A detailed diary of Wictor’s (Ghosts and Ballyhoo: Memoirs of a Failed L.A. Music Journalist, 2013, etc.) surreal dreams and nightmares, which reflect his dysfunctional love life and personal demons as a struggling LA music journalist.
Wictor covered the music scene in 1990s Los Angeles amid a tumultuous personal life and health issues that left him feeling vulnerable, pained and angry. During this period, he suffered many lucid dreams—more like nightmares—that his remarkable memory allowed him to preserve in print. His subconscious is particularly active; he even claims to have experienced the rare phenomenon of lucid sleepwalking. But this, the third volume in his loosely linked Ghost Trilogy, is less scientific self-diagnosis than immersion into the weird narratives and tableaux he’s recovered, with minor introductory notes about the events—failed and toxic love affairs, an intimidating Bass Player assignment to interview formidable rock legend Gene Simmons—that inspired the “nightmare clusters.” With the grotesqueries of a Chuck Palahniuk plot, Wictor writes of committing murder (or being murdered himself; usually knives are involved); ill-fated reunions with shape-shifting ex-girlfriends; disasters such as floods, plane crashes and giant carnivorous bats; his articles appearing illegible and bastardized; and his behaving in an infantile or out-of-character manner to entertain some unseen audience. In spite of the dreamer’s clear distress at the time, some of the dreams are horrific, a few are poignant, others, laugh-out-loud hilarious. Themes of failure and humiliation, self-loathing and frustrated helplessness strike universal chords, though showbiz celebrity cameos (Bill Cosby, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Thompson, a miniaturized Sean Connery, Charlie Sheen in hell) are a bit further afield. Readers intrigued by bizarre, Inception-style voyeurism of a well-traveled writer/musician’s innermost recesses should dare venture into this Nightmare on Wictor Street.
Remembered, surreal dreams become the prose equivalent of Salvador Dali paintings and films.