Dreaming the Twilight Zone

Posted by E Halsey Miles on March 12, 2007 - 9:02am.

Last night I dreamt something that could well have passed for a twilight zone episode. Of course, it contained a fair bit of Dream Logic, (which in my mind is that events immediately past and immediately future have no need for correlation at all, but it is convenient when they do so).

The main character of this dream was an older, but not quite greying man. He is a writer and a widower, and in the long years since his wife died he had spiralled down into despair. His writing reflected this, but his ability is such that he was heralded for his powerful imagery.

Since the death of his wife, he had become obsessed with three other authors who had also written very powerful stuff, and then at the peak of their careers had committed suicide, each of them leaving an abbreviated work of their potential.

He, too, often pondered suicide, but years went by and he wa s never able to carry it through. He often would go to the rim of a canyon out in the desert and stare down at the distant river, and try to will himself to jump. But he never did, and he always returned to his life, his writing, and his obsession.

So great was his obsession and so great was his own despair that, over time, he started seeing those authors, as though they were living people. Eventually he forgot who they really were and started imagining they were contemporaries, and that he had a writer's group with them.

Over time, the imaginary characters gave him hints as to who they were, and he questioned them all in great detail at their meetings, trying to understand why everything about them seemed so terribly strange. At their final writer's meeting, which took place at the top of a cliff where our main character was fond of camping, he finally figured it all out. They told him who they were, why they had done what they had, and why they were all ashamed that they had robbed the world of their unwritten works by killing themselves too early. They talked him out of jumping. They gave him something to live for again.

Of course, being a dream that was clearly in the twilight zone, just as they disappear from his vision and he feels confident he won't need to meet them again, he falls from the cliff and dies.

While not part of the dream, I can easily imagine Rod Serling walking in front of the little tent and campfire he had made, telling us that the police would find his journal and rule it a suicide. That the world would never know the truth of what happened, and that his unwritten works -- like the author she admired so much -- could only be read in the Twilight Zone.

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