Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Then I am trying to restore the back of a building. It seems to need painting. Is what I have painted good or not? Who is in charge? There are words on the walls, but the question is not what they say, but how do they look. Inside the rooms are full of things I don’t care about, and I’m trying to get the kids to understand that can’t let just anyone in, into the bathroom. Everywhere I turn there are flounces and trim, things I don’t like or need.
I am busy trying to get rid of someone who is being kicked out, kicked off the team. The color green is a marker, trying to keep it in mind. Tension remains in my upper arms and neck. I am getting help to get rid of someone, thinking I am someone else. How do I know? Living under the roof like a refugee, they will clear out Costa’s stuff. I read “inlaid” when the word was undone. I broke the sentence off, knowing how it might continue.
There was a large map on a table. We were adding water to it with a kind of spongy roller device. Someone showed us a specific area to make sopping wet. Then someone whose origin was that area came by and we showed her that her area was really wet. At first she didn’t get it, but we knew eventually she’d be upset. There was a wild man with little black legs and a handlebar moustache who showed up like a crazy revolutionary. It was if his legs were singed. I forgot to call Paul on the Epiphany. Then someone in my dream complains.
Later in a new dream there is a storage unit that has a way to remove something from it because there is a blue light inside it. The blue light is key. I am not worried that my dreams slip away, I no longer feel worried and I sense that I am no longer searching and anxious about it. The search is mild. The blue light keeps shining.
Monday, December 28, 2009
She was tall and elegant; the woman who came to stay, but there was something wrong. I sensed it. The back details of this dream have faded but I remember the woman offering to show us. She closed the door of my bedroom and began to peel off her clothes layer by layer. There were several layers: a long sleeved dress, followed by another, then an underskirt and two t shirts, an under blouse; so many layers of clothes and as she took one layer off after another I guessed out loud,
‘It’s because you’re thin’.
I was right, I could see already her pencil thin arms, but hers was not an ordinary thinness and when she finally peeled off the final layer of her underwear and stood before us naked I could see that it was a problem not only of thinness but also of digestion or some such ailment. It had so impacted on the texture and thickness of her skin that every item of her internal organs and structure was visible beneath the thin layer of her skin. Like a translucent membrane, it held the parts in place.
I could see the shape of her heart beating, the layered lines of her rib cage. Her intestines coiled like a thick string of beads and the little sack of her stomach bulged to one side in the middle near a smaller sack, her bladder.
I write this to describe the image of a woman who carried her insides on the outside, like a heart on her sleeve and this to the extreme. She reminded me of those illustrations you see in doctor’s surgeries, the ones designed to demonstrate the location of the various parts of the human body, the parts we cannot see.
In my dream the woman became my child and I knew that I should feed her. I sat her in front of a bowl of chicken pieces and began to entice her with other foods, left over Japanese food, sushi and sashimi. Elsewhere I took some noodles from the plate of another child who was eating nearby and encouraged my thin girl to eat up more and more. I knew that if I could feed her well enough over time her skin would grow thick and she would no longer need to hide herself behind these multiple layers of clothes.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The head nun, who was a cross between the head mistress from my schooldays in the late sixties, Sister M, and the principle of my daughters’ school now, handed me a slip of paper. It included a description of the role I was to perform in the school play.
I looked at it briefly and felt disappointed. I was standing in the middle of the schoolyard down near the quadrangle when the head mistress, whom I shall from now on call Sister M, came over to ask whether I was happy with my part.
‘I’m not really,’ I dared to say. I dared only tell her because somewhere earlier in my dream I had read through the school manual and in it I had seen written that there was a place to complain about parts allocated in the school play if you were not satisfied.
Even as I told Sr M that I was unhappy with my part I thought I should keep it to myself. I should have swallowed my pride, but it was too late, it was out.
‘It’s a small part, I know Sister M said but we need to give the main parts to those who are best able to take on particular roles, even so this one gives you a chance to demonstrate your skills.’
One of my sisters stood nearby. She came over to see what all the fuss was about. Sister M left and my sister read through the description of my role.
‘It’s not so bad,’ she said. ‘You’re part of the roaring forties, a small part maybe, but you’ll be on stage most of the time.’
I knew then that I should not have complained but the idea of being on stage as part of the chorus in the background, nodding and smiling, gesticulating or whatever else was required, did not pleased me. Against my wishes, I began to cry. By the time Sister M arrived back with two other possible roles in the play that I might prefer I was sobbing.
I did not want these parts. It was okay. I felt apologetic and embarrassed, but as I write down my memory of the dream now, my sorrow was tinged with anger. I knew it would not do to cry, but I could not stop. Then whether I decided it was strategic for me to suggest that I was worried about other things, like how I might do in my final year at school, I do not know. But I took this line.
It was around March during my matriculation, the title of my final year at school. It seemed a more legitimate thing to be upset about than the role I would have in the play. Besides as I sobbed, I realised it was true. I was worried about my schoolwork.
I had slipped behind. I had been sick, in the same way as my oldest daughter, who in the dream became my daughter who had been sick with glandular fever the year before and virtually lost the best part of her year ten year. I was now worried that I would slip further behind, too.
I had always imagined that when you work hard then you will be rewarded with good results, but this was not happening for me now. The role I had been allocated in the school play, a small bit part on the sidelines was proof of this.
The head mistress held me in her arms to comfort me but I felt on display, the entire school of girls were watching. I did not trust the head mistresses concern. In between turns of talking to me, and holding me between the folds of her billowing black habit, she was dealing with the usual school business. She was introducing herself to would be parents of other schoolgirls and dealing with other teachers’ concerns.
Every time she turned away, I looked around me through blurry eyes at the schoolyard and wondered what I was dong there. The whole place seemed to have changed. I could no longer feel connected and I was convinced I would now fail my final school year because things no longer made sense to me as they once did.
There was an entire subject, a foreign language, something like Polish that I was meant to have studied that year but I knew not one single word of it. I wanted to tell Sister M about this but she was busy talking to yet another set of parents and by the time she came back to me the rest of the school were seated at tables for lunch. I was now back in boarding school.
Sister M looked around for a space at a table for me. The girls were all familiar to me but I could not feel a connection with any of them. I sat down at the far end near a group of girls mid conversation. They looked at me but did not engage. They did not ask questions nor did they seem interested in why I was upset. They were not judgemental about it. They were simply indifferent. I could have been invisible for all they cared.
A lizard appears from under the skirting board, long and black with a face like Batman, or Zorro, a face whose patterning gives the appearance of a mask and the lizard darts into the room where the schoolgirls congregate. They seem unbothered but my baby boy follows and wants to engage with the lizard.
I warn him off. He’s too young. I tell him when he is older and taller, then he can talk to the lizard, but not now.
For now I hope the lizard will disappear but I see that the lizard is also interested in my child. Perhaps because they are of similar height, at least they would be were the lizard to stand on its hind legs and reach for the ceiling. The lizard and the small boy eye one another off until I scoop the boy into my arms, and the lizard streaks away.
I turn to the gathering of schoolgirls with the odd boy in between.
‘Could you guys please tidy this place up before the end of the day?'
One person only responds with assurances that they will. The rest are silent. I comment on this to my oldest daughter who has walked into the room. I do not want to embarrass her. This is easy to do at this time of the day, but I want help with the mess.
Later I walked down the road to retrieve my property. After I crossed the Canadian border the houses grew charmingly antiquated and decrepit, the pavement rain-dark and grass-cracked. Everything exuded a barely perceptible aura of Europeanness.
At the garage a young man with pink spiked hair greeted me. He wore a long, olive-drab military coat with cryptic patches and black leather punk boots. He looked like a young Gary Oldman. At first he feigned ignorance of my guitar and invited me to search the truck, but when I persisted he led me to a corner of the garage and showed me my guitar. It was badly damaged. The young man admitted that he had played it and "pushed it to the limit." To quell my rage he swore up and down that he would repair it. I said I'd come back later, but I knew that my guitar was permanently ruined.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Then I realize that if our houseguests find me out there, I'd have a hard time explaining it, so I go back inside.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
My dream comes back to me. I was at a conference, or maybe it was more like a holiday at a camping ground, where people were staying in small huts or in tents attached to their cars.
It was morning and there were people everywhere. It was difficult to find a free toilet or bathroom and I noticed that the system of each waiting in turn to occupy a bathroom one after the other seemed hopeless. People were skipping the queue, which was not visible, so I took it upon myself to organise the use of showers.
Whenever someone new arrived on the scene I told them where they stood in the invisible queue. ‘You’re sixth in line,’ I said to two men who had come upon two vacant cubicles and were about to go in. There are others ahead of you. They resented it, I could see, and one woman who was about to take her turn stood back and let one of the men jump the queue because she could not bear his anger. I wondered at my presumptuousness, that I should orchestrate this affair. But no one complained, at least not openly.
