Wrinkles in Words: Reconstituted Dreams
…he knew that his immediate obligation was to dream.
— Jorge Luis Borges, The Circular Ruins
The world is only as exhaustible as the will, since every mind perceives a world unto their own. Whether it’s physical exhaustion or the slow-burn of ennui, only so much can be experienced before some other mode darkens the day and casts a somber glow on the night. Dreams shatter the waking world and play games with the dark-brightness of the subconscious, allowing the will to free fall upwards, on towards the many zeniths, in every direction at once, or none of at all. Dreams don’t divide the day from night, since dreams can come at any moment, even when the will is at its nadir, especially… Only so much can be rationalized in a hyperbolic world where everything and nothing happens all the time, only so much before the mind needs to play. Even nightmares can put the vicissitudes of the day in order, through the majesty of grim disorder. Time dissolves in this placeless place and the dream often leaves nothing more than the aroma of the deep dish it was, ‘pungent and floral w/ a pinch of mid-winter.’
At first, his dreams were chaotic; then in a short while they became dialectic in nature.
— The Circular Ruins
Writing can be experienced like a dream, the way in which words build and digress, vanish and suddenly fill a page. Time ebbs and flows like a manic sea, while multitudes of possible choices die silent deaths as choices are made in the blink of the mind’s eye. In the flow, the chime never sounds at midnight and sunrise is nothing but a trick of the wary eye pretending to follow the dance of fingers upon the keyboard, a melody that would kill music if it were duplicated on a piano and broadcast to the world. The world that had broken down the person’s will is now the shattered abstraction and the writer becomes the dreamweaver, even if the greatest of those dreams will always pale at the imagined dreams of the one who dreams in the actual dreamscape. The waking world has rigid limits.
With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he understood that he also was an illusion, that someone else was dreaming him.
— The Circular Ruins
If dreams are the timeless meanderings of the mind, then life is a dream with the intruder of Time. For the wizard who dreams up a son in Borges’s, The Circular Ruins, time is nothing but the moments between dreams, the intrusion upon creation in a waking world with nothing left to offer. While this is a metaphorical death — a dream/creating existence in extremity — the dream of being able to be in the act of creating continuously is a shared one for artists. And yet, the world is also the expanse outside the door, the front or back one, that constant unfolding of concrete, steel and what lies beneath, on until the sea. Perhaps existence is a series of tilts and retreats, mundane barrages and narrow escapes into gilded cages with local brews on tap. Creation eats its own children, as surely as Time, but rather than breaking down youth into wizened wrinkles, creation breaks down the days painted over in thick experience, leaving the smudged tracers of hard-won words.