writing about my life

The Hyperbolic Hotel

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fri 13 Mar 2015

Dear Steve,

as you know I am prone to an unusual mental ailment, that presences come to me and talk to me. Usually they are presences of people I know, but sometimes historical figures too.

I have struggled and struggled with this. For more than a decade I simply tried to shut down the experience and ignore the presences. Now however I have a different attitude. I listen to them… commune with them. They are not going to go away out of my life anyway so this seems to be a wiser kind of acceptance.

The art is to suspend disbelief about the unreality of the presences. Before for all those years I just tried to remind myself of how this phenomenon was not possible by the laws of nature, therefore it should be denied. Now I don’t do that I believe I am actually learning more from them. You suspend disbelief and are open minded about whatever comes to you, and it usually results in a kind of “trip” where the absolute reality of your current surroundings is backstaged, you travel to a different zone and engage in communion.

Sometimes it is hard, still, because the presences are morally tutoring you in how to be a better person. In a way it can be described as you opening to an examination of your Karma, although I’m not really a proper buddhist as you know.

Sometimes when it is hard I still try to shut them out, but now at least sometimes I let them in.

I am writing this from a bar, with one of my perennial espressos. A sickly, pallid little gnome being has just walked into the bar. The creature sniffed and flicked a glare as he walked past. I am surrounded by people who seem to be able to make up their minds that they should resent me, as soon as they see me. They react to exclude me so fast that I can’t fathom it. I can’t do anything that quick. Do they have a mastery of the forces of time that I lack? Is that why I am said to be abnormal? because I am slow and dumb?

As I sit here I am prone to the shakes, still. I lose my pen and it plunges me into helplessness. I feel like my mum when she loses something, I suspect a supernatural agency has taken it. Or a gnome like petty thief lurking under the table I sit at. I become flustered and immediately all eyes are upon me. I decide to leave and I try to pack my notebook in the rucksack but when I get up I start to fumble with the zip and it will not close. Again all eyes are on me once more, the zip has checkmated me in my life. I have met a brick wall of impossibility. The zip yields finally and I wonder if this was Divine Assistance. I leave and re-enter the street, where I must run the gauntlet of stares and comments.

I have undone the male conditioning that was put into me. The feminine has risen in me and it takes the form of a lot of habits and perennial experiences that are like the ones my mother gets. Thinking someone has stolen something you have lost is one of these.

I have to accept the alteration in my mind that the holotropic breathwork has made happen. I am less organised, but more intuitive. Less logical, but more sensitive, prone to panic. The evolutionary wheel has turned for me and I have a new set of concerns. Nietszche wrote that people of character seem to get their own set of peculiar experiences, that recur again and again. What I did was to evolve so dramatically that this set of peculiarities was wiped and superseded by a new set. This is much of what I need to explain to you in this letter. Destiny has moved along for me, but it is not at all easy.

There is an aggression in most men’s eyes that we take for granted as a normal part of their male-ness. My eyes have wept so much that this strong-minded look has left them. They are more doe-like now. In this same alteration of my character I have undergone a reduction in my capability to think objectively. The male power of the intellect depends on detachment, and I am less detached. The eyes don’t stare so much, so I don’t aggress others and lecture so much. I accept others more, but the price paid is that I am more vulnerable to their nastiness, if that is going to come out of them.

I have changed, sure. But the identity of who I am is something I now see as unchanging, like my name. I could even change my name and finally complete the transformation but I won’t. Manners, mannerisms and outward forms change but the identity doesn’t, I feel. I could change my name and disappear. move to a new place and drop everyone. Wow this would be an odyssey into the self for sure. Really I think I will accept limitation and not do this, though.

In this evolution I have found my way out of a very brainwashed group. “well done!” a presence says. But it meant sacrificing my power. I must stand by myself with no crutches. There is more courage among the poor than the rich know, they have no crutch of station and the validity it gives.

Love from Luke


Sun 15th May 2015

I have taken a trip to a hotel in Folkestone again. I took a bath earlier and looked at my hair. It had fallen into a perfectly neat centre parting, as if by magic. A razor-sharp line down the middle. This has never happened before. I had been communing with the presences of the super rich and became delusional for a time that I was being recruited into a secret society of intrigue and power-brokering by the Rothschilds. The parting was a sign of the magic power of Things, once you are on the right track the universe assists you. But I swept my hair back and now the parting has gone.

