The Three Dreams of René Descartes

Quod vitae sectabor iter? Which path in life will I choose?

I am walking in an unknown street, when suddenly ghosts appear in front of me. Terrified, I want to flee, but I feel a great weakness on my right side, and am obliged to lean on my left to be able to advance. Ashamed of walking in this grotesque position, I make an immense effort to stand upright, but an impetuous wind suddenly spins me three or four times on my left foot, like a top. Then I stop spinning and force myself to continue to advance, but my body’s position makes walking difficult, and I think that I am going to fall with each step that I take.

A college, whose door is open, then appears in my path. I enter, thinking to find refuge there, and perhaps a remedy for what is ailing me. I then see the college church and want to go there to pray, but I notice that I have passed a man whom I know, without greeting him. I want to turn back to say something agreeable to him, but am violently pushed back by the wind which is blowing against the church and stopping me from advancing. At the same time, I see, in the middle of the college courtyard, another person who calls me by my name and says to me: “Would you be kind enough to carry something to one of our friends?”

I ask what I am to carry. I receive no answer, but imagine (I don’t know why) that it is a melon brought from some foreign country.

I continue walking, dragging myself along and tottering, while the people whom I meet are walking firmly on their feet. The wind has dropped. I am so unhappy that I wake up.

The dream has anguished me so much I think perhaps a bad genie has come to torment me. I make a long prayer to secure myself against the bad effects of my vision and after two hours of unhappy thoughts, I go back to sleep

.The Three Dreams of René Descartestrio

I am immediately transported into another dream where I hear a sharp, explosive noise, which I take for thunder. Fear awakens me. I find that some coals have fallen from my fireplace.

After a short time, I go back to sleep once more, and find myself in a third dream. In front of me, on a table, is a book. Having opened it, I see that it is a dictionary. Then I notice a second book, this one a poetry anthology. I flick through it and immediately come upon the latin verse:

Quod vitae sectabor iter?

Which path in life will I choose?

At the same time, an unknown man appears and presents me with a poem which starts with Est et non (what is and is not). He adds that it is an excellent work. I reply: “I know. It is in this book of poems. Look!”

But I flick through the anthology in vain; I can’t find the poem. So, I take up the dictionary and notice that some of the pages are missing. I am exchanging a few more words with the stranger when, suddenly, the books and the man disappear.

When I awake I am very troubled by these three dreams, thinking that they have been sent to me by Heaven and I begin to try to decipher their meaning.

Dream of the Drawing for Everything alchemies dream-like things: images and texts and films and sketches and philosophy and half-thoughts and visions and moments and fragments of all kinds. Resting and exploring here may deepen your relationship with the oneiric and, therefore, all apparent reality. Resting and exploring here may augment your psyche’s healing tendency—as Jung called it—through highlighting and delighting in humanity’s hallucinatory creations. (Without them, after all, neurologists assure us we would go starkers.) It is time there was a potentially infinite, intimate museum to what cannot be seen. Welcome to the museum.

Dream of the Drawing for Everything is some of the collaboration between artist Nuala Clarke & writer Crystal Gandrud. Our work arises out of what dances on the edges of perception and our collective attention gravitates to the dream-like nature of human experience. We have been in collaboration since 2010. Our merged practices of visual and textual art unfold on a continuum, as part of an interconnected series evolving over time. Both performed “Fair Shouldered One” (a book which is not a book) at the &Now Literary Festival in Paris, 2012 and installed “Between Spaces”, a Yeats inspired dreamscape at the Hamilton Gallery, Sligo, 2013. Most recently participated in the Find Arts Project in Castlebar, Ireland. Our public art installation of words and images printed on linen, “Woven Found”, hung on Castle Street. The project won the best commissioning practice award from Allianz Business to Arts, 2014.

Nuala Clarke

Nuala Clarke, visual artist, lives and works between Co. Mayo and New York City. Educated at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, she moved to New York City in 1993. In September 2007, she received a fellowship to the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Mayo and began returning to Ireland from NY to work every year. Clarke has been represented by Boltax Gallery, NY since 2005. Recent shows include, Amid a Space Between: Irish Artists in America at the SFMoMa Artists Gallery, San Francisco, (2012); to Tremble into Stillness, a WB Yeats related show at Hamilton Gallery, Sligo; RHA invited artist; and A drawing for Everything, Ballinglen Arts Foundation (2013). BLINK, a public art installation at the Westport Arts Festival, Co. Mayo (2014). Upcoming shows (2015): Impressions of Yeats, Hamilton Gallery, Sligo; Of this place, Sligo and Madrid.

Crystal Gandrud

Crystal Gandrud, writer, lives in New York City and Normandy, France. She holds an MFA, Creative Writing and a BFA, Classical Theatre. Recent publications include “Yeatsian: Numberless Dreamers,” The Encyclopedia Project, 2014, “Here,” Lost Magazine, and “Idiom: Woodbird Flies Early,” The Encyclopedia Project. Her dissertation, “Murdoch: the Mandala Maker,” was presented at Kingston University’s Iris Murdoch Conference (2006), London. At the most recent Murdoch Conference, she performed a multi-media excerpt from a work-in-progress entitled “The Forgotten Man,” inspired by Murdoch’s philosophical writings. She is under contract for a memoire entitled “Astonishment: A Litany of the Uncanny.”

Tell us your dreams. Dreams are accepted by the editorial staff on the basis of aesthetics. That said, there are certain topics that will not be considered. Extremely violent or pornographic dreams will not be accepted on any basis so please do not submit them.

All dreams must have three components:

1) a title

2) a number of no more than 20 characters (subject to a request to reconsider if that number is already used)

3) your name as you wish it to appear

Dreams may be any length.

Please submit dreams in an attached word document only. If you, as the dreamer, are also a visual artist, you are invited to send one companion image in the form of an attached jpeg of a file size of no larger than 250k (no compressed files). If you are not a visual artist but feel a drawing you have done of the dream deepens the experience of it, please follow the guidelines for submission of an image above. In both cases, please specify if you are willing to publish the text without the image.