“He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
― Robert Frost, The Poetry of Robert Frost
“It’s creepy, but here we are, the Pilgrims, the crackpots of our time, trying to establish our own alternate reality. To build a world out of rocks and chaos.
What it’s going to be, I don’t know.
Even after all that rushing around, where we’ve ended up is the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.
And maybe knowing isn’t the point.
Where we’re standing right now, in the ruins in the dark, what we build could be anything.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Choke
“That which is dreamed can never be lost, can never be undreamed.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Wake
Today, after a lot of hard work doing nothing at all useful, I felt the need for a nap.
I dreamed of a house, one that is very familiar to me. It is a classic old wooden Victorian – getting long in the tooth. Like thousands and thousands throughout the center of the continent, the place I am so familiar.
It is larger than most, four stories including a dormered top floor with ceiling slanted to match the steep snow-shedding roof. There is an apartment addition over the double garage, reachable from the second floor. The main floor is completely encircled by a porch, with an old metal glider facing the road. There is an old-fashioned sleeping porch extending off the back portion of the second floor – a refuge from the hot summers, a peaceful relic from before air conditioning.
Walking the halls, I realized that I knew every square inch of this large-rambling house and remember all the repairs and improvements done over the decades. I even remembered how it used to be – I remember standing over an opening that led down to the floor furnace, the crisp white winter smell, the warm air convectioning up, the blue gas flame hissing away far below, how my feet felt on the hot metal grating.
Of course, once I ended my nap, stood up and entered the wasted day fully I realized that the house that I knew in such detail and remembered for so long does not exist. Has never existed. Could not even possibly exist.
Yet it feels more real than my actual home – or any dwelling I have lived in before.
“Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it.”
― William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2
Where do these pipes go to? What do they convey? What comes pouring out of them when they decide it’s time to go to work? What happens if you are on the sidewalk beneath?
“Without knowing it, he had constructed a gigantic vertical zoo, its hundreds of cages stacked above each other. All the events of the past few months made sense if one realised that these brilliant and exotic creatures had learned to open the doors.”
― J.G. Ballard, High-Rise
A skyscraper reflected in a skyscraper.
“So through endless twilights I dreamed and waited, though I knew not what I waited for. Then in the shadowy solitude my longing for light grew so frantic that I could rest no more, and I lifted entreating hands to the single black ruined tower that reached above the forest into the unknown outer sky. And at last I resolved to scale that tower, fall through I might; since it were better to glimpse the sky and perish, than to live without even beholding day.”
― H.P. Lovecraft, The Outsider
“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.”
― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities