A Ziggy Fumar Foreword
As the astute reader undoubtedly knows by now, John Andrew Blake and myself, as well as the writer here presented, Chuck Richardson, have come to be known as “Psychedelic-Anarcho-Fictionists.” Although I would argue against such labeling, I must confess that PAF does indeed seem to describe Richardson’s work in general, and, if not, Dreamlands in particular.
Let me explain.
It would be a mistake if we read Dreamlands as a direct manifestation of Richardson’s unconscious, transcribed into a dream journal over a number of years of foggy waking moments. Richardson was awake while he wrote this book. What else should I say? Nothing, I suppose. But the art of the whole damned thing isn’t so much that it’s the dream itself re-presented, but the process of rendering it which seems somewhat symmetrical, which is to also say somewhat asymmetrical, with the way his unconscious mind might have originally went about unfolding or blooming the original experience. Dreamlands seems an effect resulting from behaving like its cause. Meanwhile, its totality, perhaps, seems to disagree with the original dream…functioning as a response to the stimulus antagonizing it. So one begins by jotting down the details as the sleep still crusts one’s eyelids, jotting them down then writing them over and over again until the original fungi or gist of their sensation re-emerges, the raised child of that parent, mushrooming as if it were rendered by something said in the process…somewhere down the line...back in the day, perhaps…and thar t’is, here we go…we hast seen the white whale.
Spike Jones Jr., according to my poker buddy Tom Pynchon, once said: “When you replace a C-sharp with a gunshot, it has to be a C-sharp gunshot or it sounds awful.”
Now, you might ask, and I hear you: How would I know if the C-sharp dream became a C-sharp text if I weren’t there with Chuck in his dream dreaming it along with him….?...or maybe I was…through the words becoming a text…It seems to me that through writing Dreamlands, Richardson hoped to discharge his full mind., meaning he had to find ways of undermining his innately egocentric creative process of telling the same old familiar stories about himself. And the most tried and true way to rid himself of these stale tales was the pursuit of an objective process that would only render the elements of dreams and not the details he made up or falsely re-membered, out of convenience, but a process that purposely absents them in a sometimes brutal, but always rigorous, fashion. This means his “ego” functioned as it should have, at the end, trying to put the pieces together in a way that somehow resembled a capacity to respond and feel external stimuli and what might be good and/or bad about them based on the apparent effects they seem to cause, in other words a sensibility, or the implied possibility thereof…
Consider the opening of “counterclockwise:”
The text is the unknown, or ambiguous quantity we’re seeking…The text when combined with its apparent intention (Y) equals “me.” That is, the “me” (usually the reader-writer) engaged with the text defines the text’s intention. Each “me” will likely uncover a different intent from the text when engaging it…From this formula we can also deduce that if one subtracts the text’s intention from the self, all that remains is the text…Therefore (of course), if one subtracts the text from the self what remains is pure intention. What we have here is a formula relating the text and its intention with the identity of the individual engaging with it…78
Richardson, luckily for us, seems to have been undaunted by the quixotic nature of such a task because he doesn’t take anything too seriously. To take something too seriously would imply, indeed require, too much ego…too much insistence. Richardson is fond of saying “insist on nothing, including non-insistence.” That which is taken too seriously is absented. What’s left is a fiction-centered creative process that under-stands reality as a fictional mode methodically deployed by awareness to transmigrate itself from sense to sensibility…from flesh to spirit…from slavery to freedom.
From “Mid-December 20—:”
If your attitude is good, and there’s reason to believe it is, I mean, you’re here aren’t you…if you’re attitude is good life has no limits, experience can have no bounds, we can get outside these suits of flesh and see our human existence as a midway transition between fields of infinite pain and pleasure. Your body, E, gives you the freedom and opportunity for spiritual evolution. Human life is necessarily intense. 76
One’s world is the way one goes about looking at one’s world, and the way one looks at one’s world depends upon one’s perceived situation, and one’s perceived situation relies on the stories one’s been telling one’s self up to that point. So, one’s world is one’s ego and to change one’s ego is to change one’s world. That’s how we humans can make a heap of sense out of nothing, and Dreamlands seems a way of re-membering it…how to make a heap of sense out of nothing.
