THE IMPORTANCE OF WHERE; A BI-WEEKLY GLANCE AT GRAYSON RUSSELL (#8)
Installment eight of Grayson Russell’s work: “Of the Remembrance of Dreams”
Every other day or so I get a phone call from Grayson. He’s usually heading into an AA meeting or Bible study sanctioned by the outreach ministry who is providing him with housing. This recent bout of homelessness has actually placed him in a position of opportunity giving him time to write. His latest project is an interview with one of his housemates while touching on Sumter County’s homeless issue to finish off the article. Once it is published in The Sumter Item I will be sure to post it up here.
Until then, enjoy Grayson’s view of the unconscious, subconscious, and the places dreams can take you to or away from.
Of Remembrance of Dreams
Sometimes dreams, or the sleeping wreckage that buoys up to us in the night, the things we are not certain to have ever entirely lived but are betrayed by their sensation in such a way that causes us to recreate them on an almost physical plane, so that we can no longer argue whether it happened or was a dream. Our memory is the culprit, and our dreams as they are born along side of the will of what we do with our lives are made of the same fragile tissue. We use dream to border the flowers of reality, and we field reality into borders of dreams and wishes that sometimes flower and sometimes do not. The separations are clear. For we define them with both desired and undesired, but bearable fantasies, like a garden gate or a fence that delineates the boundaries of our sanity. At times it is barbed wire meant to keep the chaos out, or more, meant as the metes and limitations of what we could conceive, or rather handle on the best or worst of our days.
We dream. We journal. We disguise our journeys through the night. Then we try to break them when waking, as if this illusory and non-existent past cannot follow us into the present or the near future. That is the way that it is put. When we are dreaming there are things that happen outside of our control, and it appears to be that way all around. The difference is the concern of dreams we come upon remembering some years later as if they were a memory but remain devoid of all of memory’s pathological compulsion to inure guilt and regret, a memory that does not paint nostalgia in the way that we know it. A memory born from a dream that never happened, like the taking in of a child into your home that was not issued from your loins. A dream, that one day when you step out of the shower on a cruel or soft Monday morning the fragrance of it hits you with such a force it throws the day into question and into the work of trying to understand when you may have had this dream. A dream that now seems as full and tangible as a scar upon your hand, and the long suspicious delirium that flows into the habit of that day. Then you learn it is one of the dreams you have remembered, one of the quarter million dreams every human being faces every year of their lives, and there are but a handful that have the capacity and resilience to be the kind of dream memory will accept as real. The ancients have said that a soul left with a sleeping body fosters a journey all its own, and it is best not to wake them.
I have my old dreams, and I think my journals somewhere to disapprove the notion that a sleepless body in a wakeless state carries the validity of the soul departing from the body for such a journey. I used to wake those days and in the midst of those nights and try to paint or describe the singular walk my soul may have taken. I used to narrate the foggy absurdity of those dreams, but now I have lived one year past the life given to Jesus, and I am still four years early to my retirement as Montaigne, and by this crude calculation, I have lived twelve thousand four hundred and thirty eight and a half days. Which if I pass that over the quiet scale of Nostalgia; I will have dreamt half as much as when I was awake. I will have dreamt that and more, wanting to refurbish the clock and return some of the choices I have made. But in my hours of sleep I may have dreamt of the days before I was born, and days past from when I shall be. So my dreams and my remembrance thereof I cannot balance on the back of Time in a neat and rounded fashion. I have dreamt longer than I am supposed to live, longer than I can remember. Some twelve thousand odd days, and I have imagined at least half a million dreams, some sequestered and others abandoned; and some not thought a lot of until the force of one miraculous morning drew the dream before my mind’s eye and I could not remember or know whether it was a dream or not, but watched the wreckage break the surface and buoy toward me.
I was there. I felt the commitment. But it was nothing more than a funeral for a past or an alter life. It was a dream to border the flowers of reality I had forgotten to tend, and it was a Monday and I could not conceive that I had felt or experienced that fragrance before.
It was my soul’s journey, which I struggle as a man to remember.