Waking Finnegan

“We are such stuff as dreams are made of, and our whole life is rounded with a sleep” ~ Shakespeare

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Location: zurich, Switzerland

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

George Walker Dream

In some country kitchen cracking walnuts with the small rounded peen side of a jewelry hammer but can't hit the walnuts squarely---the glancing blows landing on my clamphand---I'm growing side-minded wary of its swollen and mottled appearance---now holding both hands up to the bare bulb and can see the bones of my left hand like shattered glass. I'm calmly flexing it---can feel the internal jostling---I'm aware it's numb and swollen---my mind harking back to some dimly-remembered other dream of having damaged it. Now testing its dexterity by trying to screw on a bottle cap, the hand repeatedly loses grip and I'm wondering whether it's permanently damaged. Feeling emotionally detached---strangely scientific---fixedly studying everything around me more closely as if this were the first (last?) time. The kitchen table is now a lab workbench with a motley mix of professional tools...vise, porphyry, clamps, soldering iron, test tubes...on the floor is a large rusted anvil and I realize I'm in old Mr. Walker's basement. I go upstairs to see if he's around, but all doors and windows are unlatched and knowing he's obsessive about locking, I go out through the front door look around, but no Mr. Walker. I continue around the corner to a Bogie's Liquor that's no longer Bogie's---instead some sort of pawn shop of sad and dusty bric-a-brac. A row of gleaming bicycles are hanging along the back wall where I can see someone working. I enter the jingledoor and go to the bicycles and it's Mr. Walker in a Peugeot apron inflating tires with a pneumatic pump and he's real happy to see me through his thick glasses which he never wore in real life. He looks up. I ask him about the windows being open, but he pays no attention but instead staring at my big hand. He grabs it with a wince but says there's nothing wrong he can't fix. I have a young boy's deeply profound trust in his words and so I hand him my hand and he blows on it some with the pump---then says "We've got to fix it in my basement". We go to the back of what was Bogies---now attached to the real Mr. Walker's house. Descending a stairwell I'd never known, we pass various knarly wooden levels stacked with old washing machines and boilers nearly rusted out and I now can see myself at that same 'science' table screwing something into my hand with a cordless.


Blogger transience said...

i have this ability to pick out my favorite words. today, it's bicycle. have you ever dreamt in words?

10:22 AM  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

as always, bloody amazing. my dreams are an abuse of nightmares and wouldn't bear repeating and certainly would fail in comparison to your own.

3:45 PM  
Blogger gulnaz said...

He grabs it with a wince but says there's nothing wrong he can't fix. I miss this feeling of being taken by the hand and told everything is gonna be allright...nobody seems to believe that anymore. such is life is guess, repaired parts and cracked relationships.

excuse my melancholia...;)

7:59 PM  
Blogger Perfect Virgo said...

It's the detail like the Peugeot apron that bring these superb cameos to life Finnegan. The dream-fragment recollections are fascinating in themselves but even more arresting is your delivery style. As each fragment ends you cleverly drift to the next as if through an open doorway with no door in the frame. Seemlessly we enter the next realm, slightly related yet different. We all know that is just how transitions seem to occur in our own dreams. Transience liked the bicycle, I liked the pneumatic pump. Be careful with that cordless, you could have someone's eye out!

9:38 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Trans, I don't think it's possible to dream without words. I'm not sure I know what you mean actually.

Jesus, Well, I'm not sure what would happen if you started to figure out the language of your dreams. Perhaps you might want to consult with Trans.

Gulnaz, I miss that comfort too. Perhaps that's why I so often dream of more 'innocent' days.

As you were so overwhelmed with your new nephew's birth. You'll be one of those who takes him by the hand...

Virgo, Well thanks Virgo, it's damned perceptive of you about how things move, especially the notion of doorways with no doors in the frame. As stuff happens in fragmented clusters---some being more or less decipherable in relation to others---there are those condensed situations (like this dream situation) where the joinery is bound to familiarity. Maybe that's why a dream sometimes becomes clearer in relation to what we perceive as reality.

What bugs me is that I know a whole lot more is going on in the night mind, but I can't mine it all. Like with real mines, once I catch a seam, it's hard to chisel at the others.

Best of all though are the epic ones, where you go through titanic emotional adventures, living through real and telescoped time. They are the most memorable and rare and have the power to transform my waking behavior, like epiphanies. They are epiphanies.

I haven't had one of them for some time now.

