When sick plays with my head, I find myself reminded of Artur Lundqvist, Swedish writer and author of another perennial on my bookshelf: Journeys in Dream and Imagination: The Hallucinatory Memoir of a Poet in a Coma. Here is another work I discovered in my earliest MN days, alongside our friend Grendel. Lonely for a familiar place, my early months found me reaching both out for new experiences and in for solace. Dreams, dream states, drunkenness, things that made more real some inner space I felt I knew better than all the strange around me. Along with our affable monster, Lundqvist comforted me by sharing his own orphic explorations as he wakes from a 2-month coma and dangles his feet from the pier of dreams.
He covers much ground in his half-dead ramblings, and I soaked up his mutterings like a distracted Zen master. Returning to them two decades later, I see new things, seeds waiting for me to help them open.
He helped me let go of my former life and embrace the present:
"...now I know that death is nothing once is has arrived, neither darkness nor visual impressions, just as if one never existed, a repose like an extinguished flame, leaving no trace...what reason is there to fear nothingness or to rejoice in it..."
He told me he understood the well of my wordy thoughts:
"...in the dreams, a different reality beckoned, one that was both enticing and terrifying, hiding that which was concealed and must not be mentioned in clear words."
But, rereading him again this year, I find I have evolved in my thinking. The sick will return, the draw back may come, but I am intent to move forward, only forward, into the what's next.
"This bug has heart. It feigns exit from the body through obvious formalities of departure. What lies within now is more subtle, clicking and note-taking along with me, synchronizing the steps home I might not notice. Its saps my strength and drugs my work, my communications, but opens these doors inside to explore. More irritating that debilitating, but then it's the simple math that screws you up...And so, starting to understand it, I scheme - small but certain stratagems toward strength, below its own nether-radar line. Ginger, sleep, pepper, focus. Closing the gaps and tempering the weakest plates in the armor. I will outlast this, again, and harden in the process. So evolution."(journal 3/9/17)
Something for the next time the Nyquil kicks and you fall back and in: