Denver’s Mathias Svalina is the author of five books, most recently The Wine-Dark Sea from Sidebrow Books. He is an editor for Octopus Books & runs a Dream Delivery Service (www.dreamdeliveryservice.com). Along with being a featured reader for At the Inkwell Denver: Men of Verse June 18th at BookBar, he will be delivering dreams to subscribers in Denver from 6/20-7/20. Hillary Leftwich interviews him here about this unique project…
Hillary Leftwich: I was a customer of your Dream Delivery Service here in Denver last year. I came to expect a tiny pink envelope every morning on my door. It was something to look forward to every morning. What was your motivation behind starting the Dream Delivery Service? For those who aren’t familiar with your Dream Delivery Service, how would you describe it?
Mathias Svalina: Thanks so much for subscribing! To be honest, I’m shocked & delighted that anyone ever subscribes.
Here’s how the Dream Delivery Service works: I take subscribers, usually about 40 or so, & every day for a month I write & deliver dreams to them. To those within a four-mile radius I deliver the dreams to their door before dawn on my bike. To others I mail the dreams every day. The dreams are usually brief surrealist narratives, like dream-poems or dream-like fables. I write all the dreams from my imagination, & I attempt to write unique dreams for every subscriber every day (though I usually fail, & get to maybe 25 dreams or so a day).
One motivation for starting the Dream Delivery Service was that I was broke & jobless in 2014 & I am not good at any real jobs. One day I was joking with a friend about devising a way to turn daily weird narratives into something people might pay for. And then, the next morning, I thought that maybe it could be more than a joke.
I wanted to tap into the way my mind is continually beweirdifying the world & see how far I could take it. – Mathias Svalina
Another motivation was that I have this impulse toward the weird, the surreal, the absurd. Or maybe impulse is the wrong word–the weird feels much more like my experience of reality than the real. A handful of my books have tapped into this, resulting in a serial surreality: a book of absurdist business plans, a book of creation myths, a book of 154 surreal failed love poems, stuff like that. I wanted to tap into the way my mind is continually beweirdifying the world & see how far I could take it. Which, at this point I’ve written somewhere between 8,000 & 10,000 dreams, so, I dunno.
HL: In Greek mythology, Morpheus, the son of Hypnos—the god of sleep—had the power to enter dreams and deliver messages from the gods. Do you consider yourself a Morpheus—a deliverer of messages from the gods in regards to your dream delivery service?
MS: Hahahah, no no no, not at all. I think of myself in much more workmanlike manner, in that I have these things I can do, write a bunch of surreal narratives & bike around the city in the dark, & so I just have to establish a routine & a practice that allows me to do them.
I have, as the project has progressed, thought more & more about the form of intimacy the dreams develop with a subscriber over the course of a month, to receive them on one’s doorstep or in the mail every day, & to have this ongoing connection with a writer that develops slowly & in these little intimacies. And no individual gets the same set of dreams as another, so the subscribers has this set of texts that is uniquely for them.
I have had subscribers who said that I wrote dreams they have actually had, or dreams that were prescient of something, or connected to something deep in their psyche. I figure that is a result of fate stepping in. I have no control over it.
If you are interested in signing up for Mathias’s Dream Delivery Service you can sign up here: www.dreamdeliveryservice.com
Boulder Poetry Tribe contributor Hillary Leftwich resides in Denver with her son. She is co-host for At the Inkwell, a NYC based reading series. She organizes/hosts other reading events and fundraisers around Denver. Her writing appears online and in print.
You can read other BPT articles from Hillary here…
*Featured image by Zachary Schomburg