Sunday, January 31, 2010

I worked with someone called Michael, who traveled in disguise for much of the time. He was a superman type who righted wrongs. There was also a female character in my dream who was evil. She morphed into different disguises to fool me and others into thinking we were safe. Then she assumed her original shape. She could create multiple characters at once.

I had been out to dinner with a daughter/sister who sat with her new extended family. She fed her baby from a bottle. I was intrigued to watch a bottle fed baby. The idea that you could actually see the milk disappearing, you could see the milk go into the baby reassured his mother I imagined unlike my experience when you could only trust that the breast fed baby was getting enough to drink simply by the amount of sucking she did and by the feel of your breasts between feeds, before and after.

I held the baby for a while and for some reason took him with me back to my room in a nearby castle. I had the baby wrapped loosely in it blanket and I worried that he would not feel safe with me once he recognised his mother was not there.

Michael my superman colleague arrived and told me that he was worried we were in danger. We would need to travel above the local area and look into the backs of other houses and castles to see what was going on.

‘I have to take the baby home first,’ I said.

‘Leave him here,’ Michael said, but no, I insisted, I must return him to his mother I could not leave him alone.

‘Wait for me, Michael,’ I said. ‘Wait for me.’

I worried Michael would not wait. I raced back to the family gathering and handed the baby back to his mother. She seemed disgruntled, not so much because I had taken her baby for a walk but because somehow earlier I had led her to believe that her extended family were not all they were cracked up to.

One member of her family was Malcolm Frazer, ex prime minister of Australia. At one stage he announced to the table that he was getting old. He spelt out his age – seventy-three years. In the dream he seemed much older than that.

I went back to Michael who was sorting out a car in which to make our trip. I needed to collect a final something from my room. On the way downstairs I recognised a woman on the stairs ahead of me as one of the evil woman’s stooges. I would not be fooled. I grabbed hold of her before she had a chance to attack me and squeezed her so tight her disguise fell away. I threw her onto the floor. Several other stooges appeared, all dressed as respectable staff or guests of the castle in which I was staying. I could not battle them all. I fled back to the car park to escape with Michael. The evil woman was in hot pursuit.

‘Michael,’ I called, ‘Michael.’ But when I looked to where his car – an old VW – had been, it was not there. No sign of Michael either and I knew then he had assumed a disguise. He could have been in any one of the cars that now occupied the car park. There were cars in all shapes and sizes rather like my grandson’s matchbox collection, sporty races, ambulance cars and caravans. There were conventional cars and old-fashioned re-furbished types.

Where was he? I knew – I hoped – he would rescue me. Somehow the evil woman also knew that Michael was somewhere in the car park. She did not lunge for me, therefore, perhaps hoping he would materialize. I woke up.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Last night I dreamed I brought my violin to work and went to the river and played Mozart's Turkish violin concerto. People were running on the path and no one stopped to listen they didn't acknowledge me but the fish in the river came together in a large arrow with the tip of the arrow pointing at me and watched.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I dreamed I was pushing a Victorian pram and I was stopped on a cobblestone street by a police officer who looked in the pram and demanded to know where my baby was so I took off my sweater (pink cashmere with pearl buttons) and bundled it up and placed it in the pram and said There.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm at a table with other people, including Rauan. We have to decide whether or not we're going to enter into some kind of challenge. It's four parts with deadly consequences. For the first challenge we need to select a particular button on a dog's collar. If we don't agree to accept the challenge, the dog blows up. If we do, we have to press the "accept" button on the collar. Rauan is participating in the challenge, but I also suspect that he's the one behind it. The committee agrees to press the accept button. The dog lives.

The second challenge is timed. Two committee women are controlling a cursor on a screen. Our task is to decide between two buttons. One button is to continue the challenge, the other is to quit. If we quit, a well-known poet blogger will be blown up. The decision is made last minute although each woman selected a different button. I'm not sure if that's an accident or intentional--meaning I wasn't sure if they had different opinions or just weren't working well together. We decide to save the poet blogger although it seems likes the button was clicked a second after the deadline. Now I'm wondering if perhaps the dog and poet blogger might not have really exploded. Maybe Rauan is just using the threat of explosion as an incentive for us to take this all seriously.

Before we begin the third challenge a bunch of plain-clothed agents come in. I tell Rauan that they've set their sights on him. They take him into another room for questioning.