A scary side note: Maybe these dream 'epiphanies' are what drive the Mansons and Jack-the-Rippers. I'd better go easy on the rare steaks.

6:59 AM  
Blogger NicoleBraganza said...

Its fascinating, how your dream is so detailed. Dont you make up just a lil bit of the stuff? ;)
And I envy you because you remember your dreams and they are so interesting. My psychology professor said that everyone dreams 7 times a night - that seems ridiculous!

10:49 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...


The stuff gets recollected and filtered through language, because writing is representation; I'm re-presenting things, which is a bit different from fabricaton. But in terms of dream 'events', they are constructed out of what goes on in my night skull.

If only I could remember more. There's always a fog that hides certain strata banked over the neural pathways

2:58 PM  
Blogger Dr. Charles said...

wow - what a fantastic subject to maintain a log of! I realize by reading this how i've neglected my own dreams and the stories generated within. you write with brilliance, and I'm certainly coming back for more.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Perfect Virgo said...

I love that description of "telescoped time." You hit the nail on the head with that. Accepted laws and dimensions are only paid scant heed in the dreamworld. Even recogniseable objects from life rarely seem identical to the genuine article.

I am always impressed at how much you manage to prise from your memory. I imagine like many things you can improve recall with practice. I have read your earlier posts so I know the techniques you use. Impressive nonetheless.

Astonishing that you should think of the "epiphany" dreams as triggers for Jack the Ripper! The Whitechapel murders of 1888 are a pet subject of mine, I just counted 9 books on the subject on my bookshelves behind me. Obsessive, OK I admit it! With no definite identity everyone can play the 'hunt the ripper.' And I do.

As a vegetarian I think I'm safe, but you never know...

7:03 PM  
Blogger gulnaz said...

its a niece finn. :)
the baby looks so defenceless and trusting, makes you scared and protective at the same time.

7:40 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Dr.Charles, Great that you stopped by and commented. I'm flattered, really.

Perfect Virgo, My 'Jack the Ripper' reference was simply the best partnering with Manson. I didn't realise I'd be plopping it down in the lap of an aficianado! You scare me...
I scare me even more.

Question: What sort of conversations could you imagine Charles and Jack having? A theme for a blog or a short story unto itself! Why don't you have at it, since I'm definitely not up to it. You've at least got half of your reference books.

Have you ever heard of Dr. H.H.Holmes? He's a lesser-known serial killer who 'operated' during the Chicago World's Fair. Here's an excerpt:
A Hotel for the Fair

The manager followed Holmes to his second-floor office and there in the pleasant cross breeze from the corner windows studied Holmes’s drawings of his kiln. Holmes explained that he could not obtain “the necessary amount of heat.” The manager asked to see the apparatus.

That wasn’t necessary, Holmes said. He did not wish to trouble the manager, only to seek his advice, for which he would pay an appropriate fee.

The furnace man insisted he could do nothing without actually examining the kiln.

Holmes smiled. Of course. If the manager did not mind spending the extra time, he would be glad to show it to him.

Holmes led his visitor down the stairs to the first floor and from there down another, darker flight to the basement.

They entered a large rectangular cavern that ran the entire length of the block, interrupted only by beams and posts. In the shadows stood vats and barrels and mounds of dark matter, possibly soil. A long narrow table with a steel top stood under a series of unlit lamps and two worn leather cases rested nearby. The cellar had the look of a mine, the smell of a surgeon’s suite.

The furnace man examined the kiln. He saw that it contained an inner chamber of firebrick constructed in a manner that kept flames from reaching the interior, and he noted the clever addition of two openings in the top of the inner box that would allow gases from the box to flow into the surrounding flames, where they would then be consumed. It was an interesting design and seemed likely to work, although he did observe to himself that the shape of the kiln seemed unsuited to the task of bending glass. The inner box was too small to admit the broad panes now appearing in storefronts throughout the city. Otherwise, he noticed nothing unusual and foresaw no difficulty in improving the kiln’s operation.

He returned with a work crew. The men installed a more powerful burner that, once ignited, heated the kiln to three thousand degrees Fahrenheit. Holmes seemed pleased.

Only later did the furnace man recognize that the kiln’s peculiar shape and extreme heat made it ideal for another, very different application. “In fact,” he said, “the general plan of the furnace was not unlike that of a crematory for dead bodies, and with the provision already described there would be absolutely no odor from the furnace.”

But again, that was later.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking at yourself screwing something into your hand at the end is creepy stuff after those spatial changes, Mr. Walker and that staircase.

