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↑ Vantage pt for Jay Levine at tippity top of crow's nest before he jumped.

Das Boot: the first and perhaps most profound of the Dreamscape categories in that it describes not only the day-to-day adventures of a Caribbean escape, but also a moment that was much of a fulcrum or a rubicon for everyone involved, both a gathering and a dispersal. They were all twenty-four or twenty-five years old, an age where everything in the past seems like prologue and the next turned page is where the story really begins. There was a lot of debate about what comes next: plans hatched, destinies reconsidered. And soon after: Sebastian heading for Brazil, Christoph to Argentina, Helene to New Zealand, our pal Jayson and Natalie both to New York City. And the more we studied these pages, the stronger the urge became to apply allegory and deeper significance to everything that was written. And although 'reality' strongly resists such neat and tidy structuring, nonetheless here it is.

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Das Boot i (25/33)

December 22, 1990

Choose a different dreamscape

Courtesy Cristoph Alias, 1990

Today I forever secured my name in the annals of St. Alamé fame by becoming the first human to willfully leap from the upper circle of the crow’s nest (feet ON the upper circle, mind you) down down down into the warm and frothy Carribean. I guess the most interesting element of the whole process pertains to the courage + fear topics touched upon earlier. While in the crow’s nest, days before, I saw that it was possible; that I had, in fact, hurled myself from higher. It was then that I unconsciously formulated my intent. But it turned out that nobody had done it before. This I found unnerving, especially given the gallivanting, adventurizing, intrepid Alias clan of daredevils. But I wanted to do it. I knew I could do it. I began a series of visualizations: one, my favorite, of Kiefer Sutherland in Flatliners: Early morning, camera approaches across water to where his character stands in front of a neo-Roman temple. Zoom to closeup of his face: ambiguous smile, he gazes across the water, toward the rising sun, toward the viewer, says: “Today is a good day to die.” Very dramatic. I understand that Japanese warriors would say the same thing before battle. Maybe it was Native American warriors. Probably many warriors of historical merit. Anyway, my version paralleled this except that instead of the Roman temple, I stand on the deck of the St. Alamé and I say either: “Today is a good day to die,” OR, “Today is a good day to jump off the mast.” Maybe both. Or I think both at any rate. I also envisioned the climb; holding on to the wire that links the masts; the leap itself. In my visualization, I wasn’t sure if anyone watched or not. It seemed equally satisfying either way. So today I woke up and took a swim and by breakfast I had that bad taste of fear of an act of courage that I had no reason to achieve but that I knew would cause me deep distress if abandoned. So, I did it. First I observed Sebastian shivering uncharacteristically from the first spreader before he leaped. Then I climbed, like I pictured, up up up… twice as high as the spreader… more. I stood on the metal loop. It was fucking high. A full 50 feet above the water? With the deck of the ship swaying beneath me. Every wave amplified by the height and rigidity of the mast. I leapt.

Um… point being that my visualization pulled me through the difficult, and so often self-defeating, decision period. I had already decided. I was going. I went. It was actually a pretty damn triumphant and satisfying moment.

Right now we motor through the night, away from St. Vincent toward the airport at St. Lucia and Nattie’s 7am departure. The ship bucks and rumbles full diesel power through the swells. No wind to sail. Too hard to write. Remind me to expound upon glimpses of Aliasé life which this trip has afforded me…

  1. Approaching a town at night.
  2. Weight and heft of a sturdy ship.
  3. Fish through open hatch disrupts lessons.
  4. Etc
  5. Glow of instruments as father charts course through the night.

But for now the table + my book and my pen jumps and shivers w/every wave. For now I rest my head in light repose and anticipate my call to steer through the night.


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