Thursday, June 18, 2015

Moby-gibberish

I read a partial sentence in a dream this morning and wrote it down when I woke up: “from whence the initials carved into the surface of the whale rendered the ship a perennial Sea Hag.”

The obvious inspiration: chapter 68 of Moby-Dick, which describes a sperm whale as covered with “numberless straight marks” that appear to be “engraved upon the body itself.” Ishmael compares these marks to hieroglyphics. The Sea Hag sailed in from another fictional world: Popeye’s.

I have also dreamed an oracular remark from a Paris Review interview and sentences from The Elements of Style. And once, long ago, a passage from an unpublished poem by David Jones. I wish I had written that one down.

Reader, do you read in dreams?

Related reading
All OCA dream posts (Pinboard)

comments: 13

The Crow said...

I do, and I attend lectures and have conversations with inanimate objects and animals. I am convinced there is deeper meaning in all of those encounters than my waking mind can comprehend, which is why they happen in dreams.

One dream conversation happened just as I was waking, several years ago, which seemed oracular, important. I wrote it down immediately upon waking (I keep a notebook and pencil - Eberhard No. 2 - on my bedside table): my recently deceased, former mother-in-law, whom I loved dearly, said to me as the door between our worlds was closing, "We are displaced by time."

And, so we are.

Michael Leddy said...

I wish I were still teaching so I could ask for permission to share that when reading Gilgamesh.

The Crow said...

Michael, good teachers, such as yourself, never stop teaching. They just change classrooms.

Michael Leddy said...

You may be right. But please, no grading. :)

Elaine Fine said...

The night before we decided to read Moby Dick, I dreamed about reading the novel. I still find it interesting that you brought it up before I told you about my dream. Were you, perhaps, peering into my dreams?

Michael Leddy said...

Elaine, I’m always working on reading your mind. :)

The Crow said...

What about a lecture series, Michael? No grading required, just the wonderful imparting of wisdom and understanding.

(I like your riposte to Elaine. Sounds like one for your Domestic Comedy series. Of course, she might have transmitted it to you through your REM stage sleep cycle. Women generally are more attune to the psychic aspects of human neurology. That's psychic as in psyche, not the clairvoyant...although...)

Pete said...

I'm also reading and enjoying Moby this summer. Get this...The Guardian would like to see a rewrite of the book, from the whale's point of view: "Told from the perspective of Moby Dick (for some reason, in the narrative he loses the hyphen of the title), this becomes the heartwarming tale of an ultra-rare albino sperm whale pursued across the world’s oceans by a sea captain who is obviously as bonkers as a bag of snakes, all because Moby once took exception to being harpooned in a bid to carve him up for lamp fuel. The whale triumphs against mad old Ahab, and all this needs is the addition of some cute, floppy-haired cabin boy who rides off on the whale’s back into the sunset."
http://www.theguardian.com/books/shortcuts/2015/jun/18/50-shades-of-grey-moby-dick-vernun-dursley-harry-potter-herman-melville

Michael Leddy said...

Martha, maybe something, someday. But I’m happy to be out of academic life, really.

Pete, do you remember Grendel?

Michael Leddy said...

Also:

Martha, I should have said “I almost wish I were still teaching.” No regrets, as Billie Holiday sang.

Pete said...

Yes, but I'm due for a re-reading. It's one of the few books that my wife and I each owned when we first got together.

Diane Schirf said...

I've had a few phrases stuck in my head when I woke up that seemed profound until the light of day.

The oddest was a long, detailed dream about the "cold Sargasso Sea," long before I had heard of Jean Rhys and Wide Sargasso Sea, or the Sargasso Sea.

Michael Leddy said...

That’s strange. There’s an Ezra Pound poem, “Portrait d’une Femme,” that begins “Your mind and you are our Sargasso Sea.” So there you are.