Sunday, 23 September 2007

Landscapes of the mind (or summat)

It'll be interesting (to me at least) to see if I can manage to explain this without getting myself wrapped up in knots, or leaving myself sounding like I need to take a very long lie down in a darkened room. I'm not at all satisfied with how I've written this but I'm posting it all the same.

So, this is all about dreams and real life. About what goes on in my head sometimes, and finding some vivid connections with the outside world. I'll try and tell you what I mean.

My dreams (when I have them) have tended to be very strong visually, and also in terms of having quite a clearly defined sense of place: or to be more accurate, being descriptive of a certain kind of space. So much so that I often get a sense of what I assume might be described as deja vu, say when I enter a room or building, or external space for the first time. I'm definitely not saying it is deja vu though, I'm just trying to put across how strongly evocative the feeling is.

I remember three particular dreams from childhood, and when I recall one of them I always recall the other two. They're primarily visual, and full of a very loaded kind of atmosphere that is difficult to describe, so I know damn well I'll never do them justice with words. In fact, I've done drawing after drawing and painting after painting trying to capture the atmosphere of two of them in different ways (I've not gone as far as the guy in Close Encounters, I've never tried to sculpt them out of mashed potato).

Still, I'll give a very basic, cursory explanation of them. The first one was of a long road, slightly curved, and stretching into the distance in either direction. It was wide enough for a central reservation, on which I and a few other people stood. On the reservation was a curious structure, almost like scaffolding, with a couple of platforms on it. It was a beautiful late evening in summer, and everyone was in silhouette against the deep golden glow of what seemed like an eternal sunset. The atmosphere seemed to be one of timelessness - the road stretching on forever, the evening not getting any later. A sense of stillness prevailed, although there was constant flux due to cars passing and heading into the distance: this distance, what lay over the horizon, seemed mysterious and tantalizing.

The second dream revisited this from a slightly different perspective - that of me looking upon the scene more as an observer rather than a participant. The two were intricately linked though.

Aged 18 I was doing a lot of photography and stumbled, one summer evening, across a dual carriageway stretching through the countryside near home. Here was that startling effect then, since it immediately linked me with the atmosphere and space of that first dream. The late evening light, the strangely complementary feelings of stillness and motion. I stood there for ages, no doubt looking a bit odd since I remained there on the central reservation for a good while, trying to take in this huge sense of resonance.

A couple of weeks later I was out taking photographs again, and had a friend in tow. I was telling him about all this (and he was wondering what the hell I was on about), and in my enthusiasm I took him to where it had struck me as I just described. As I stood there prattling on, I suddenly felt the same strong connection to the second dream, since here I was acting more as an observer, and from a slightly different angle. Not that I told my mate about this, he thought I was mad enough already.

Now I'm not trying to suggest any element of precognition to the above. I'm sceptical about such things. For me it's more about happening upon the kind of places or events which one has a predisposition towards. Not the best analogy here, but I see it in the same way that you can meet someone and feel like you've known them for years; or the way that a few notes of music can completely change your mood and demand your whole attention, because they connect with something within you.

If they carry any meaning I think it will be within the realms of the purely personal and symbolic, rather than carrying any objective truth.

The third dream was different: it had a similar atmosphere, the golden glow of the late evening sun and what have you, but it was in an entirely different place. It was more of an urban space, a number of tall, shiny, glass buildings quite close together in a certain formation. Another link is the scaffolding-type structure which was evoked this time in the buildings themselves. As with the other two dreams, it has remained with me since childhood. It too has an atmosphere, something very loaded, which is hard to describe.

A couple of weeks ago I was walking through town on my way home from work, and suddenly found myself looking up at a spot where some building work is in a state of near-completion. Once again things suddenly slotted into place: the space created by this building and the ones which loom nearby, are immediately and vividly evocative, and I now cannot walk there without this other dream coming straight to mind. It's just as startling, and it's odd to have something trigger off a recollection of the workings of my subconscious mind stretching back more than three decades.

Like I say, it may be silly looking for any objective meaning in this, but I'm still bound to wonder about it on a personal or symbolic level. As I wander through there I wonder why this place carries such a resonance, why I've only just become aware of it, and whether I can do anything useful with that information.


lavenderblue said...

Right now I am just loving your paintings...............x

trousers said...

Thanks lav. It's about time I did some more really..

Neon said...

I love your paintings/drawings. they speak to me.

trousers said...

Thanks to you too neon. I'd only put them up to try and better illustrate what I was trying to say, so it's nice to get a response!

That's so pants said...

Hi Trews

Astonishing, beautiful and wonderful.



But Why? said...


I sometimes experience what may be a similar sense of connection, but I'm damned if I know what its connecting to...

trousers said...

Hi pants, and thank you! Glad you liked it so much. Perhaps I shouldn't worry so much about whether to post such ramblings..

But why, who knows (that's about as helpful as I can be by way of a response - sorry!).

Ario said...

Stole them for my desktop. Hope that's okay. I can look at that first one now in rows and columns. It's brill.

Much recommended.

trousers said...

Hi ario, of course that's ok! Glad you like them.

Caroline said...

The second one. It sparks something in me. Love it x

DJ Kirkby said...

Reminds me of a couple of Stephen King themes, very powerful ones that run through books like the 'Dark Tower' series or 'The Stand'. I really liked your drawings, striking. Thank you for posting this, I found it enticing and it captured my intrest which is not the easiest thing to do...though the spider tales did the same so maybe Px is right, I am just bonkers!

trousers said...

Hi cas, I'm not going to say "glad you like it" even though I am, because I seem to keep saying that to everybody and it's getting repetitious. I can't think of anything else to say though, so be assured that I am indeed gl*d y*u l*ke *t.

And thanks dj kirkby, I thought if anybody thought I was bonkers for posting this, surely I'm going to get at least one person who was bonkers enough to find something in it :)

Anna MR said...

Hei trousers, very very intriguing and good (both the piccies, and the stories and the telling, okay?). Right up the staring at oneself street, in fact - probably if not a universal experience, then certainly a common enough one to get many startled commenters saying "it resonates with me". As you have here.

Of course, you are completely bonkers. But that is a good thing, right? Right. I, for one, will ruminate on this and may well come back with what it has brought up in and from my memories. I am a heavy dreamer, and sometimes my dreams are too laden with all sorts.

Yes, I echo esteemed Pants and others up there. Don't hold back, housut my friend. It's evident you can bring into the light of day all sorts of weird stuff, still blinking ...


trousers said...

Thank you ms mr (hope you don't mind me calling you that), I'm glad it has resonated with you too.

I still have yet to do a "stream-of-consciousness" post, as you can see it's been more about "stream-of-subconsciousness" here - but I look forward to reading about what this has triggered off in your good self, should you end up writing something.

Thanks for the encouragement too: perhaps it was a little needless of me to be worried about the weirdness factor in this, and I'm sure I can (and will) dredge up more. Further such musings will be posted then, as and when it feels right to do so.

Meanwhile I've written this comment in strangely stilted language, or so it feels to me.


Anna MR said...

Ha, housut, you are not the first to call me that - Signs got there first, a few months back, and got a giggle of horror out of me. When I chose my blog name, I was way too dumb to notice the obvious "Mr" that crept in there. Not the fastest armadillo on the highway, as a friend once said of President Bush.

(And really and truly, let this be the first, the last, and the only way I ever compare myself to resemble the said person.)

I don't know whether I can come up with a post of my stuff this post of yours brought up in me - don't know about your language in your reply here, but I certainly am a little stilted, on the whole, on the bloggy at the moment, somehow - but I enjoyed this post of yours, and the recent stream-of-consciousness one, too. I hope you have your email notifier on comments switched on, by the way, or you'll never find me here. I have taken an absolute age to get back.

Anyhow, young housut, delightful as always to have a quick banter. You take care now, okay?


trousers said...

Evening anna my dear, yes I do have my comments notifier switched on. So, just in case you do come back again for a peek at the comments on this post, I have to ask (not that I would have a problem doing so anywhere else, it's just that we're talking about it here), how do you pronounce "mr?"

I've often wondered.

I'll throw those "stilted" comments back at you just like you have done to me: you've just done a far-from-stilted piece of writing, putting it mildly. Well you've seen my comments on that one in the relevant place on your blog :)

Well if you don't do a post based on what this brought up, no matter: if it flows it flows, if not then you'll be writing about something else, which is all well and good :)


Anna MR said...

"MR" I never thought of being pronounced, originally, as it was all written word and I don't need to hear it pronounced in my head when I read. This may sound like a dorky thing to say but it is so, the thought never crossed my mind then. The revered NMJ is the only person I have heard pronounce it out loud, to my recollection, and she said "Anna em-ar" (you know, like the names of the letters, and you have to add her lovable and lovely Scottish accent to get the full experience). (My Finnish friends write Anna MR on their mobile phone contact lists, and the phones automatically read me as and convert me into Mr Anna. This is a mite unsettling, or would be, if I wasn't beyond and above such worries.) I would probably tend to pronounce it "mrrrrr", as in a soft purry growly noise.

And hey, thanks again for your positive comments on Albert post. Much appreciated, both there and here. The dream imagery post may come at some point or not - I too have things popping up in my mind from time to time as "may blog about this at sometime", and the dream thing has been one for a while. Have reread yours coming back here to comment, and it really is very good and intriguing.

trousers said...

Ah, that's ok then, I sort of pronounced it to myself as Anna Mer but without much emphasis on the "e" so it's sort of close to Mrrr anyway.

I'll restrain from thanking you for thanking me for thank you for my comments etc since it will all become rather confusing and could carry on forever, but the thought is there all the same.

Anna MR said...

Anna MR covers her mouth with both hands so as not to let a t-y slip out. housut is right, there really has to be an end to this club of mutual gratitude and congratulation

trousers said...

Well, I shall continue to think thanks, annawho has gone strangely italic :)

Anna MR said...

Anna MR (whispers theatrically) : It's a stage direction, housut...

trousers said...

I see...:)