Matt Longabucco

"To know what dreams were like before the cinema!" - Maggie Nelson

I've got questions. Is there one dreamworld we all share, or are they private chambers, personal hells? Are the hard nails at the end of my fingers, of anyone's, claws? Of Edward Scissorhands, or Wolverine? Is it unutterably sad, or a liberation, when in a dream nothing holds or fixes, when the print slides off books, and light drains from rooms, when a fuck can't find fruition, or the locations shift and switch like so many pasteboard sets? It's like having a framed flat picture with which to comprehend a world defined by depth. So are dreams the movies? And who is in every dream? And who is at every movie? Is Freddy Krueger me?

He signifies that moment when the reality you've been taking for granted tips its hand--you're really asleep. And then you must reckon backwards this dreaming-all-along. And that reckoning terrifies; it says: nothing I've been doing matters. Worse, I must see it through. Worse yet, waking may be no different. Unless dreams do matter, which is the promise of Freddy Krueger, who by killing you in a dream kills you in life. To submit to be his victim is to come alive, then, by dying, into mattering. The traffic between the realms guarantees both exist. And what is traded across their borders? Memory as laceration, history for ash.

We see the Goya etching, the one reproduced on the cover of Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others, with the one man hanged and the soldier, reclining, taking in the view. The incredible urge to sleep. In this update the kids, trying to stay up and out of Freddy's clutches, chug Red Bull and pop Adderall. No one mentions the men being kept up at Guantanamo, the sleep deprivation techniques from Abu Ghraib. Do they have to? That sleep realm, we know, is the last one keeping us in check. If we can beat it, our all-consuming watching will be complete.