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.