Copyright Hugh Harris 1993.
The other News From England. April 16th., 1993.
In 1963, I was sitting on the bed one day in a daze, with my girlfriend, not under the influence of any drugs nor in any particular way involved with the far cut, when she disturbed me by talking to me. In fact, she not only talked to me, she asked me a question. I forget what the question was now, but I remember trying to resist answering because, you see, I had stayed still and stared so long that I had floated onto the top of the pelmet.
I don't mean I defied gravity. I mean that I had reached such a high level of concentrated attention on the pelmet that I felt as though I was no longer in my body, but up on the pelmet contemplating myself sitting on the bed.
This was the first time anything like that had happened to me, and it was such an extraordinary experience that I was determined to go on with it and see what would happen next. Unfortunately, what happened next was that my girlfriend asked me a question, and when T tried to signal her away (for it would have broken the spell to talk) she became more persistent until eventually I had to let go of the pelmet and crash back into real life.
Disappointing, is the only way I can describe it. That experience was one I have never managed to repeat fully, although frequently I drift some of the way up there.
The reason I mentIon that experience is because today someone caught me thinking about Ashland - I was miles away both in body and mind and this person wanted to know what it was that I had just said. I wasn't sure, but in the hope of redeeming my dream I told her the fIrst thing that came into my head. I said:
"Sorry - I was miles- away in America, in a dream, and I cannot remember what the dream was about",
I could have returned, but she was interested in what America is like, and pers-isted. Unfortunately, that was sufficient to crash my dream again - and, into the- bargain, I had offended my friend to the extent that she wanted to go on questioning me as to why I am sometimes so distant. Partially, then, I am writlng this, for her.
Well, this brought to mind the fact that there are occasions when it is impossible to socialise with me. In fact, the harder you try, the more I withdraw, and I think the explanation lies in the crashing dreams.
On close scrutiny of the patient (myself) I find that he lives half his life in a dream. It is not always just a dream. It is more often than not a dream triggered by a happening outside himself, either exhilarating and happy, grim and depressing or humorous. In all instances it is difficult to communicate, because either the dream is too much fun to get out of, or it is so angry one doesn't want to inflict it on others, or the humour only holds together if one concentrates for long enough to commit it solidly to memory - quite why one should want to I don't know - or maybe it is just an attempt to saviour the dream fully.
There is one other category that comes to mind. Sometimes a most obscure tune creeps into my head from somewhere, and I have to concentrate like hell to retain it until I have managed to capture the essentials of it either on paper or on a cassette recorder. But the problem is the same. whilst I am trying to capture that tune (it usually turns out to be pretty weedy once fully captured - but it's always worth trying) there is no way I can comfortably communicate with someone else - except of course by trying to play the tune at them - but they mustn't try to talk to me at the same time.
I am not sure why I am telling you this, except possibly that it illustrates something about people's minds. I did teacher training a long time ago, and one of the things that we studied was how it is that people learn things, and the question of the daydream comes in because some people seemed to be able to deal with many subjects all at once, and others, like me, could only cope with one thing at a time. That is, there may be people who can sit on the pelmet looking at themselves sitting on the bed at the same time as holding a conversation. Of course, from my point of view, it appears that they would not be concentrating sufficiently to stay up there, but that may be quite wrong.
My friend (the one who crashed my dream) asked me to look at her washing machine because the floor was soaking wet around it. I had looked at it before, but had missed the leak that time. Now was a second time. This time I saw it, and when we fixed it she said to me that had she concentrated properly she thinks she would have noticed it herself - and known how to fix it. I am sure she is right - she would have to approach it like a dream, and not let the other things that constitute the present intrude.
It's as simple as that.