I stood looking at a billboard on wheels, advertising events. There was a photo on one side of last year’s conference and as I looked I saw that it came alive. The photo turned into a video. It was a re-run of last year’s conference, which I had for some reason enjoyed so much more than this one. Then some of the characters from the video, some of the women from last year’s conference, materialised into people at this year’s conference. They came to say hello. They were pleased to see me.
Another woman came over and complained because she had heard through the grapevine that I had described her as lonely.
‘I am not lonely,’ she said. I felt defensive. I could not remember saying this about her and even if I had, what did it matter. And what about the things she and others had said about me? That I was … And then I told her of my decision to withdraw from the life of the organization that had so haunted me over these last several months.
We stood outside in the morning sunlight in a wide grassy field. I could smell freshly mown hay. I had entered a different world from the one I usually occupied and I could never go back, except perhaps in my memory. All this I considered as I stood talking to this woman from the past, and who could not understand where and why I had gone.
In my dream this morning I was back at my old school Vaucluse convent about to sit my final year English exam. In some ways I felt prepared. I had studied hard but for some reason it also felt like I was ill prepared as though the exam date had snuck up on me. I had earlier been shopping for clothes. I chose to visit Gidget in my search for a new jumper. I wanted something hip and colourful, something in an unusual style, something that might stand out from the conventional jumpers we wore every day. The shop was crowded and rather than queue for the dressing rooms I took a couple of jumpers I had already selected outside to my car and tried them on out there in the street. This did not seem such a remarkable thing to do until I considered the fact that it could look like shoplifting. How had I managed to walk so blithely out of the shop with two security-coded jumpers under my arm and not so much as one person batted an eyelid.
‘I need to get my jumper’ I said to Sister Marie as I ran back to the class room.
Now it was time to go for the exam. The entire year twelve class was lined up at the door ready to walk through the school gardens and into the assembly hall where we would sit our exam. Once Sister Marie, our English teacher had issued the order, we moved out carelessly in raggle-taggle groups of threes and fours all talking noisily. She did not object. It was fine for us to wander at our leisure to the tense destination that awaited us or so I thought. I was conscious of feeling that I would have liked more focus. Then I realised I had forgotten a cardigan or jumper. I would need one during the exam. It could get very cold in the assembly hall especially having to sit for hours.
‘Don’t bother,’ she said. But I had already gone and was back at the classroom, which was now sealed off at the downstairs entry way and I had to find some other means of getting to my school bag. I did eventually somehow in that magical way you do in dreams when doors disappear and flights of stairs can be mounted in a breath. I found one of the new jumpers, which I had eventually decided to buy and rushed back to the exam.
Reading time was already over and I looked at the questions. The exam paper was full of illustrations that seemed to come alive and to speak to me in much the way paintings come to life in the Harry Potter films. In the first question we needed to fill in the missing word, ‘mellow rhymes with…?’ I knew the answer as ‘yellow’ and was furious when I over heard one girl sitting nearby whispering the answer to another.
'They’re cheating,’ I wanted to call out. In my dream I am now ashamed to say, I dobbed, but Sister Marie did not seem to care. She was not nearly so fussed about the conduct of my fellow exam participants as I.
On one side I noticed a young woman sitting for the exam with her baby in tow. That will make things difficult I thought but the bab at that stage seemed contented and I thought to myself depending how well I go in finishing this exam, I’ll offer to help out with the baby to give the other woman a chance to finish her paper. On the other side of me my youngest daughter was picking through the paper. It was hard for her. She was only of primary school age, about six or seven.
There was a commotion outside in the quadrangle and the two cheaters got up and went outside to look. ‘More fools they,’ I thought, but then my youngest daughter wanted to join them. I tried to stop here.
‘Let her be, ‘ Sister Marie said. ‘It’s only a trial run for her.’
I knew my need to have things in order as I wanted them was over the top and tried to get back into the exam. The questions fascinated me. They seemed to be relaying a narrative in their own right. The story of someone who had lost her baby. Something akin to the details that exist in Helen Garner’s book, The First Stone – a complex plot I needed to untangle and analyse. The woman who had lost her baby refused to speak up about it and everyone else remained silent.
Friday, December 11, 2009
I was dead. And here in my dream I was driving my own hearse. Somehow I was to leave by the route I had driven there and I had to return something to some point off of La Brea down an alley. Under my breath i was singing repeatedly with a certain triumph how few get to drive their own hearse. I could begin to smell my own body but it was not a bad smell yet, being fresh. This somehow pleased me for the moment. From my pockets I removed a giant ring of too many keys. Here was a burden I still carried. I was awoken to a quick rasp on my screen door. No one was there.
