The artist sat at his desk, determined to emote his thoughts onto paper. After moments of reflection and a few snifters of cheap whiskey, inspiration struck the young poet, and Cameron Dietz lowered his pen to the notebook before him. He ignored the doodles in the margins of appreciated scenes from the past and began writing. As was his method, he began in prose to describe literally the thoughts in his mind. However, a peculiar sensation began to take hold. The scenes of nature which he described began appearing before him, as though a hologram on his cheap, glass, department store desk.
In the thousands of hours Cam practiced this particular hobby, he had never experienced such an occurrence. He noticed that the more detailed his prose, the more vivid the scene before him. He began to describe impressive views that he had not yet seen, hoping to bring to life new horizons from his imagination. He began to create his own world. Curiosity loomed in Cameron’s mind. He wondered about the effect writing in verse might have on these ambitions visions. He conjured visions of the Italian Riviera, which he had never witnessed in person but always admired.
“The rooftops bled with colors o’er the plaster walls
Painting a fresco masterpiece, like the Arroscia falls
Olives formed around the bank
A monument for ships that sank.
Coasts of Genoa, Imperia, and Sestri Levante
In front of the mountains of Corsica do flaunt–”
Thud! Cameron’s forehead struck his desk as he awoke. His dream was so lucid that it seemed like reality. His poetry had granted him the ability to stand in Portofino and cast his eyes over sapphire seas. He could still feel the Ligurian spray on the nape of his neck. And yet it was fading.
He brought his pen to paper and rewrote what he had dreamt, but the intense experience had vanished. He consulted his girlfriend of four years, Lydia, with his concerns.
“I’ve never felt such a euphoria. I must dream this way again!” He pled.
She, a talented tattoo artist, had often contemplated the power of lucid dreams. She always assumed that the greatest inspiration for artwork stemmed from the ethereal. “Keep a dream journal; write down your most immediate memories when you wake.” She advised. She hoped her behavioral science learnings would pay off.
They tried this ritual for months, among others. He ingested melatonin before slumber and limited his caffeine intake to no avail. Just as it began to seem he would never recapture the Heaven that he had discovered, he found himself in control of his subconscious reality. In truth, he lied peacefully in his bed, but his dream state had become clay for molding.
He knew what he desired and materialized his writing desk before him. His excitement proved too much, unfortunately, and it aroused him from his sleep. He awoke in despair. “I’ll try anything!” he implored. “No artist has ever suffered who has not had the means for creation in front of him but could not reach it. Only God could know the frustration of ultimate power being shattered before Him.”
Lydia looked at her lover with pity. Internally, she would have given up on such a vexing dilemma. But she vowed to help him achieve his goal. Swallowing their moral dignity, they sought out illicit substances. They tried ever permutation of drug they could think of that would not have too dastardly consequences. Lydia remained sober and supervised her boyfriend. Time and time again, his attempt at enlightenment was thwarted. But like Siddhartha, Cameron waded through many different currents until he transcended the mundane.
His ultimate goal, of course, was to weave a tapestry like he had before, in his dream. He had never maintained such an alluring power, and he could not resist pursuing it. Lydia suppressed her fear, hoping the realization of his dream would quell the young poet’s ambition. Finally, through a delicate combination of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin, and sparing formaldehyde, Dietz realized his objective. Everything was perfect. He had total, lucid control, and he began remaking the long sought after vision.
He laid the desk before him and took pen to paper, writing with feverish determination. His experience was cathartic. He wrote about his beauty, the captivating Lydia. In contrast to his original phenomenon, no visions sprang before him, but this did not disappoint him. Instead, as he wrote, a magnificent concerto played for him. Each line caused another beautiful measure to ring in his ears. He was writing what was sure to be his masterpiece. But as his high drove on, he could not help but notice a sense of foreboding. With every word, foreboding transitioned to fear, though he could not rationalize it. Toward the end, his fear had descended to terror, but on his final verse he passed into a peaceful sleep.
When he awoke, the orchestra of his imagination had turned into desperate screams. The pen with which he wrote the poem had reformed into a paring knife. His ink had turned to blood. The paper to flesh. And his beautiful Lydia lay beneath his knees, her face contorted into a horrific grimace. He reeled back in terror; yet he still clung to the last few flowing moments of his drug induced trip. He finalized his poem upon his own breast, uniting him with his love in a morbid romance.
“She belongs with poppies in the field, to bring us blissful sleep
And every dream she brings gives us wonder I refrain, when I see her still, the compulsion to leap
She leaves the foremost dreams behind her
And even though Celestial rays fall upon this girl
She walks as though the heavens can’t compare
Lydia’s eyes hold more sunshine than the most effervescent pearl
The deepest pit cannot hide you from their stare
And I’d rather face the consequence of allowing us to die
Than imagine all the hopelessness of every time you cry.”