Saturday, February 16, 2013

Barcelona journal: Building a City of Life and Death

Barcelona, Spain

On Wednesday morning, after the Battle of the Barbican, I walked in the sun and took the metro to see Gaudi's unfinished cathedral, La Sagrada Familia. In the park opposite this amazing pile, I met a headless man, impeccably dressed. He came alive enough to whistle for a tip when I took his picture. Keeping one’s head can be quite a trick in Barcelona, but there are those who manage to get by without one.
      In the afternoon, I was buried alive. 

I have been buried alive. I agreed for this to be done as some kind of experiment that I myself may have initiated. I am lying now in a coffin-sized chamber of hardened earth. I tap on the roof above me when I decide I've been in here long enough. No one responds. Can they really not hear me? The earth above me is only a few inches thick. I am going to cry out, nervous now. Instead, I find a way to get myself out, maybe just by pushing really hard.

I woke feeling cheerful, even triumphant, and greatly restored in my body. I smiled at the mirror function of the dream. I recognize that I have a tendency to get myself into some holes without checking how to get out!

For most of the night that followed, in the default reality of my dreaming mind, I am writing while listening to an inner voice narrating the kind of book you can live inside. As the narrative goes on, and I continue to create in concert with my inner voice, a great city takes form all around me, its architecture stranger than Gaudi's.
     In this City of Life and Death, travelers step back and forth easily between different dimensions. 
There are doors through which veteran travelers can step back and forth between life and death, whenever they like. There are clothing stores with impossible price tags, or no prices at all, where those who make an arrangement with a private shopper can change into different bodies as easily as regular people change clothes.Like the living statues of Barcelona, they can shift without warning from suspended animation to elegant acrobatics.

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