The Angel’s Dream: Clinical Dissociation or Heaven on Earth?

Time for me to invent a new phrase and then demand that the Internet help me understand it. Some really weird brain shit used to happen to me when I was a kid. When you’re a kid, you don’t get to choose where you go and what you do and what happens. Sometimes, shit isn’t so good, and there’s no way out. Different kids have different ways of coping, to use a painfully banal platitude — I wish someone would jump in the window and machine gun writers when we type shit like that; it would be a better world — and some of mine were kind of strange, but… good.

For instance, from time to time, I felt I had so little control over anything horrible that was happening that my brain shorted out and went elsewhere. Psychologists call this “disassociation,” I guess, but that would imply that it’s neutral or unpleasant. Actually, it was the best feeling of my life. I called it the angel’s dream because that’s what it felt like. I went into the angel’s dream and everything was beautiful. It was so long ago that it’s hard to describe.

You were sucked into a heaven of creativity and pleasure; you had no body, just a cloud of interest. You got the feeling that there was some sort of plotline going on somewhere, but you were’t the focus of it; you were an observer, of the very most privileged kind. That’s another reason I called it the angel’s dream: some angel was having a dream, and you were a minor character. An extra in a musical in a better world. You were an extra so far removed from the heavenly plotline that you didn’t know what the main characters were doing; yet somehow it meant more than anything you’d even read.

It came from suffering, but it was the best thing I’ve ever known. I taught myself to induce this state even when things were OK, when I was just sitting in the car bored or able to be alone. OK, there was probably some shrieking or argument going on, but did it touch me? Not in the angel’s dream.

I thought this was a permanent feature of life, which is probably why I was much more optimistic as a child than as an adult.

But you know what they say about nothing gold. Oh, it’s true. Nothing gold can stay. It leaks away and laughs at you as it goes.

As the brain plates did their hardening thing and sex came along to steal my libido to try to make more of me instead of making better of me, I started to lose my ability to enter this state. (I tried SO hard to never become a sexual being, which is probably why I have such a hard time falling in lust.)

Damn, that was shocking. It must have been funny to an outside observer, watching me try to get the Angel’s Dream back. I ran after it with comical desperation, joining the cross-country team and trying to literally run my way back into it during high school. Then, winded and ready for new tactics, I threw bottles of beer and vodka at it, running slower and more sloppily as it laughed in its easy sprint away. More vodka? That ended up merely ruining my own already dodgy social development in the process. It went and won’t come back.

Science, can you help me?

I can’t get it back. But I at least want to know what it was.

Goodle searches just keep talking about that disassociation bullshit. NO, this was MARVELOUS and does not need to be healed, it mneeds to me made lifelong!

I’ve tried the two people I know who are most likely to also experience the angel’s dream:

Carlos Yu, who is about the only person I met in late adolescence — the time when the Angel’s Dream finally died—who hasn’t either croaked or moved into some shithole suburb to drink his way through a living death. (Well, Brendan O’Mara and Rimmer are alive but it’s like pulling teeth geting a word from you bastards, and Lyman and Shaun aren’t hard to explain because they’re forces of nature.) I’ve always wondered why he and I are the ones who made it.

Carlos immediately came to mind because I’ve been wondering for some time why neither he nor I have died. What has kept the two of us alive when so many of the people we knew who had that “Wisconsinite-type yet kinda bohemian-temperamented” background drank themselves to death or threw themselves down the stairs before they were even old enough to run for president? Maybe the Angel’s Dream was the common factor. Maybe it’s a rare quirk, some gene we both got that makes lemons into ethereal wonder.

The other was Anita Dalton, the only serious critic who seems to even know my books exist, so she must be crazy too. I asked them both about it and didn’t get the OH YEAH ME TOO OH MY GOD responses I was hoping for, although they did seem to immediately grasp more or less what Iwas thinking of; we did get some interesting work done that I’m not sure whether I should share with the public (if either of them want to give me permission, please contact me; when I talked to them, I didn’t really have a public discussion of the results in mind so did not ask permission). The response was fun and friendly but no angels appeared blowing trumpets like I’d hoped.

So I’m opening it up to surprise candidates. Who hears “Angel’s Dream” and it clicks? Clicks and explodes and blows the doors to heaven back open, wide open, calling us in with the sweetness of serotonin that you can swim in, pools of innocent pleasure that hurt no one and turn every desire to magic clay, waiting for us to roll in it and mold it to make things that are just beyond my mortal grown-up booger bag of an imagination? Who knows how to tke the songs of innocence and the songs of experience and mix them up to symphony of this is it, this is who we were meant to be? I was just about to stupidly give out my email but hey, there’s a whole comments section below.

Fill it with revelations.

Who else has entered the Angel’s Dream? Who has any fucking idea what I’m talking about? And please, please, please tell me you figured out how to get back there. PLEASE TELL ME HOW YOU GET BACK THERE.

Or at least tell me what scientists call it. Maybe it’s like depression: they can’t fix it, but they can give you some more comfortingly precise bullshit about it.