Monday, December 7, 2009
I am on a high rock face leaning against the wall. Unseen passer-bys comment how what a good monument to Christ this could be made into and they place all types of “stations" around me. I agree to stand there and remain with my arms outstretched from time to time. It is decided though that this center figure who is no longer myself should be painted to remain the central focus of the monument. All around is painted one of the most beautiful Burnt Sienna I have ever seen. His body is painted this color too and his cloth a muted red that is quite harmonious to the background color. Voice says here is the painted Christ. The paint though is poisonous as it would be for this person and he becomes sick and is taken down ill before he dies.
Friday, December 4, 2009
I remember a nightmare I had when I was 14, shortly after my sojourn at a church camp. I dreamed that I was sitting in the back seat of a car parked in front of the camp's general store. The engine began to skreek and skritter like the cassette-player I used at the time. Suddenly a gargantuan panther burst out from under the hood--rather like the baby monster c-sectioning himself in Alien. His murderous eyes flashed; his muscles rippled horrifyingly under his sleek black fur. He galloped toward the car, leapt, and rammed the windshield with his head. The resultant crack-web seemed to enmesh me as the slightly dazed panther trotted away from the car, preparing to hurl himself at the windshield again... I awoke with a start.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I dreamt I visited Beckett—he was living in a church on an island in Paris. I rented a rowboat from some boat people to get there, and as I went into the church I could see Beckett writing—he was sitting in the front of the church near the altar, writing on a large sheet of rice paper, but he wasn’t writing in the usual way: there was a penciled outline of a giant rose window on the rice paper, and he wrote each line within a spoke of the wheel. I couldn’t see the words as he wrote them, but the spoke lit up from within as he finished, each spoke a different color. The shape of the rose window was a little like this one in England:The only line I remember him writing was “I want all my lances lined up in a row.”
The baby woke up and started to cry.
‘Can we stop the car?’ I asked. It took what seemed like forever before my husband could pull over into a clearing on the side of the road. The longer it took the more hysterical the baby became. But just as we pulled over the baby settled again.
I picked it up, a strange looking baby, with the body of an older child and the face of a bat. I knew I must take responsibility for this baby, even as I needed to get to the airport to collect an old friend, from Tasmania.
At the airport I walked through a restaurant on my way to the collections area. I carried the bat baby now asleep in my arms and hoped that no one would notice it was not an ordinary baby. I feared if they caught sight if its face they might worry this baby was contagious of some exotic disease. As long as the baby slept in my arms I’d be fine.
I wandered around the terminal in search of my friend and came upon her just as she was about to hand over the sixty dollar entrance tax. We opened our purses simultaneously and I handed over forty of the sixty. She found the balance and then went to visit the toilet. She said she’d be ready in a minute.
I took the bat baby for a walk down steps and out to a green grassy oval whereupon several stall holders were selling second hand stuff, like single earrings. I worried the baby would wake. By now I knew it was a boy.
I went to find my friend who was herself by now looking after someone else’s baby. This baby was in a bassinet next door to the toilet. It was screaming. I rocked the cradle till the baby settled back to sleep.
Its mother returned. The bat baby woke up and I worried that the real mother would wonder about the strangeness of my baby.
The alarm went off.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I get "home" (wherever THAT is) and I meet my sister-in-law L. who is upset that I'm walking. She thinks it's pathetic that I'm on foot. She tells me that she just got me a "Prius Stellata - you have no idea how rare these are and how lucky we are to find you one. It's parked on the road for you." It's not a gift exactly, and suddenly I'm saddled by a car payment. My idea of paradise is her idea of hell and needs corrrecting. I get in the car and instead of a steeringwheel, it's got a long sundial-y needle and I've got to figure out how to drive this thing. I look around for the rabbit and it's gone.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I went to the dentist and told her that I had a hole in my top right incisor, a huge hole, nearly half the tooth.
The dentist had previously attended to the bottom row of my teeth, but for some reason she never looked to the top.
She started to scrape away at the cavity without comment. This surprised me. I had expected much sighing, ooh-ing and aa-hing, at the sight of the hole. But she merely set about the task of cleaning out and then refilling it.
‘I can’t quite get the colour match right,’ she said at one point and showed me a small ball of putty, the stuff she was using to fill my tooth. It looked almost brown and when I saw my newly filled tooth in the mirror, the difference between the old and the new was obvious.
‘I’ll have to leave it as it is till next time you come,’ the dentist said.
I left the surgery, wondering whether I had the courage to alert her to a second large hole further along the row of my front teeth near my right molars.
How would she react to that? I wondered.
