On this the fourth day of our enforced isolation, I am given to queer musings, so I have chosen an equally queer theme. Thus, I give you… Day 4: Wicked dreams.
Book: Catherynne M. Valente, Palimpsest
This novel, originally published in 2009, tells the story of those whose one heartfelt desire is to reach and live in Palimpsest, the magnificent city of dreams. Yet finding Palimpsest is a matter of luck… or bad luck, depending on how you look at it.
To enter this dream city, one must sleep with someone who has dreamt Palimpsest and has a part of its map etched on their skin. And to see more of it, one must find and sleep with other people, and then more people, who have visited other parts of Palimpsest in their dreams.
Palimpsest is a drug, the drug of magic and of dreams come true, and there is no easy way in, and if there is a way out, nobody who has ever reached the city wants it.
You can purchase the novel in e-book format on Amazon, or else you can easily find hard copies of it online.
This is a sci-fi anime feature from mastermind Satoshi Kon, released in 2006. This film is a mad amalgam of dreams, in which good dream alter egos fight evil dream alter egos aiming to take over the sleepscape.
Paprika is a femme fatale, an expert navigator of the subconscious — and as real as she is unreal. She is the dream persona of sultry, serious Chiba, a dream researcher who has a hard time deciding whether she is her down-to-earth, daily life self, or the spicy, cheerful character she has dreamt up.
This is a story of vulnerability, trauma, and love — all stories are, but this one does it particularly well..
You can rent Paprika on Amazon Prime.
Music: The Parlour Trick, A Blessed Unrest
This instrumental album is the creation of violinist and accomplished thereminist Meredith Yayanos, and multi-instrumentalist Dan Cantrell. It came out online — thanks to a crowdfunding effort — in 2013, and has haunted me ever since.
It’s a spooky, dreamy, and hypnotic mix, the perfect theme for any and all wicked dreams. You can listen to it for free on The Parlour Trick’s official webpage, here, though I urge you to buy it if you can.
No artist is ever pleased.
There is no satisfaction whatever at any time.
There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction;
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes us more alive than the others.
— Martha Graham, ‘Blessed Unrest‘