multiple listens later the songs groove pulse more and more in the veins. Straight to the head, this one’s a gem.

This piece of interpretive writing was published with BeatRoute magazine on November 3, and conceived under the influence of soundscapes by Canadian psychedelic music band, KETAMINES
The Union Street Y faces the Puerto Rican cafe where I used to sit over a microwaved chocolate chip muffin and hot chocolate, eyeing the clock, readying myself for Hebrew school. The elaborate turnstile reminiscences of the red-bricked Y invited with the flushing scent of chlorinated memory and the erased lunch-hour sweat of youth. There, a mere two jaunt to the fish-gut factory ocean, I spoke to children. Fascinated by the swung heart of musical storytelling, the night awaited patiently, as the fat bosom of American daytime on the human Earth struggled to a peaceful end. 

Lesser Ury: Café Bauer
A story of Massasoit and the unvanquished heads of Massachusetts flesh, spell out the old paradigm loosed from vocal chords, taut with knife-edge reason on a silent beach. Their indiscriminate wisdom emerges from white-skinned pride, to destroy the vainglorious ruse of ego and fate. Mortality ensued in the fading light, as speech lightened the animate Earth with a name, and its meaning. The soil spoke with a tongue of roots, with teeth of stone and and words of food. Saying: where the story is told is equally or more important to the telling. 

A Northern Lake by Unknown
Flown beyond the wellspring of distant knowledge, exotic in its geography, sacred in its ecology, and born of a feverish need in its cartographic attemptation, a single mountain rose as a breach of faith on the plain horizon. Monumental airs shifted and sprang from the glowering mass of insurmountable ice. Formed as from a frozen volcanic fire, the ice lifted with evaporating death, as the cold grip of lifelessness in nonbeing. The frozen hell still beckoned forward the unanswered mystery of longing, as the natural light waned atop its insuperable caracas, a skull of monastic belonging. 

Mer de Glace, in the Valley of Chamouni, Switzerland by J.M.W. Turner
I stepped forward, onto the slippery fall of the sky's over-hastened drop to Earth, as the violated inherent reason of nature, unearthed. The pool fragranced wisps of spiritual air, the will of the unmoving background to all life on Earth, revealed in the deadening cold. As the stone ascended to its paternal source above, each step closer frustrated the nervous system with defeat, failure, and the fatal swoon of all human belonging. The release of the spirit, awake. 

Harlem Valley, Winter by Ernest Lawson
Captured under the fault of a boot, I risked a greeting at the hand of death's blizzard smoke, the craving and seductive flaw of its embrace. Unable to get back afoot, I peered through the ice to see the reigning female of human law. The Queen shone glinting the fixing light, fleeting, yet absorbed needfully. With a hand mobilized by the insane truths of modern life, I sunk below the ice, to finger the freezing metal, and to possess its deathless strength. Ascendance moved to transcendence. The impossible summit slunk beneath my loins, hidden in hoarding pockets and disguised on lusting hands. 

Queen of Coins (Diamonds) from the Visconti tarot deck by Bonifacio Bembo
The line at the cinema began to move. I paid, and saw the unseen. I paid, and mounted the insurmountable. I paid, and lived the unliveable. I paid, and knew the unknown. I paid, and heard the unheard. I paid, and paid the unpaid. And I paid, and paid to pay for the priceless. I paid to pay for the invaluable. I called home the unreachable. I vanished in the light. I stole out on the intractable ice. I rose my shoulders above the limits of atmospheric pressure. I called out above the thinnest trace of oxygenated air the name of the unnameable: I.