I run to a clearing where I catch up with a band of hero friends.mutants or d n d characters. One is short and smal with ropes and leather pouches.another appears to be bigfoot. (Not chewbacca-Bigfoot) the leader is the dr.jones type mixed with a Stryder type. I am a basic brawny warrior generic holds his own guy. Below us electric blue water refracts in sequenced sharp triangles-like the blue in the jungle boy listerine commercial from the 80's. We are in a jungle. A small island with agile monkey siren-esque females prance and let their long mocha brown body hair flow in strong winds. They are human in an appealing way and they call to us. The water around them jumps with zebra striped pirahna.
The leader of our group uses a rope from nowhere to show it will be our way to swing across the gorge. I know without knowing that the rope is a test of will (spiritual shit) not a physical challenge. The bigfoot makes the swing across,with monkey women sirens and evil teethed zebra fish taunting from below. I'm reminded of atreyu and the sphinx with the lazer eyes.
The leader swings across with ease then throws me the rope.
"Remember the number..."
And then he yelled a number I can't recall.
It was then that I woke up.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
[I wake, sobbing, in my bed]
Saturday, November 7, 2009
I go into a darkened room where all I can make out is a cloth draped over something vaguely human-shaped. I crawl underneath and find another woman in a blue gown, who tells me we're to represent Dawn together. She hands me a flashlight-shaped thing, which I turn on. Beautiful colored lights come from it, and my partner tells me that when our cue comes we're to turn these on and sing a song. I say I haven't learned the song, and she tells me it goes "ooooo, DAWN!" I try to sing that but she keeps correcting me--I can't get it right. She says not to worry, all we really have to do is sing along with a recording--she shows me a device that apparently has the song on it. I ask if I can listen to it, in order to learn the song, but she says we're not to turn it on until our cue, because it's very loud. I ask what IS our cue, and she doesn't answer.
We sit in silence for a while. I'm dying to hear the song. Trying to make it look like an accident, I turn on the device. "Ooooo, DAWN!" goes the device, and it is, indeed, very loud. My partner is panicking, and we try to muffle the sound with pillows, but it's too late--the director is upon us. He knows I was the one who turned on the song, and he asks me to go with him into another room. "Do you see why I asked that you not turn that on until your cue?" he asks. I say I do, and apologize. All along he's been very gruff and intimidating, but now he takes me in his arms and kisses the top of my head. I'm overcome by a feeling of complete peace.
He walks me back to my place, which is now on a hill under the stars. No sooner am I there than my partner and I hear our cue, and we turn on the device and our flashlights and begin singing. It's joyful! Together we walk down the hill. We see the actresses playing animals and planets and Greek deities, all beautifully costumed and dancing, and I'm singing at the top of my lungs "ooooo, DAWN," and that is when I wake up laughing.
It is nearly time to go home. I am now inside the hotel packing to leave. I am having trouble fitting all my belongings into my suitcase. Somehow I have been left with other people’s stuff, bulky jumpers and scarves that one of my companions, a woman has decided not to pack into her own suitcase. In the bathroom I find signs of my husband’s left over toiletries. I wonder whether I should pack these, too, but I can barely find room in my own case for all my stuff.
Instinctively I know there is something amiss with my husband’s car. I go outside to see it careering down the road driverless. I have been aware of this, that in certain unpredictable circumstances the car can take off by itself. Still, I wonder whether one of my daughters has played with the ignition and accidentally started it. I chase after the car hoping to reach it somehow and then stop it, even though I know this impossible. The car turns a corner and is out of sight. I call out to some men in a field nearby and ask for their help. We race across the field in the hope that we might cut the car off, assuming it continues to follow the road.
Under a row of eucalypts on the other side of the field we watch as cars rush past. I cannot see my husband’s car and wonder whether it has already crashed.
And there it is, worse for wear, the whole side panel bashed in, the front crumpled. It looks as though it is running out of puff now. It leaves the road and rides up into an embankment where it collides with a row of small bushes. I imagine that we might be able to fix it but I will need to tell my husband first.
Then I am at an exhibition of racing cars. A small child, perhaps one of my daughters, sits inside the cockpit of one of these cars. It is a toy car with metal pedals inside, the sort that existed when I was a child. The little girl is trying to work out how to get the car going. People mill about to watch. All seems calm and yet I sense at any moment this car too might suddenly spring to life of its own accord and take the girl with it.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Philip Dadson back from New York brought with him a new improved amazing
I went to look at a house that was up for sale in country Maldon. An elderly couple currently occupied it. They agreed to let me look through – large rooms, high ceilings and the smell of new mown hay. The rooms in this house seemed to run on forever, huge rooms with wood panelling half way up the walls and pressed steel in places down the hall way. It had been cobbled together from a variety of different styles. None of the furniture was consistent, a bit like the house of one of my daughter’s boyfriends, which I had visited yesterday. This boy’s parents own a huge retro and antique furniture business to which their house is testimony. Their house, too, like the house in my dream, like the house in which I live now is cluttered, and full of stuff.
