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Tuesday, 1 March 2011


So perhaps I had the blogger burn-out, maybe I was just too busy, perhaps I got too tired. I do feel I have been in one place too long though, I have seen no exhibitions to write about, I have Art burn-out, the Cambridge burn-out. My absence has still been relatively brief, but it feels like a long time to me.

Anyway I have come to the crux of my essay for the week, I need to start writing but I'm not sure I know how to say what I want to express. I find myself dissecting my blog statistics as procrastination and discover some poetry in Google searches which have brought people to me; 'I need a book wandering bleak' is one, 'Secret Saturday dream space Thames' another. I feel I have a glimpse in to an anonymous soul. I see a woman wandering along the Thames on a Saturday searching for a secret place to sit and dream. Beneath a bridge perhaps? Where the steps lead you down to a small rocky section of beach, maybe?

Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony of summer nights (T.S Eliot, The Waste land)

Anyway that will suffice as a daydream.

I am struggling with my essay because of the anachronism of an argument which comes from my own post-Freudian experience of dreams and how this relates to Chaucer's medieval dream in The House of Fame. I am trying to write about language and inscriptions; because this is something which interests me about my own dreams. When I talk in my sleep it is often nonsense, I have dreamt in other languages and I have dreamt of writing poetry and reading. My dreams like Chaucer's are often literary. But as I wake the language I have encountered in my dreams always breaks down and is finally reduced to incomprehensibility. Rembrandt's painting of the vision of Belshazzar from the Book of Daniel is a wonderful example of the way conventional language eludes us in our dreams.

This dream inscription, written by a disembodied hand is beyond the reading of most viewers and this puts us in the position of Belshazzar and his feasters, who are equally perplexed. We are drawn in to the sudden disruption of festivities and implicated in the questioning of and searching for meaning.

So then what does it mean to be a writer of dreams? How do you inscribe a dream, when language is so difficult to grasp within it?


  1. Isn't that one of the functions of dreams? To help us process events but make them incomprehensible enough that we don't wake in fright?

  2. La croyance à l'origine divine des songes est universelle.

    "Ils reviendront, ces dieux que tu pleures toujours!
    Le temps va ramener l'ordre des anciens jours; La terre a tressailli d'un souffle prophétique...
    Les Chimères,
    Gérard de Nerval