On Friday I watched Synecdoche, New York. It must have perfumed something chemical off the screen and onto my skin, because I left the film with less identify and patience, feeling unraveled and wanting steam from a shower.

I hate and love the power a movie gains when it makes a whole world—a completely different and strange version of Pittsburgh or London. It’s like dreaming about a familiar place. And you can’t explain it, but in the dream your old house feels like another planet—the color, quality of light, weight of the room. Then you wake up and the feeling sticks.