Terrification

The more you understand something, the less you need to fear it.

Usually.

The anxiety dreams and nightmares of my youth have been all but erased due to my understanding of the world, understanding about my lack of knowledge, and other mechanisms for action within my own psychology. When I first saw the below animated GIF, I immediately understood why it would be perceived to be terrifying, hilarious, both, or neither. It also triggered an association for what was for me another association trigger: One of the most disturbing films I’ve seen, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.

terrification animated gif

Not scary per se, but disturbing. Unsettling. An unplaceable oddness. In Mulholland there is a masterful build-up, starting with a cryptic scene in a diner, which ultimately has the character who is describing a state of pure terror to another, walk outside to confirm that fear, as a horrid creature slides out from behind a corner in a most inhuman way—not only is the figure petrifyingly ugly, but the way it moves is the clincher: nothing human moves like that, in a linear, gliding fashion, and in such a triggered manner.

That scene reminds me of one of my most fear-inducing recurring dreams as a child: alone at my house, walking downstairs from the safety of my room, all the windows dark with night, and as I walk towards the kitchen, the head of a figure, presumed to be a robber intent on killing or harming me, quickly pops up—the moment of paralyzation occurs, the head slides away from whence it came, not slow, but not too fast; it doesn’t mind being seen. The paralysis melts, and I have to wake up, because that’s it: that’s the end. The unanswered nature, combined with the uncertain demise, is what makes it so terrifying. The chills that I would get in Lynch’s surrealist mind-maze were the same that I’d feel in that dream and others.

That a few frames of a presumably screeching elderly woman exiting stage-left in a weird manner can elicit the heights of cinematic tension through mere GIFfery is fascinating, lending versatility to how the web can provide media-feels in an instant. But it also further defines the five minutes that Lynch crafts through his singular direction—it is a scene that will live on, beyond the ephemeral meme-sharing thrills that come from a copy & paste, and into how we relate our waking- and dream-selves to ourself and to those around us.


Further reading: Alex Gladwin does an excellent job of analyzing the whole scene in his write-up, The Tuesday Zone: The Winkie’s Diner Scene from ‘Mulholland Drive’.

Original GIF post here.

thankful

one of my most thankful times, somewhat oddly, is the moment after waking from a dream; to come out of a deeply personal, pseudo-fictional consciousness based upon your past experiences where anything can happen, good or bad, and you wake and that thought-soup recedes and you realize all the good things in your life, your friends and family and moments, are important anchors for you and always will be, physically or virtually, is poignant.

will be with friends today, with family next month in PA; excited!

~„–„^‐

insomnia dream reversion

argh, can’t sleep. but at least i’m remembering my dream from last night: following an epic Open Range style shootout in an idyllic river-town the likes of which i’ve never seen, the dream transitions into a showdown in some opulent ancient ruins with beaming sunlight filtering through sky-high trees onto the crumbling stone below (a strong Tomb Raider theme (the game, not the movie(s)) is also present here).

the duel is between me and a master, in the style of a hybrid (tribrid?) Jodorowski, Tarantino, and P.T. Anderson film. actually, maybe exchange Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon for P.T. and the battle goes on for a while. it’s mostly quiet, except for various projectile ricochets. i eventually have to commit honorable, warrior-grade, mid-air, slow-motion, blade-induced suicide as it reaches a point where I surely have lost versus my superior and am falling to an almost certain doom anyway. maybe the outro slo-mo is a nod to Wes Anderson. yeah, let’s go with that.

this, naturally, signals the end of the dream.

my futile attempt at analyzation involves my want to see PT’s The Master, my chomping at the bit waiting for QT’s Django Unchained, recently having heard CTHD‘s score mentioned on my buddy’s podcast (Matt Knudsen, i was playing catch-up with the top 10 film scores list episode of We Like Movies. tho yes, it was Oscar’s pick), thinking Moonrise Kingdom was just dandy (its/his techniques still linger with me), and probably having played way too many video-games for several lifetimes over.

post-script: i’ve never had a dream in space. if that’s not hella weird (or whatever modifier is of equal or greater pertinence than “hella”), then i clearly have not been tricking my brain with skills commensurate with my dreamtime desires.

Dream discussion

Ever have a dream where everything you said was an expertly-crafted, eloquent line? Where it seemed as if an entire discourse was carved exquisitely ahead of time, but didn’t feel that way while you were conjuring it? The kind of dream where Socratic social discussion and debate blossoms up out of something tiny, where people slowly trickle in to listen, and you are fully engaged in the moment and the people around you?

I’ve had only but a few of these dreams, and while not as exhilarating as a flying dream, fun and stimulating as an erotic dream, or beguiling as one of those completely abstract dreams with exotic and often completely novel imagery, the discussion dream is one I relish in. Perhaps this enjoyment arrives because of my waking life experience of stumbling around the softest turns of phrase, my aversion to extemporaneous public speaking, or the frustrating discontent experienced regarding inadequate groundwork, faulty logic, sophistry, fear-mongering, and inadequate provisioning of context found in many political debates.

Ah, but a good dream, written down, remembered, perhaps triggered unexpectedly and inexplicably, is an internal gem. A fading, melting lozenge for the soul.