I just phoned Joe and told him I couldn’t make our meeting. I was going to get a bus up to Tunbridge Wells and stay, but he irritated me later, so I pulled out.

He kept on saying “are you alright? and when I kept saying back, yes… that I was, he seemed not to hear and would repeat his question. I think he is clueless about how to understand the problems of a person with an illness like mine. he can’t use his imagination, nor can he consider that he might alienate me. Bloody annoying so now I am staying another night here instead.

He doubts my sanity and he shouldn’t.

I rang my dad and told him about my telling the story of the Oligarch to Martin. I had to embroider a bit otherwise dad would have sensed that he is a tattooed ex-junky ex-jailbird. He wouldn’t approve so I added a bit about Martin having used to live in Italy and encountering the Mafia.

I am prisoner of my beliefs, all I have ever read is still in my mind and it can return to haunt me. I know too much, understand too much of the superstructure of ideas across society of which I, as the Schizo, am the patsy.

I sleep the night and wake refreshed. I leave the room and pad down the corridoor. I need more coffee sachets. In the corridor are a young family with children. I turn back and walk the other way for fear they will give me funny looks. It’s sad. Afterwards having returned to the room without coffee I wonder whether my belief changes reality. I seem to expect funny looks and when I do this they materialise incessantly in the social matrix around me. I used to be a rationalist. surely this is not possible. Why expect so much negative treatment? I want to unweave these complexes and that is why I write.

There is a feebleness within me now, perhaps that comes from the acceptance of my maternal influence too. My legs feel weaker and my ankles sometimes flop and flap, disrupting the way I walk so that I meander like a drunk at times. The hypersensitivity has got even worse, tiny blows from fate upset me, small pains distract me like my leg pressing against the side of this chair as I write.

When searching for a cashpoint last night (i needed booze and fish and chips for supper) I accosted a teenage girl on a bmx bike who was passing. I asked her where there was a cashpoint, and she didn’t know but offered to “find out”. She was a pretty young thing, but later I worried the encounter was dodgy, as if she may have been a prostitute. She had smiled nicely, looking into my eyes.

I sleep again and the next morning I hunt for coffee sachets. Everyone I encounter in the hall, waiting for the lift, or milling in the foyer seems worried, and wary of me. Two women shoot me looks and this catches the hypersensitivity once more. I mutter something to an old couple and the man chuckles, prepared at least to acknowledge my existence. His wife turns to him and scowls, though, as if he has done something wrong, and that the rule of the day is “that man gets no attention paid him”.

There are no coffees to be found and no room cleaner with the magic box full of sachets of caffeine drinks and goodness.

An Indian looking man appears out of a door to join the group waiting for the lift, he acknowledges me instantly and I wonder why people of his race always do. Again I come back to the room empty handed and begin to write. I hear a voice “this situation is orders of magnitude more serious than you can imagine”. I wondered if the source of this was the presence of Mary. A discussion begins in the ether about how the Indian belief in the universality of suffering traps them in a fatalistic time-loop.

I smoke a cigarette and write this. I re-emerge and circumnavigate the entire seventh floor, no cleaner. I speak to a Polish man who is waiting for the lift. He is on his way to Sheffield to work as a furniture removals man. I tell him you can get good curries in Sheffield, but he doesn’t understand when I try to inform him about the landscape of the Peaks, which he should go for walks in… He is friendly and there is a sensitivity in his eyes.

I go down for breakfast and load a plate with food, all the staff are friendly. I eat, but then begin to sense that a few people are watching me. I realise, as I manage to ignore them, that my hypersensitivity is something that I can control by will, but only when morale is good. At one point my awareness zoomed out to show me a tableau of the dining room with me sitting in the middle eating. My hands had shaken as I was piling the plate with eggs and bacon, and a waiter had asked if i needed help. I said I was ok, but afterwards worried that I had been curt and seemed unappreciative of his kindness. “Always be nice to queers” said Kerouac. Once a waiter in Spain saved my life, as I gently and hopelessly melted down in the shakes at his Tapas bar.

I got up and left. In usual obsessive over-friendliness I attempted to thank the door lady with all my heart, and she misinterpreted… “Is something wrong?” she said. I urged her to understand that nothing was and went up to floor 7 again.

I wondered how the world could still proceed when people seemed to have so little time with each other. They were trying to “be there” but “the way of the world” as a kind of immutable rule-book was stopping everyone from really opening, from really giving what, deep down, they wanted to give. And as long as that was the case they were not receiving what, in turn, they most needed to receive.