From “Mid-December 20—:”
And many things are heading our way, rising from the seafloor, enlightened of their burden. The heavenly light is like a baby farting in a tub. Bubbles of joy rising and bursting as he does it again and again. The lightness is your joy. It has limited itself for your pleasure. It has densified for your feeling. And yet you feel it hiding from you with each passing evolution, each veil that covers it with a new form, and the farting continues but you’re lost in bubbles, milky ways of divine gas, and for a moment it sees itself, you seeing yourself in its translucent luster, infinite possibilities of its seminal trace are invading you, each a delight of discovery. As each bubble bursts a new one emerges, and you look and see yourself reflected upon each one, inside being something rarefied yet common. We can smell it. The bubbles burst, their voids nullified by cosmic plasma—the sea’s bombardment. The cycle of fulfillment goes round and round in the farting sea bubbles. I’m a churning bubble, the same as any other. 46
Richardson views writing [and reading] as a revolutionary act. And Dreamlands functions as a history of that revolution. For PAF to be PAF, it must seam various revolutions together. His rebellion—brace yourselves, gentle readers—takes the form of weaving a series of dreamscapes sewn together via uncommon, shifting [that is fluid] punctuation, syntax, grammar, etc. & et al, forming the flesh and air of the dreams’ focused emotions, vibrating fictional undertones with poetic riptides wringing out the connotative ambiguities between what Richardson actually dreamt and what Chuck really wrote [sic]. Dreamlands renders, if nothing else, the feeling of how meaningless the human world seems outside of its context situated within the inhuman world, which includes all forms of non-human mind making up the fabric of life on Earth. No me-centered rules of behavior-writing seems adequate to capture even the slightest gist of what Richardson’s pursuing in Dreamlands: the essence of mind behavior Itself. Yet he somehow manages to do just that, in my opinion, though I can’t say exactly how:
Remember…always remember and never forget the Tibetan pacification of the Mongols. That’s the plan to do it with. Everybody gets a monk’s education. Nobody gets by anymore without being able to exhibit some degree of literary and philosophical creativity. No more skaters. Time to get their priorities straight. They can get started by quitting their jobs and devoting their free time to meditation. When they’re awake they’re to engage in festivals and dances and make traditions of them to pass their time in harmony with God.
What I can say is it seems Richardson’s looking for a true perception and criticism of humankind’s ongoing worldwide slaughter of organisms and the ripping apart of the global viscera, the planet’s organic fascia or web of life. Richardson’s Dreamlands meets the destructive and demoralizing ways of the American-Political-Economic-System head-on by committing literary sacrilege against the APES’s prevailing dogma of corporate libertarianism, which seeks to re-create global, national, regional, local, spatial and personal boundaries as corporate borders [eg: incorporated boundaries…as cells in a body…working], where only incorporated persons, that is workers, are allowed to exist, function and/or travel-learn-communicate. The rest will be expunged like alien interlopers who might do us harm…or not. Too many lurking threats could certainly be defined as a “nightmare scenario.” Dreamlands sounds like that mouse in the wall when you’re trying to sleep:
I hope I have my usual room. You need some sleep before you start tonight. Dreamless sleep. If only you could pray. If there was only a personal god you could believe in. Don’t kid yourself. You can’t. But it would be nice to pray. Nice to hope. You’ll have to live with this the rest of your life. Praying only deludes you, dilutes your pain. Pushes it off on something, someone else. It’s yours. It belongs to you. And you may as well get used to it. You’ll be having this dream for as long as you live. You even saw it coming. You knew you’d let them down. You knew you weren’t man enough to take care of them. The way they required. Not you. No. It would have been an answer to their prayers. That’s not you. You’re a killer. Mid-December, 70
As a work of Psychedelic-Anarcho-Fiction, Dreamlands should, as should all of Richardson’s work, if we are a species worthy of it, become as fundamental to our daily existence as cave painting and sculpture and oral traditions were in the primitive societies of our dead ancestors. Richardson doesn’t type out best sellers hoping to generate material wealth. He seams beneath that.
Reader, you have on this screen before you an e-text created by someone who feels the internet is a doomed Tower of Babel about to be abandoned due to babble [eg: Yogi Berra’s “Nobody goes there; it’s always too crowded”], or a Library of Alexandria situation where all the files and URLs are about to be erased by DARPA. When the string holding the sword over Damocles finally snaps, this electronic mandala will dissolve. For now, Dreamlands seams part of our daily fabric.
In the meantime, you might want to print this out, just in case…
Walla Walla, Washington