Well it’s a Wednesday night and I thought I should make one more post before the month is over. I must, at this point, admit that I don’t have a particular theme or subject in mind, so we’ll just take it as it goes. Although, as many of my friends know, I am a fan of planning and organizing, sometimes I too need to let things be and see where they take me, especially when writing is involved. This period is a pretty relaxed one for me, but I’m afraid it will be the last for a long time. However, in this relaxation of body, and lack of responsibilities, my mind still finds itself trapped within a whirlwind of thoughts, concerns, plans for the future, outcomes of future endeavors, and on and on and on it goes. But because this state is a viciously familiar one, I am still able to relax and enjoy the finer things in life… laziness, the spring, reading bookS, late-night snacks with no regrets (because I can jog the following day), a day of doing nothing, etc.
And speaking of books, I seem to be caught between two very different narratives. Strangely enough, I don’t mind reading two (or more) books at once. Although I do feel the need to finish them both (or all) at some point, I have no problem dwelling in more than one mental landscape at a time, and in this case, these are Irvin Yalom’s The Schopenhauer Cure, and Thomas Ligotti’s Teatro Grottesco. It could be argued that the one is the exact and perfect opposite of the other in what they wish to narrate, present, and eventually achieve. While the latter is a down-to-earth, brutally honest, internal struggle of a 65-year-old man dealing with his imminent death (in the shape of a fatal illness), the former depicts several dark, desolate, sinister, hellish nightmares that could easily be found in our dream journal…if we ever kept one.
I rarely have nightmares, but I constantly dream, and these dreams are far from ordinary, rational, or even relevant to anything in my waking life… or so it seems. Most days I will remember fragments of a dream that did not make any sense in the first place, and try and identify elements that may -even vaguely- pertain to any real situation. Alas, it is futile. I believe that dreams are the twisted, unpredictable, nonsensical, and sometimes even eerie patterns that the subconscious carefully weaves using, as threads, the infinite amount of things, people, and situations that we deal with in everyday life. In other words, the subconscious loves the shuffle button.
And that is exactly how one feels when he reads Teatro Grottesco. While your skin crawls and your imagination leaps to macabre and pernicious conclusions that never actually come but could hide behind a corner and jump at you at any moment, you can see the Sandman, Morpheus, Oneiros (call him what you will), pulling the strings and wearing the most curious grin on his face.
Before I started reading this collection of truly nightmarish stories I expected something more straightforward, more obviously horrifying and visually perverse. Thomas Ligotti falls into the horror genre, and although I have never read any horror literature before, what I mistakenly and foolishly assumed was a physical and gory representation of the horrific. Instead, what I got were a series of crawly, uncomfortable, and eerily subtle creations that came dangerously alive in the back of my mind… where all nightmares lie dormant.
I have not yet finished the book so my impressions are for now fragmented and inconclusive. Yet I sense that the path that I have chosen will only take me deeper into the rabbit hole, and the deeper I go the darker it will become.
On a final note, it would be irresponsible of me not to mention the beautiful and eloquent way in which Thomas Ligotti seduces the reader. The use of language and luminous flow of the narrative is not only prominent and effortless, but essentially compliments and animates every disturbing nuance.
Hopefully my journey will only become more obscene…