Back in the room, chuffed to bits about such a gruesomely large breakfast, I started to sink into the turmoil of reflection once more. “Are all humans unique or are some more unique than others?” – an old question re-arising. Surely uniqueness is a binary quantity I reasoned. Either a thing is or it isn’t. But the only way a life-form can be is if there is some being out there identical to you. This is impossible in nature, even with twins. Even identical twins have had different experiences to each other, experiences which are learned from. This learning becomes built into the individual, and thus when two twins learn different stuff their being state diverges. In addition to this they are, although genetically different, instantiated on the separate and distinct wetware of separate and distinct brains.

So to say, in my “deviance paranoia” that I am too unique, an oddity and subject of astonished wonder and perplexity, is wrong. I simply AM. As we all ARE.

I needed to resolve this issue, although still prepared to acknowledge it was a rather over-hasty job. But I never get the time to be radical and detailed… complete in any analysis… before the wheel turns again and new stuff comes. Would my analysis bring closure, allow me to dispatch the complexes? I hoped I would not be punished for slapdash work… hmm by some tyrannical spirit entity, schoolmarmish, with a whip. Mrs Jones, Geography in room 3a.

I carried on writing, and there was a knock at the door. A freckly and astonishingly beautiful girl wearing a pale blue apron asked me whether I would like my room cleaned. I said no, but that I would like some coffees. She said she’d get them later…The quest was over! I went back to the desk. there was a flickering of the “no-one has time for anyone else” feeling, but I challenged it because there had been a flicker of unique life in her eyes and smile. I wrote. There was a knock on the door and she appeared again with a huge bag of teas, coffees, sugar and milk, far more than the regulation. Another small smile and she was gone, but her presence lingered in my mind like the scent of lilies.

I wrote some more and my spirits lifted.I could sense the people around me in the hotel building: the freckly cleaner; the kind waiter; the counter staff. I wondered if they could sense me, like you smell the sweat of a man who is near you. I hoped it wasn’t the pungency of sweat but the spiritual presence they could cognize. This hope became a bit desperately held because to be “the bloke in 715 with BO” was a frightening thought… “we can even smell the bastard from down here in the lobby…” aaargh.

The freckly one was Unique too, and I hatched a plan. I would tip her generously and say something romantic when I left. “If I was young again, and loaded, I’d sweep you away from here”. something like that. I heard a groan from the presences, from some astral onlooker, as I had sinned by being too schmaltzy, but I knew that Romance was still alive.

I began to see that my return to this hotel was well omened. The writing was flowing and all was smooth now I finally had coffee. The body aches had receded and my luck was on the mend. Even if I was never destined for success with my writings, I was getting somewhere. With these new insights I could even handle the thought of publication. After all I was receiving praise from the friends I showed my books to, and was at least a happy loser. Note: That word “Loser” is a bad one to me. It is a way for the successful to completely deny the dignity of the struggling, because these people have simply been less lucky. I don’t like the word at all.

I was on track again except for one nagging doubt, that really I was trying to be Henry Miller not Luke Dunn. Nothing is perfect for long.

I imagined or sensed another counsellor presence, maybe Will Self. We discussed how to find your own voice and be original. He floated away on the ether and I was left with a thought of how rare a writing talent was, and whether I was developing enough on multiple fronts to be said to be a person possessing it.

I was at least progressing with the Gurdjieff Method, although there was this apparent side effect of arousing attention in public spaces. Too visible rather than the comfort of blending in anonymously… incognito. This was the syndrome that followed me whenever I wasn’t safely shut up in a room in solitude, or with trusted friends. Going out alone made me look too unsupported except for my own individual resources. Groups of people would go for me… the many persecuting the one, the extroverts the introvert, the gregarious the hermit.

The vanity, the hypocrisy, of this position was of course that all the times when I was unremarkable and not a gravitational attractor of attention (“who is that strange man?”) I would complain that people were ignoring me, and curse the injustice of that aswell. Everybody staring would alternate with everybody barging and treating as if I was not there. Schizo-affective, maybe. One minute christ the next antichrist, nobody, omega-male. swinging perpetually never remaining in the centre of a life coloured by the shades of grey unremarkable normality.

