“Taking the call” - collage by Jeffrey Yamaguchi
Welcome to the first issue of The Falling Dream. In this and future installments, we will be featuring the ingredients for a dream: a striking poem, a flowing image, an artistic/cultural reference, and a fragment of a story-in-progress — all dream inspired. The goal is to explore the literal, literary, artistic, and figurative aspects of the ever-elusive dream — to get you thinking about the dreams you have, having more dreams, and the many ways in which dreams inspire us and flow through our lives, literally and figuratively, even if we don’t always remember them.
Quick introductions: Lauren Maturo and Jeffrey Yamaguchi are the writers of The Falling Dream. We both work in book publishing — most certainly an endeavor of dreamers and dreams. We're currently working on a literary project that involves falling dreams, and we will be showcasing fragments from our novel-in-progress in this newsletter. You can learn more about us and our project here.
Without further ado, let's commence the fluttering eyes to this first installment’s dream ingredients.
DREAM STATE POEM: The Dark Chateau By Walter de la Mare (from The Listeners and Other Poems, 1916) This is an ominously rich poem in which the dreamer, and only the dreamer, stands before a once-glorious chateau, now ruinous and frightening — willing and wishing to enter... only in dreams. Walter de la Mare began writing while working as a bookkeeper in the 1890s. He wrote poetry, stories, and novels, and gained renown for his work in children's literature. Themes of dream-like imaginations and visions are a consistent through line throughout his entire body of work, most especially pronounced in his poetry. In dreams a dark château Stands ever open to me, In far ravines dream-waters flow, Descending soundlessly; Above its peaks the eagle floats, Lone in a sunless sky; Mute are the golden woodland throats Of the birds flitting by. No voice is audible. The wind Sleeps in its peace. No flower of the light can find Refuge 'neath its trees; Only the darkening ivy climbs Mingled with wilding rose, And cypress, morn and evening, time's Black shadow throws. All vacant, and unknown; Only the dreamer steps From stone to hollow stone, Where the green moss sleeps, Peers at the river in its deeps, The eagle lone in the sky, While the dew of evening drips, Coldly and silently. Would that I could press in!— Into each secret room; Would that my sleep-bright eyes could win To the inner gloom; Gaze from its high windows, Far down its mouldering walls, Where amber-clear still Lethe flows, And foaming falls. But ever as I gaze, From slumber soft doth come Some touch my stagnant sense to raise To its old earthly home; Fades then that sky serene; And peak of ageless snow; Fades to a paling dawn-lit green, My dark château.
Have you visited a dark chateau, in your dreams?
POP CULTURE DREAM CONNECT: Dream Song 29 (Poem) to Succession (TV Show)
Are you all caught up with Succession, the fantastic TV show about a rich and powerful and damaged and surprisingly (unfortunately?) functional dysfunctional family? It's an amazing show, perfect for these polarized times. If you haven't yet started, or still have episodes to watch, there will be no spoilers here. Just to note that the the titles of the finale episodes of all three seasons are lines taken from the same poem: Dream Song 29 by John Berryman.
Season 1 finale episode title: "Nobody is ever missing"
Season 2 finale episode title: "This is not for tears"
Season 3 finale episode title: "All the bells say"
Elements of this poem — that so fascinatingly captures the essence of a dream — serve as intriguing and telling episode titles. This is most certainly a dream reference that stirs and furthers the intrigue — no answers, just more layers to the depth.
DREAM FOCUSED FRAGMENT (from our novel-in-progress) — Chapter 1: A Running Projector In An Empty Alley
Enter the Man in the Black Suit
A man in a black suit walks purposefully down the street, briefcase in hand. It's well past midnight, but people are still out and about. Some are on the way home, others just heading out. There is always the rush to move on to the next, especially in this city, whether wide awake or fast asleep, floating into and beyond dreams they never seem to be able to recall.
The man turns into a darkened alley, the only light coming from the anchoring streets. All the windows along the wall, rising up into the night sky, are darkened, except for the reflective glow of a Fall moon. Moving further into the darkness, the man stops abruptly, places his briefcase on a dumpster, and clicks it open. He pulls out a projector, situates the device so that it's aimed properly, and turns it on.
As it cycles up, the man slams his briefcase shut, swings it down from its perch, and with the same purposeful walk, heads further into the alleyway, briefly disappearing into the darkness until he reaches the street on the other end. A quick turn to the left, and he is gone.
Movement now comes from the stir of light on the soot covered bricks of the alley wall. A woman lies on a bed, asleep. Her chest rises and falls in a stable rhythm — a calm restfulness. In time, the closed eyes begin to flutter. We rarely see this happen in our day to day life, even if we share a bed with another person, night after night. Closed eyes can’t meet another's closed eyes.
A sudden shudder, a jerk of the neck upward, the inhalation of breath, in an attempt to catch it, and more — everything, the body, the self. She remembers nothing, but the emotion lingers. The eyes of the woman on the screen are now open and ablaze and looking straight ahead, at whoever is standing before the projector. This could be no one.
This stare continues beyond comfort, until it fades to black and the sleeping woman at peace reappears.
A man walking his dog ambles right on by, stopping for nothing, not even the dog's interest in the endless scents lurking in the strewn about detritus of the alley.
A moth flutters into the lens of the projector, casting shadows of wings in a flurry, momentarily taking over the scene playing itself out on the wall.
A young woman stops to watch the film, takes out her phone, and captures an image of the woman asleep. She quickly taps on the screen, then continues on her way.
A cat races into the alleyway, ducking under the bins and reappearing just as it makes its way back out onto the street.
A couple takes in the projection, but get caught up in each other's gaze, which leads to a kiss that lasts several loops and spills out onto the street.
An old man stumbles down the alley, puts an arm up on the wall for support, fumbles with his pants, and takes a piss.
Hours pass and more people come and go. Fewer as the night wears on.
At sunrise, the projector is still going, but the light of the day is obscuring the image. A garbage truck throttles into the alleyway and uses its claw-like prong to lift the dumpster up, turn it upside down, and empty its contents into the belly of the hulking automotive beast.
With a clanging, metal-crashing bounce, the dumpster is thrust back into place, and the truck eases its way back into movement, through the alley and into the thrum of traffic on the main street.
The projector is gone, as if it was never there.
The cat reappears. From behind the garbage bins? After leaping down from the fire escape? Who can be sure. But there it is, staring at the wall where the projector illuminated the dreaming woman. The cat's eyes dance as the rest of its body, perched up regal and serene, takes in what was once there as the crisp Fall day takes hold of the moment and is carried onward by the chilled morning winds.
Read more about our novel-in-progress here.
DREAM INSPIRATION RECOMMENDATIONS
Music video: Mademoiselle - Thôi (song from the album The South Lands by Mademoiselle and Floyd Thursby)
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Happy new year, and here's to more dreaming and imagining in 2022!
— Lauren Maturo and Jeffrey Yamaguchi