Greetings from the great state of Impermeable Sleeptitude. If you're just joining me I was needlessly explaining the significance to some of the familiar faces--folks for whom my insomnia has bred excuse-making and concerns over purple clouds having left shadows on the eyes, of the solid granite paperweights in the form of repeating Z's lying atop the level surfaces in the bedroom. At a glance it looks like a quixotic art project, which is why up til now I have never even mentioned the presence of these stone formations. And only now it is with the mounting agitation of finally acknowledging an elephant in the room. The less that is made of it the better.
Be patient, as the recurring dream about Gogol is about to start. In it he explains how beet-related gas emissions caused an ejection from a ladies' house in Dikanka (down one flight of stairs, the momentum from which rolled him across a brief parquet and to a landing, which upon reaching continued his descent until he was met by the humorless substance called: Dikanka). It comes back to me fairly often, even for a recurring dream. I think the reason is because his narrative grasps at all the most-often disparate though seemingly compatible elements of self-consciousness: his sexuality, his body awkwardness, and his propensity to turn the search for happiness into misfired, if innocuous, slapstick.
The anecdote I tell him isn't as thrilling, one about meeting Tanya Donnelly and thinking for sure we're gonna hook up, but then we don't. It's Washington D.C., probably around 1994 or 95. He rightly points out that it doesn't matter when or where it happens. People like to add that such and such was based on a true story, mostly because it seems, in the hindsight of invention, like it didn't happen.
Even now I wonder if I don't keep having the same dream over and over til I figure it out where the wishbone snaps in perfect halves, and I say just the right thing, and leave out the part about Washington D.C. and the year.