I wrote and wrote. I mused on the freckly girl and tried to fight off a feeling of panic that my loud, bright, gaudy thoughts would radiate out from me and arouse suspicion. Would she suddenly get a feeling about me and become wary: “I’m not sure I like that bloke in 715, something’s up with him”. “Shut up!” I said to myself in silence.

I made a decision, and after struggling with another anomalous phenomenon – the malfunctioning phone next to the single bed in the room (supernatural influence?) – I was able to book another night. Realising that this complete solitude I was enjoying, and managing to use to get the freedom to write, was a great thing, I sought to extend it for as long as I could.

The phone call with Joe, his repetition of “are you suuuure you’re alright” returned to my mind. Maybe I had been wrong to be irritated, after all he may just have been sincerely concerned. Was it that all the expressions of love of friends were being misinterpreted and that I was clinically paranoid? Did I used to be like this with my mother? Not more self analysis. This was it, reduced like Withnail to the status of a bum I would end like the Irishman in Eastbourne, rocking backwards and forwards on a sofa in the lobby saying

Mummy lovey Baby
Mummy lovey Baby
Mummy lovey Baby

over and over again.

The keys in my pocket stabbed into my leg as i wrote balancing the notebook on one knee. It seemed logical to remove them rather than curse. Throwing them on the bed I vowed to remember this trick. lighting a candle in the darkness to avoid a swearing fit.

Why did I like this hotel so much, was it institutionalising me? re-stimulating happy memories of boarding school? It was turning into the ultimate writing location, just the right amount of privacy but not a solitude totally complete. A man was fumbling with his key in the hall outside, a woman’s voice arose outside the window, it might have given me vertigo to look out onto the ground and find her… For a second I imagined her being abusive and cruel to me like some harpy, but the thought subsided – “notch one up for the argument that I am not paranoid.”

But still I was fidgeting and fending off other fearful sprites and imps of insecurity. Trying to avoid radiating the thoughts that would pass through the ether and arouse suspicion in the human souls clustered nearby. One bad thought and the whole hotel would turn against the man in 715.

This sanity-recovery period was working out. An avowed enemy of the system, particularly an enemy of the baroque surreality of that region of class-ridden Britain that was my origin, I was staging direct-action psychodrama, semiotic terrorism, to the amusement of all. Yeeha !

Well, I wasn’t really, I realised. I was dressed down and incognito, it was all in my mind, that over-active, troubled mind I sometimes curse. But how to still it? There was a can of Special Brew on the table.

I texted Bill:

“This hotel is becoming almost too good to be true… Leonard Cohen sang that the tramp told him he should not ask for too much… but what about the one who sang “I want more”..

Bill replied:

“we are each of unique, you cannot legislate one rule for all.”

I agreed

“each one of us bargains their own unique deal from the cosmic croupier”… he liked

That’s really my job, I thought, to find interesting ways to say it.


Dear Steve,

we each of us come out of so much language, so many family speech habits, ideas, books, newspapers, songs. We experiment with the right ways to say things, we wonder who is allowed to say what, and why one says something one way, and the other another.

A writer has to be abreast of all of this, for a whole world. Ha! and they wonder why I get stressed out… And what makes you a writer, Steve? Just picking up the pen or keyboard and going through the motions. Quantity becomes a flood, without writing and writing over and over, about anything at all, you cannot get to the quality. Poets have to work a lot harder to earn their true appellation. To be called one of those is a fine thing.

I am in Folkestone again, Steve. I am going to spend a week here because it is going so well. I know it’s unplanned (you wouldn’t care about that…) but I am getting loads of ideas down.

Once Pandora’s box is opened Steve, once you have begun to unfold yourself and the matrix no longer has you, you cannot put what was released back in the box… I am writing about this for self-help, Steve. But be careful, you too. I’m getting quite a ride here boysy.

You cannot compress yourself back into the cabinet of Sleep, and woe betide those who would try, Like Cipher in The movie The Matrix. Like those who left Gurdjieff’s group because the work got too hard. Jesus I scare myself sometimes, but that’s why I came here to this hotel, Steve. I came to unravel and tidy, to untangle and organise. To lay to rest, again and again, as many things as I need to.


I pray it’s readable enough, Steve. It may be self-indulgent crap, it may not. I may not be a writer, I may be more of an oddity than that. I may be unexceptional and just someone who takes notes. But without you to listen to it I wouldn’t be anything.

Love Luke



Written by Luke Dunn

March 17, 2015 at 2:46 pm

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