As a young man, I spent all of 1974 traveling through Europe. Iceland, Ireland, England, the Netherlands, France, Hungary … all the usual and unusual suspects.
During my six weeks in Ireland, I acquired a girlfriend—that was lovely. I was pulled off the night train, passing through some Soviet bloc country in the dead of night, and questioned as to what sort of “writer” I was—that was less lovely. (And the books I had with me, probably Eric Ambler spy novels, were confiscated.) In Paris, there was a moment in a museum café … well, you get the idea.
It was a year spent on the International Bohemian Highway, breathing, looking, eating cheap caviar in Budapest, learning about class in London (I was not of the right class), and looking generally outlandish in my purple parka.
It was a year in a dream state. We are hungry for that dream state, which is almost impossible to acquire nowadays, with so much unavoidable noise, so much tumult, so much activity, so much to do. No meditation practice or walk in nature can produce that place of deep dreaming, that month-long reverie on nothing in particular, as your train passes through Communist East Germany and men with dogs examine you and your fellow travelers pull out sausages and pickles and you fall asleep dreaming about who-knows-what, but of course with a novel percolating.
I am hoping that the new Eric Maisel Community that I’m organizing serves us a little in this regard: that it supports this dreaming. Not the dreaming of Jung, that leads to a mandala, or the dreaming of Freud, that makes you wonder if a cigar is a cigar, or the dreaming of cognitive scientists, curious about which part of your brain is firing as you think about pancakes, but the dreaming of … artists.
Any sort of artist, even—maybe especially—the spectacularly strange ones. When were you last the spectacularly strange artist you might have been? When have you dreamed a month way, crossing from Buda to Pest and from Pest to Buda over a bridge that has seen just about everything? When did you last experience that sort of dream?
Will we have that in the new Eric Maisel Community? Could be. Who knows. (I am guessing that you are now humming Something’s Coming from West Side Story.) Life without that dream is a rat race. With it, it can be spectacular.
[Come see if the new Eric Maisel Community is for you. Learn more here.]