Lake Absorbs Knife

(A dream vignette based on a dream I had before getting any of my weirdly extreme/extremely weird, ‘Canadian writing’ published–not in Canada so far interestingly, it strikes me now, just in Germany, the UK and the States):

Emmanuel clambered down the embankment—the fastest way in—to the backyard, where the party was in full swing. He felt himself to be like a breeze blowing in, joining the whirlwind, the dust devil of the party, immediately blending in and mingling with them, popping a beer.

Shortly after he arrived, he noticed several closer friends seeming to circle around him in the way they positioned themselves in the crowd, while conveying by their body language a subtle message, as if they’d planned in advance some code to communicate with, like hunters in a jungle using sign language and bird calls, so as not to startle the prey. He didn’t actually make verbal contact with any of them, except for Micah who of course he connected with, since it was Micah’s party.

Eventually Emmanuel found himself in the kitchen, now nursing his second beer. There was that crowded party atmosphere of people flitting around, a haunted, frenetic inebriation, frothy champagne communing with itself.

He felt him first. There was a wave of unsettling force, welling up inwardly on the one hand, and at the same time coming from the door leading to the hall.

Joshua entered.

All the subtle cues from his friends came to a kind of point in Emmanuel’s mind and emotions, stirring up a complex tangle of inner trajectories. He wanted to continue the light mood he’d been enjoying since entering, yet due to the warnings and to his past experiences with Joshua, he was bracing, with a sort of ‘inner poker face balancing act’, for one of Joshua’s penetrating attacks, preparing actively not to react.

At first it seemed Joshua would just walk past in a fierce flow of haughty energy, letting the burnt bridgeness between them resolve itself, in this instance, as a cold, brief acknowledgement, before moving on quickly.

But then he stopped, turned to Emmanuel. He felt the room also bracing itself, everyone half listening, casting their attention toward them, while continuing their current fraternizing focuses.

At this point a few peculiar perceptual events took place.

Joshua, in a flash, seemed to alter his form in Emmanuel’s eyes, becoming, in mannerisms and even in physical appearance, to be like an old woman. To say he had become like a ‘scolding’ woman, would not do justice to the complexity of Joshua’s manifestation, to the depth of history also conveyed between them, in every fraction of a second. But there was something like that present; Joshua became like an old woman who presumed with intense emotional fierceness, self-justification, and righteousness, to have a say in Emmanuel’s life, regarding Emmanuel’s character. It was this sort of aggressively intimate, convoluted energy that Emmanuel had poised for.

He managed to remain neutral.

Also peculiar, was how Joshua reached out with his wine glass, and kind of hooked Emmanuel’s own, beer-holding hand and arm. He didn’t touch Emmanuel’s arm or his drink, but the energetic action of it was such that Emmanuel experienced it as a thrust into his personal energy field, as an opening up of a line of contact, in a certain clever sense—like a martial arts move.

This too was part of what Emmanuel had prepared for. He remained on his horse.

Then Joshua unleashed a volley of paragraphs. It didn’t appear directly to be a criticism. It was more complex than that–the nuance of his manoeuver consisted of a misdirection such that Joshua wasn’t, by his verbal content, overtly criticising Emmanuel, but by the way he said it–‘speaking on behalf of the collective’–he was allusively indicating that Emmanuel had sadly fallen short of this inarguable artistic commentary. So it had the character of a pronouncement with the clout of the collective will behind it, the collective opinion; it borrowed of that wider power signature, as in “This is the way things are objectively, as everyone agrees,” with the added sense of it being a highly elite and intelligent view that only could be formulated and understood by the very intelligent. It was something like a presentation of extremes, of poles of expression, which then looped the attention into ‘a middle’, to a kind of vacuum-like centre–‘the perfect area’–against which no one could argue, thereby conveying the inexorable conclusion that “Canadian Writing Is Too Extreme…”

Emmanuel knew enough not to react to this complexity, to just see it for what it was, and let it defeat itself, thereby countering Joshua’s literary kung fu with his own non-manoeuver of ‘lake lets knife sink to bottom’.

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