9:34 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Gulnaz, Oops, a thousand apologies. Sheesh. I guess I shouldn't have commented while still 'lagged' from my travels.

That vulnerability of infants makes them so magical; how they melt you and make you feel vulnerable.

anonymous, Thanks. I was always fascinated by this basement workshop. It smelt musty and hinted of Poe and 'The Black Cat'. I hated to imagine him axing sweet Mrs. Walker; I couldn't shake this connection no matter how hard I tried.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anil said...

I'm curious to know...when do you transcribe your dreams...the morning after when you get up and the images are still fresh? or sometime later when they are beginning to fade and you can only glimpse the outlines?

when I was young I tried maintaining a dream-diary because I've always been a vivid dreamer of fantastic things (even if I say that myself) and wanted to ddivine their secrets...but life and lazyness took over and I never continued it....

10:31 PM  
Anonymous milktea said...

I don't know how you can always make your dreams beautiful. The only dreams I can remember are shitty ones.

on another note, you probably miss mr. walker.

2:47 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

anil, Freshness is the key to dream recall. As I've mentioned to others who've asked me similar questions, I transcribe my dreams using a recording device (in my case an iPod with microphone). The key thing is to save your dream memories to memory (literally). Dreams fade like vanishing ink upon waking (hence part of my blog title). As soon as you begin reflecting on the coming day, your dreams get easily dusted; Since they are as fragile as gold leaf, you need to take the same sort of care in handling.

When I went to college years ago, I used a simple notepad and pencil. If I'd had a portable voice recorder handy at that time, I'd have opted for it instead, since manual dexterity at 6 am is somewhat
distracting (see dream fragility), as your eyes have to play a role in the recovery. I can keep my eyes closed while talking (slurring actually).

I promise, you will definitely become proficient at it through practice. In the beginning you may only recall certain fragments and scenes. As you continue, more of the overall fabric can be threaded together. But note that I take liberties while writing, because it is, well, writing. But as I mentioned to Nicole, I don't 'make up' stuff; it would make no sense to call it a dream blog.

5:24 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Milktea, Read my comments to Anil.

I might as well hang something here I'd forgotten to mention. When hitting the pillow, make certain to focus on the idea that you want to recall the dream. This priming works as a mental trigger somewhat like hypnosis and acts like a mental looping device for the actual recall when you wake.

As to your 'shitty' dreams, you might want to know that recall practice will bring out a balance of shitty and heavenly and a whole lot in between.

There are a plethora of sites devoted to dreams and dream recall (including dream interpretation). If you click the first banner under 'Stuff' in the sidebar, you'll be able to find a whole lot of stuff about dreams and dreaming.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Lorena said...

great writing. what an amazing dream. it's great when their full of mystery because then you search for some meaning.

thanks for visiting my blog :)

6:03 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Lorena, Thanks for the comment. I believe my dream was influenced by my having read the circumcision piece written by Dr. Cuttyerpeckerov..er, I mean Dr. Charles, who commented here earlier.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once knew someone like your Mr Walker. He was an amazing wizard with everything he did, but always humble about it.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Perfect Virgo said...

The Manson and Ripper crimes being separated by 80 years would make for an interesting conversation. The Ripper knew horse and coach, gaslight and top-hats, Mansun knew, automobiles, electicity and TV.

Their motives would nonetheless be similar. Rage, bloodlust and control. Some put the Ripper's victims at 8 or 9, purists insist on 5. Each slaughter more devastating than the last.

The murders ceased abruptly prompting speculation on suicide, imprisonment or committal to an asylum before identification. I have a couple of thoughts on the matter and you've inpired me to think further. I feel a blog coming on soon...

I confess I had not heard of Holmes. The excerpt you quote is gruesome. Disposal of the body always seems the hardest part. Odourless cemation sounds ideal!

9:57 PM  
Blogger Bouls said...

Ouch! Reminds me of my old angry hand injury. Remember? I couldn't use it for about four months. Where was Mr. Walker when I needed him? I'm waiting naively at the end of your dream for your hand to be healed. I need it to be healed.

5:50 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Bouls, Yeah, I remember that injury. Maybe these things transfer. Hope not, otherwise my dreams will have me club-handed in every situation; not good for doing birdy operations...ahem.

6:46 AM  
Blogger . : A : . said...

Quite a vivid captue indeed. Really liked,

"He grabs it with a wince but says there's nothing wrong he can't fix."

5:25 PM  

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