There were so many signs of life here in this house in Maldon and so little room for putting things away. I loved this house, which I toyed with buying but in my dream it became evident that I had a debt I would not be able to honour. The debt was a hidden debt of $300,00.00 and unbeknown to me it would sit hidden for three years and eventually the bank would call it in.
The daughter of a friend came into my dream then. She seemed distressed. She was followed shortly after by two of the staff from Bunnings, a hardware store chain. They complained that they had found in her car goods that she had taken from one of their stores without paying.
‘Give them the $13.00,’ I said. ‘Just pay them.’
She fumbled in her purse and as she did so I took the money from mine and paid these two men, who took then took the money and walked out without so much as a glance back.
Friday, October 30, 2009
After we landed at the bottom we stood inside a small room at whose centre stood a table covered in a fancy silk cloth. Another girl, who also once went to our school, a girl who had boarded with me, whose name was the same as that of my sister, soon followed us. But this girl was big, whereas my sister now and in the dream is and was pretzel thin.
There was a note pad on the table that included names and addresses. I flicked through it hoping to find a sign of my favourite nun from school days. But her name was not there.
Then I was inside a church with a gathering of ‘old girls’ from my class. A few recognised me but no one seemed interested in taking time to talk to me beyond an initial hello. I looked at the faces of these ‘old girls’. I peered through the present into the past, past layers of wrinkles and grey hair, to find the girls I might remember.
I was desperate to find someone who had been meaningful to me when I was at school, but before I knew it I was preparing for the train trip home. The train took ages to arrive. After I had stepped inside, it took even more time to assemble itself for the trip. Seats folded and unfolded, panels snapped open and shut, as of they were orchestrated by some invisible machine.
Once it took off the train travelled fast, so fast that some people, including me were thrown out of their seats. My body bashed up against a partition midway through the carriage and I held onto a couple of small children who had also been flung from their seats. When the train reached its destination I realised we were back where we had started.
The weather had turned foul by now, with sleet and rain bordering on snow. It was dark and freezing cold. I tried to walk across the mud to the next train. Three other trains arrived at the same time. I had no idea which one to take.
I could not get traction in the mud and seemed to be walking without getting anywhere. Someone hoisted me up onto the train, but I realised almost immediately that I was on the wrong train yet again. I woke up breathless.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Barrelhouse Dave was pissed about a blog post I wrote about Barrelhouse. He told me to stop trying to be funny and stick to writing about "minor" poetry
of a woman poet who wore blue face make-up
I downloaded a bunch of scary/Halloween movies to watch with Chris, but there was only one he was willing to see
I made up with a writer with who I recently had an icky interaction
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Also, as part of the "find my old tennis racquets" section of the dream, I discover that we have entirely new and enormous rooms of the house and barn I've never seen before that are filled with someone else's stuff.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
That’s okay I think because we will never live here. It’s just an occasional escape from the rigours of ordinary home life. Of course we must take the baby with us. We cannot leave her at home alone, even with her older sisters. The flat has two storeys and already I worry about how she will manage the stairs.
At one stage I start to walk around the flat in the company of a friend and neighbour. I offer her the grand tour. By the time we reach the upstairs bedroom I realise how unliveable this place is. We cannot sleep here. The beds are disassembled. Even the packages of tea on the kitchen sink are still sealed in hard-to-get-at boxes.
We plan to take a bus back home but we are not sure how to get there. Then we are in the car and I urge my husband to follow the blue Ventura bus. It goes to the school, and once we arrive at the school we will recognise where we are. We follow the bus past the schoolyard, which has been cleaned up and extended over the holidays. The back of the schoolyard beyond the classroom buildings extends down some way into a gully. It slopes in stages with a couple of long cliff like drops onto flat grassy plateaux.
How can they allow children to get to such steep ridges? I wonder. This schoolyard is dangerous.
I wake up.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
We were in a bazaar buying jewelery. I pointed out to my daughter some of the extraordinary and cheap earrings that hung from a wall, when her son fell over. He fell heavily and the impact of the fall made his head fall off. I could only bear to look for an instant but I knew he had been decapitated, the blood a trickle from his headless neck. I looked away and was swallowed up with grief.
