My wife Audrey and I are in our house. She wants to read a book I have. It is volume IX from a X volume set and she hasn’t read the other books. It’s a translation of a Japanese novel, by one Musakami, close to Murakami, but the “S” was prominent. I look into the book. The words are highly decorated. This text was printed beautifully. At the top of each page are interesting decorative pictures …a spider, a sword, a scroll… and other symbols. The book mentions “God” a lot, and I find this to be strange, coming from an Eastern source, especially as the God in question seems to be a Biblical one. The story is about a Ninja and as I read the book (together with my wife?), we watch a Ninja, fully covered and wrapped in black cloth, lightly treading through soft snow up a small mountain. The Ninja seemed to be a kind of monk.
Reality Check: I was having a slew of Japanese related literary dreams in 2010 to early 2011 (about Yukio Mishima among others), but this theme hasn’t come up for awhile. I guess it is saying, “Hey Justin, don’t forget about this thread of your inner life. It’s not over yet!” As a young boy I of course had a fondness for Ninjas… remember those Teenage Mutant Turtles?
The name in the dream, Musakami, is similar to Haruki Murakami whom I definitely want to read (and am reading now). Murakami’s novel’s A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance Dance Dance both have a lot of dream related stuff in them from what I hear.
So, the Haruki Murakami novel I wanted to read is checked out by another patron at the Public Library where I work. But now that I am a member of The Mercantile Library I look up Murakami in their catalog. Well, they don’t have A Wild Sheep Chase but they do have Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World also on my reading list. I go get it on my lunch break and start reading it over a bowl of spicy white bean chili and rice. It’s very humorous. Each paragraph is like a stanza in a poem. The translator has obviously done an excellent job.
The book contains two narrative threads, one the “Hard Boiled Wonderland” is about a data launderer, who washes information for clients by processing it from his right to left brain. He gets hired by a mysterious scientist who lives in a lab far beneath an office building. You take the elevator all the way down, go through a maze of bureaucratic hallways, then take a ladder down several stories, pass through some caves, go underneath a waterfall from the underground river into the scientists lair, where he is working on “listening to skulls”. He has learned how to resonate the skulls of humans and animals via some kind of acoustic measurements…and now he has a plan to erase sound from the world. He says this will aid our evolution, implying that it will perhaps help us get full blown telepathy. And evolution is never easy he says.
The second narrative is “The End of the World” which takes place in small mysterious town -presumably so far in the future it looks like the past -or at the edge (End ?) of the world. The narrator of this section comes to the town. Everyone in the town is given a job by the Gatekeeper. The character is to become the towns Dreamreader. He must go to the Library every night at sundown and read the “old dreams” stored in the Library.
…and that is about as far as I’ve gotten. But it certainly seems like my dreams were leading me to the rite reading material, for inspiration on my own stories and more. I can’t wait to learn about the Dreamreader and the “old dreams” he reads.
To become a Dreamreader the narrator had to undergo a procedure from the Gatekeeper. An initiation. The Gatekeeper takes a knife and heats it up in a fire. After it cools he stabs the man in both eyes, but this doesn’t hurt him. This helps him to read the old dreams, kept inside of skulls. The Librarian tells him how to do this, “Before your eyes the skull will glow and give off heat. Trace that light with your fingertips. That is how old dreams are read.”
The Dreamreader narrates, “Dreamreading proves not as effortless as she has explained. The threads of light are so fine that despite how I concentrate the energies in my fingertips, I am incapable of unraveling the chaos of vision. Even so, I clearly sense the presence of dreams at my fingertips. It is a busy current, an endless stream of images. My fingers are as yet unable to grasp any distinct message, but I do apprehend an intensity there.”
I relish reading the rest of this book and seeing where the right and left brain converge, into one skull-story.