August 23, 2009
THE SLEEPER AWAKENS
I'm still not sure what this means. I have been rehaunted by Dune for a while now. I picked up the book again for no reason I can put my finger on and read random sections of it, gradually compelled to read more and more.
I went to hospital on my own. I felt alone and unloved as everyone around me had partners and family with them. I picked up the book and started fairly near the end and read for three hours while I was changed into an operating gown and was given a wristband with my name and date of birth on it.
In the operating theatre with strangers around me I put on a brave face but in such a sterile environment I have never experienced before, I felt I had come to this moment at this point in my life without any love or security which was very sobering. I had felt earlier that I had better admit my past usage of Ketamine to The Anaesthetist just in case it made a difference, and she was joking with me about it as she injected me.
"When I give it to children, they tend to do what I tell them."
As the drug started working I was telling them the price of K in chemists in India. One of the nurses was from India and she was telling me about a temple or maybe a mosque in East London.
I woke up, surprised at how good I was feeling. I asked the nurse who was watching the batch of patients I was part of if I could carry on reading my book. Seeing that I was obviously making a quick recovery she summoned a porter to move me into the next room.
I felt energy seem to return to me quickly, or it might have been surprise at how little the anaesthetic seemed to affect me. I got out of bed and asked if I could go to the toilet. I passed families in caring modes around beds. I didn't know how to react. I just felt luckier than their relatives. When I got back I was given my clothes and was allowed to sit in my chair.
Eventually my ex turned up to collect me.
"Do you want your results?" asked the nurse.
All clear. Good to hear after a hard three months not smoking anything waiting for this moment. I left the hospital feeling lucky. I am not in a hurry to start smoking again.
I thought I was OK but almost walked into a bollard outside. We jumped on the bus home and I walked a lot of the way feeling fine. At home I cut off my wristband and rested. I carried on with Dune between dozes and by the time I got to the end I was hardly able to focus on the words. For the last few days I have felt fine but had to sleep a lot. A friend and her two year old have been to visit which has been nice.
The whole Dune thing seeped further and further in. The story always revisits me for a reason and I don't know this time what the reason is. A friend lent me The boxed DVD which had some additional material and put the film in a different context.
I saw this film when it came out before I read the book and loved it. It spoke to me.
"The Sleeper Awakens".
I just got it. I only heard years latter than it was panned by the critics and bombed commercially.
Rereading a book written in 1965 now, in 2009 what jumps out in todays context is the references to Jihad- The Fremen being desert people on a Holy War. There is even mention of The Shariah and the name The Fremen give the hero Paul Artreides is Usul, or the base of the pyramid. Al- Qaeda means "The base". Although one of the fremen is involved in a suicide bombing of sorts it is not directed against random strangers.
After drinking a fair bit of the French farmers Calvados I finally got round to watching the film again tonight, searching for the new meaning I am supposed to find on this pass.
"Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken."
But what? How?