* * *

The next day I dreamed:

Rauan is driving a convertible in Virginia (Leesburg). It's snowing. He gets out and lets me drive. The driver's seat is full of snow. My body doesn't fit the mold that Rauan's body made. I'm having a difficult time reaching the pedal or finding the wheel.

Monday, January 25, 2010

In my dream last night I walked along Riversdale Road and found that my neighbour’s house had been rearranged for a performance that was to be held there over the next day.

I sat in a café and eavesdropped on a conversation between a mother and her daughters. At least I assumed they were her daughters. All had dark black hair. They chattered joyously in that bickering sort of way families do.

I watched them walk out of the restaurant and then along Riversdale Road. They were connected with the performance somehow. I soon found that the husband of the woman with the dark hair and father of the three girls was the director of the play. He had a Scottish accent. I stood in the street and talked to the woman. I introduced myself. She commented on the size and wasted space of our neighbour’s house in which the play was to be performed.

‘I’d change it,’ she said. ‘I’d pull down the front.’

I did not tell the woman that my husband and I had plans to buy this house if ever it came on the market. It adjoined ours and we would love to own the whole space. The woman went on her way and as I walked back home I realised I had the wrong property in mind. The play was to be performed not at my neighbour’s smaller house but in a mansion two blocks further down the road in a place currently occupied by the Jesuits. This was a magnificent space, with a sweeping circular staircase, deep red carpets, and heavy velvet curtains. I was allowed to walk around inside and watched the actors go through their paces.

Towards the end of my dream, which had many twists and turns; I wound up standing on the edge of a high grassy hill overlooking the first full dress rehearsal. I stood with the director of the play. We held hands. His daughters joined us. They were older than my daughters.

One of my daughters had a lead role in the play. I was stunned at the beauty of her singing. I looked down to my feet and realised that the hill on which I stood was in fact a steep slope, so steep that it ran like a wall to the ground. I slid down. I could not get any traction in the grass and lost hold of the director’s hand.

‘It happens like that,’ he said. ‘As soon as you realise where you’re standing, you lose your grip.’

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I arrived at the stadium with my cherished copy of Finnegans Wake. I was joined by several others in a grassy area, a kind of walkway high upon its rim. We were to give a performance of some kind. As the stadium filled with people, I put my book on a long narrow table, then fell into conversation with a grown friend from grade school. She seemed to be in charge. She asked if I would be singing. I told her I hadn’t planned to, but could if she wanted. The stadium grew louder and louder. I went back and looked out over the rim — there was now a sea of people. Everyone was dressed in white and holding a little round light, a kind of third red eye glowing against their chests. Afraid I might fall in, I stepped away from the edge and stood by some foliage. I was on a narrow graveled road. From there, I could see that my book was missing. The sun had set. The performance began. I couldn’t see him, but I immediately recognized the voice of James Joyce. He was reading a passage from his book. It was then that I realized I had completely forgotten what I was supposed to do. In my foolish confidence, I had felt so prepared that I hadn’t brought any notes. The reading ended. Joyce was followed by someone playing an electric guitar. The musician was facing the audience, but standing in a shell where he couldn’t be seen. My stomach was in an uproar. I knew I was next. But I couldn’t go on. At the last moment, I asked someone if he knew who had stolen my copy of Finnegans Wake. He smiled and shrugged. As the music ended, I set off down the road, embarrassed, disappointed, ashamed.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I dream about people I am not actually close to so that when I wake up, my first thoughts are run-over emotions and connections that are completely fabricated. I do not blame my dreams.
I own a strange purse that I would never actually touch in reality and it is empty except for my hand digging inside of it. My hand is full of rings I have stolen and their sharp designs dig lightly into my skin. I am shopping in a mall of complete glamour and I cannot stop stealing. No one can catch me and so I continue because I know I can. My friends are mad at me and they run steps ahead of me and pretend they don't know me. I look down and see that I am dressed like them and this makes me want to scream. I think I have stolen everything I am wearing.

Before, we were at a party. The alcohol was low and everyone was dressed for summer and wearing shades of blue. I felt misplaced and angry. I think it was because I knew I would not be drunk. This makes me angry in reality.