Monday, October 5, 2009
In my second dream I was in school studying writing. Reb Livingston was my professor. She gave me a task of collating a bunch of manuscripts. Each manuscript was divided by a beautiful bookmark that Reb had made herself out of silk. Reb went home and I was there with another student. For some reason I got panicky and lost track of all the pieces of paper. Pages went missing. Bookmarks slid from one manuscript to another until they were all a mess. The other student, a blond woman, asked if I wanted to go to a party. We got in her car and she told me that she had read my diary and hated my writing. I yelled at her YOU READ MY DIARY? And she told me to get out of her car. I didn’t care that she hated my writing, but was horrified that she had invaded my privacy. I walked back to the school to fix the mess I had made of my task and there was a young man my son’s age asleep in the corner. He asked me if I wanted a glass of wine. He had the key to Reb’s desk. We opened it and found two beautiful hand blown goblets, a kind of pale rose color, and a bottle of wine. We started drinking and he told me that everyone in the class had read my diary, that it had been passed around in derision. Then he told me he was homeless so I invited him to live at my house for 3 months. I told him he was my son’s age and we didn’t have much money but we had a spare room in the basement and he would be warm and have food to eat etc. He gave me his father’s phone number so I could call and tell his father our plan but every time I dialed I got the wrong number.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I stand there meekly obedient even though I long for it all to be over. At one point I look towards the open doorway and notice my regular GP walk past. I have decided not to see this GP anymore.
For some reason whenever I go to see this particular doctor I feel guilty as if I have been bad – I have drunk too much wine, my diet is improper, I work too hard, am too irreligious – and I imagine she will scold me for it. In real life she never does this, but in my imagination she is constantly scolding me. In my dream I have taken action by deciding against seeing her anymore. My regular GP’s offsider, the one I am with now, is younger, younger even than me, but she does not leave me feeling guilty. She seems more down to earth, even as she examines me in this painstaking way. I feel less intimidated, more equal.
‘My patients are leaving me,’ I hear my regular GP say to her assistant as she walks past the open door. She looks in as she says this and looks directly at me. Our eyes lock and almost instantly I lose my balance and must spin around in order to save myself from falling.
‘I did not jerk away like that to avoid you,’ I say, as I regain my footing.
I feel a need to apologise but this is as much as I can say.
Then I am in the car park at the doctor’s surgery. I have offered to give my new doctor a lift home. She is eager to see her children. The car park is a mess of broken concrete and unmade roads. There is a traffic jam in the middle and I have trouble finding my car in the first instance and then of getting it out of the car park. Somehow I manage to do this and we are no longer in a car but on a train.
Flashback in my dream to a visit from an exchange student, a lovely girl from some place like France or Germany. She is puzzled by my family’s eccentricities, the way we lead such a chaotic life, irregular meals and odd ours. We sit in the back yard and a delivery man comes to drop off a machine my husband had ordered earlier but as he leaves he puts down a row of miniature figurines, characters from television and fairy tales – Snow White and the seven dwarfs, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck. I would like to keep these characters but I know they are not free. ‘
‘They are a seduction,’ I tell the girl. ‘The deliveryman put them there to get us to buy more.’
The exchange student decides she will take the train on her next journey and that she will sit on the train on the outside ledge where other passengers sit. I warn her that it is dangerous there. I see her on the train now clutching her suitcase in front.
‘It’s fine,’ she says, cheerfully. ‘There’s plenty of room.’ She is squeezed in like a sardine alongside several other passengers all nursing their luggage.
‘It won’t be so easy once the train gets going,’ I say. ‘It will wobble and jerk you all over the place.’
As the train takes off I see her in my mind’s eye. She has become me and I am desperately trying to keep my bottom perched safely on the narrow ledge. It is only a matter of time before I will be pitched off from the speeding train.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
On the morning of my presentation at a life writing conference called The Story of the Story I had a dream that felt so real it still seems as though it actually happened. I dreamed that when it came time for me to present my paper in the Noel Stockdale room within the library at Flinders University I went ahead of the others to set up and to tweak my paper for the last time.
In my dream an old friend, who is now dead, LB was the conference convenor. LB once lectured me in psychology. He was born around the same time as my father.
People had already arrived in time for the third day of the conference to begin. They sat in rows faces turned towards the front in readiness. LB asked me to start. Some people were still rustling papers and chatting to one another, so I had to repeat my first sentence. Then I started fumbling my words. I lost my place on the page and could not find it for what seemed like ages. People shifted in their seats and began to talk among one another. I could not regain their attention. I tried from the beginning and spoke loudly but my words would not flow.
