What if a certain citizen from Porlock never interrupted Samuel Taylor Coleridge? Would our vision of Xanadu be any different? Would Khan himself be a richer character, instead of an afterthought to the magnificent setting of Xanadu? Would the Abyssinian muse inspire the author to greater heights of creativity?
We will never know.
Such are the unfortunate questions surrounding the poem Kubla Khan.
Coleridge, in the preface to his creative masterpiece, insisted that his poem was only a partial offering of a dream that came to him in a opium stooper. He claims that he was only a tenth of the way through transcribing his thoughts when a visitor from Porlock interrupted him. After an hour of talking, he went back to his desk, apparently, and the vision/dream was gone.
Luckily, the dream did yield 54 lines of beautiful poetry, 30 of which are a direct response to his subconscious escapade.
The lesson learned in this week’s musings: ignore the doorbell the next time you are transcribing your dreams in your dream journal. You might be gaining an invaluable key to your subconscious, or possibly setting the keystone for a creative magnum opus.
Sleep well and dream with intent.