When I awoke, I was speaking out loud explaining to my friends why they should still like me and my black cat is wrapped between my legs. My teeth hurt so I take a vicodin.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Whenever I have nightmares
It's the tonton macoutes I'm dreaming about
The other night I dreamed
They made me carry my coffin on my back
Everyone on all the Port-au-Prince streets was laughing at me
There were 2 or 3 boys not laughing
The other night I dreamed
They made me dig my grave in the cemetery
Everyone on television was laughing at me
There were 2 or 3 girls not laughing
The other night I dreamed
A macoute squad was getting ready to shoot me
Everyone was laughing
There was an old woman who wasn't laughing
Those little boys and girls there -
If I say more the devil will steal my voice
The old woman
Is Shooshoon Fandal
They brought her to see the macoutes shoot
Her 5 sons on a street in Grand Gosier.

Félix Morisseau-Leroy, "Shooshoon." Translation from Creole by Jack Hirschman and Boadiba.

Poem excerpted from 1/16/10 NYTimes Week in Review article by Madison Smartt Bell, "Haiti in Ink and Tears: A Literary Sampler."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I am teaching a class of pre school students, substituting for Iris P, the permanent teacher. I believe I was chosen because of unique, but undefined qualifications. Chatting at lunch, I discover that others of no talent have been given a similar job. Deflation and depression set in. But soon, I once more, become pleased with myself and my ability to charm a class of pre school students into focusing on reading Huckleberry Finn.

The children seem to be enjoying themselves. Iris then reappears and sends me on a field trip. I take about 30 children, accompanied by a group of parents. We spontaneously board a bus—that turns out to be an express. We try in vain to get off. Screaming and ringing the bell. We disembark miles from our destination.

We begin to walk back to school. The children wander into the street. I try to reach Iris by phone, but am unable to. “Help!” One by one, the parents leave. I am alone with the children, running from front to back of the line, attempting to move the kids on to the sidewalk. I fail, as the line snakes into traffic. Cars veer to avoid them. Finally, several kids are hit. An oncoming bus sends children flying. How will I report the incident? This is my main concern. I reflect back on myself, horrified. I wake up screaming, “KIDS!’’

..............(2 poems distilled from dream)

........................Children Walking

........................Middle of the road

........................Oncoming traffic

........................Children skipping

........................Oncoming traffic

.........................Inevitability looming


worm emerges

seduced by the sun

toyed with

swallowed by jay squawking

.................breast thrust

punt return specialist

reaches goal

beats chest

sambas on opponent’s back

..................fifteen yard

....................penalty assessed

Friday, January 15, 2010

My youngest and richest brother has loaned me his car. I can drive it though I find it difficult to control. It is a huge four-wheel drive monster elevated well above the rest of the cars on the road. In order to get inside I need to hoist myself in through the sunroof. Once inside, after I switch on the ignition I am aware that I drive almost by remote control. I do not know how otherwise to drive this car. I manage to take it places. I go to the shops. I stop at a market stall. I sit opposite a couple of women, one of whom I recognise from my school days.

‘Are you Anna T?’ I ask.

‘Yes,’ she says amazed that I recognise her. After we chat about life at my old school she remembers my name. I talk to another woman on my other side at the table who is dressed in the pale blue uniform of her daughter’s school. This school is different from my old school. This school uniform belongs to the student who attends the prestigious Saint Catherine’s girls school in South Yarra. The woman who must be in her fifties looks odd in her daughter’s uniform.

‘I’m planning to raffle it at auction as a fund raiser,’ she says.

The market hall is filled with shoppers many of whom this woman seems to know. Someone suggests she takes offers for the dress here and now before the auction begins.

‘Any bids?’ the woman calls out and another calls back, ‘Thirty five dollars’.

I wonder will they extend the bidding here and is it fair? I could raise it a dollar but the thought comes to me as I find myself walking up the school path of my old school that I do not need any more clutter in my life. What would I do with such a thing? I would probably fold it away in some dark cupboard somewhere and look at it only when I move house or spring clean.

I make a telephone call to my younger sister. I want to know whether it is okay for me to talk to her on Christmas day. For some reason I need to line up the call otherwise it will not happen. I plead with her to let me ring but my sister is silent on the other end of the line. I can hear her breathing but she will not agree or disagree. I am frantic at the silence.

I find myself back in my brother’s car trying to get home. I meet a woman who warns me that she too once owned such a car and in the event of a crash it was positively dangerous. There was no way of controlling it.