I had rehearsed and rehearsed. I had tried hard. Now here it was: my turn to present, my turn at last, last speaker of the conference, and I could not get the audience to listen.
I tried to catch LB’s eye, to plead with him to get the audience to settle, but he would not look at me. The people in the audience then seemed to lose patience altogether and before I knew it they had decided to break for morning tea.
I had lost my opportunity to present. It had passed without my saying a word of what I needed to say. I was devastated and stood at the podium in tears. There was a small group of people nearby, the ones with whom I had shared a car en route to the conference. They ignored me, too. I was furious, but flooded with tears.
In my dream LB had become a medical doctor not just a PhD. I wailed to a woman nearby about how unfair he had been in not insisting to the audience that I be allowed to have my turn. I had tried so hard to prepare and now no one wanted to hear from me.
I woke sobbing and nothing felt as if it would ever be any good again.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The railway platform
His face was distorted with painful efforts to smile. ‘Don’t move’ I said to him ‘I have seen you somewhere.’
He did not speak just let out a lacerated laughter. ‘ Are you dead or alive?’ I asked and looked around in fear. The railway platform was dark and deserted, not even a single lamp was lighted. No one was around. I looked back at the form lying huddled on the rough, stained floor. ‘I am alive, but I died very long ago.’ He said in muffled tones.
The porter arrived with my bag, my red bag with blue logo. I almost grabbed the bag from his hands and tried to get up from the floor where I was sitting on my hunches, talking to the sleeping man. I could not stand up on my legs and I groped in the dark, to look for my feet. The porter shook his head in sadness and walked away. His fire engine red uniform was glowing in the dark. I saw a flash of steel badge on his sleeve. He raised his arm to stop an approaching train. The train stopped.
He turned back to beckon at me. He told me with hand and facial gestures that the train would not stop for long. I must get up and board it as fast as I can. My bag was not there. The man was still lying on the ground, and I looked around for my bag.
‘Have you seen my bag?’ I asked, as I looked around frantically. The platform was pitch dark and the train had begun to move slowly.
The porter in red uniform was running his fingers along the moving body of the train, walking leisurely, while the train chugged along. I watched him count the numbers on his other hand. One, two, three…
He was smiling.
I wanted to run and catch the train but it had left the platform. There were just long, winding lines of shining grey steel, running parallel to each other, with sharp pebbles in between. A few feet away from me, my bag was lying open on an iron bench. I saw huge bundles of paper, peeping out from the half open zip.
‘How did you open it?’ I asked the man who was still lying on the ground, his face buried in the crook of his arm. He refused to answer me and I was feeling angry with him. I wanted to shake him up but my hands and feet were just hanging by my side. The darkness grew.
‘Okay, I want to wake up now. I want to go home.’ I said to the porter in red uniform, who was silently putting all the papers back in the bag.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
This morning I dreamt I went to visit the house of some friends. It was an unusual house in that there was a long low movable wall around its perimeter. At several points in the wall there were gaps to take the place of doors. You could move this wall with a simple push and get the openings to fit to the door of each room in the house. It was like opening the lid of a pepper dispenser. You push the lid around and different size holes become available depending on whether you want a light sprinkling of pepper or a great handful.
My friend’s daughter was in her room. I call him my friend but he’s more my husband’s friend. I have an ambivalent relationship with my husband’s friend, but somehow my feelings about him did not feature in the dream nor my feelings about his daughter, who is a strange person I find in real life, though in the dream she seemed normal.
She had gone to a great deal of trouble to tidy her room and yet I noticed the drawers were bulging and stuff peeped out through the cracks of the wardrobes as if she had simply stuffed things inside willy-nilly. There was a false sense of order here.
My youngest daughter who in the dream was still a toddler joined us. A carefree, cheerful toddler. Then a little ball of fur on legs walked across the room. It looked innocent enough and I asked my friend’s daughter what it was.
‘Stay away from them,’ she said. ‘They’re trouble.’ The ball of fur suddenly let out a spray of the foulest stench imaginable into the room and we all reeled back.
‘That’s what they do,’ my friend’s daughter said. ‘And if they manage to get some of that stink on you, it sticks for ages.’
I swooped up my daughter and tried to escape the monstrous ball of fur, which I felt sure was getting ready to spray us again.
The doors slid around the room and my friend, my husband’s friend arrived, all bluster and swagger. He remonstrated with his daughter for keeping the walls fixed in one place. He had had trouble getting in.
I was aware as if in a flash that there were other dangers lurking here in this oddly designed house and I must be careful.