I take a tram to get to a meeting in the middle of the city. I have trouble finding the right tram. Eventually I am at the meeting and the offer goes out for someone to participate on a project related to my thesis topic. Somehow it has a Halloween quality as if the project will involve ghosts. I tell the group that I would like to be part of such an experiment but I do not say it forcefully enough. Another woman beside me, an older woman says that she will be the experimental subject and the group organiser chooses her. It does not do to be timid I think, as I watch the woman retreat out through the back of the room. She is off on an adventure but were I to participate in such an adventure I realise it might be overwhelming. It might drive me mad. Still I feel jealous of the woman who has the guts to speak out loudly and as a consequence gets her way.

I wake up.

In my dream I am at a writer’s convention, a workshop of sorts, akin to the one held in the Blue Mountains of Katoomba, but the location is different. This workshop is held near the beach. The houses in which the workshop participants are located sit atop two rocky outcrops that overlook the sea. It is necessary between sessions to walk from one house to the other and sessions are short. Generally they run for about fifteen minutes each.

I can keep up the pace through the first few days but coming towards the end of the workshop I begin to feel tired. Tired and disappointed. I have not connected well with any of my fellow participants. Although I have made an effort to be friendly and to chat, no one else is forthcoming. Every conversation is brief and superficial.

There is a hierarchy of superiority at this workshop as well. The more advanced writers are given the opportunity to stay on an extra day free of charge but they will need to run a group for novice writers in return.

I would like to be in this position but I have not been chosen and even if I were I could not. I have made arrangements to return home after a week and I cannot extend my stay. I feel unhappy and dissatisfied in a familiar way. I long to feel part of this group but I cannot. Even the woman with whom I travelled to the workshop, a woman whom I have known for a long time, disappoints me. She is tight and ungenerous. She is even reluctant to join the final dinner on the last evening.

I overhear a man on his mobile phone making arrangements for this dinner, which I would like to join and somehow he hands me the phone and I have a brief conversation with my husband about my plans for my return. When I finish the conversation I offer first to let the man use my mobile phone to make up for the time spent on his.

‘Alternatively,’ I say, ‘I can pay the cost of the call. How much do you reckon it’s worth?’

The man is lying on a couch beside his girlfriend.

‘About $150.00,’ she says, without even looking at him.

‘That’s an expensive phone call, ‘ I say. ‘Are you sure?’

‘It could even be as high as two hundred,’ she says.

I retract my offer to pay money. ‘You can use my phone instead.’ I feel ripped off; cheated by this couple and suddenly I am exhausted. I struggle back to the other house and decide to opt out of the next group meeting.

I need to climb three steps to get to my room but am hindered by a man asleep on the top step. He grabs hold of my leg as I climb over the top of him. It seems a friendly gesture and I welcome the contact. Then one of the organisers, a man with a clipboard, comes along and tells me I must return for the next session. I tell him I have plans to skip it but he insists.

The other man still asleep on the top step ignores the organiser and I would like to do likewise but I cannot. I grab my notebook and make my way back to the group. Before I get there I and wake up.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I’m alone on my back in a field. A low-flying, slow-moving goose stops directly above me. I close my eyes. When I open them, I see the blind-hungry face of an owl. I show him my hands to prove I’m not dead. His blink is a nod. He moves on.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

In my dream my sister and I are on holidays from boarding school. My sister is a cross between my daughter and my sister, the two flip about in my dream but I notice this only now as I write the dream down. In my dream their identity is stable.

We travel on an escalator in a fabric shop in search of material for a new doona or bedspread. Either we will buy the necessary material or we will buy the finished product, whichever we find that best resembles the colour my sister is after. She has a sample. It is a sea green colour more turquoise but one that is predominantly green not blue.

I have traveled here in this shop alone and I have some sense that I know my way about but everything seems to have changed and when we ask directions to the manufacturer’s counter from a fellow shopper within this huge department store, she tells us that it no longer exists.

We are standing at the foot of a straight ladder like staircase. I consider the possibility of going up but another shopper gets in before me and I give way to her. She must be in her mid fifties this woman and surprises me at her determination to climb this ladder even as in one hand she carries a heavy bag.

She manages to climb about ten stairs and I am close behind. Somehow I decide this trip is not worth it and I urge my sister/my daughter below to stay put. Then we walk down to the basement, where we come across a dark room called the bored room. We go inside and see a group of fellow students and one mother at a cafeteria style bar where they help themselves to coffee and ice cream.

No, I say to my daughter/sister we will not stop here. We do not need to stop here. We are not bored.