Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This morning in my dream I travelled in a car with my husband from the school where our daughters attended a holiday camp of sorts. We were sitting in the middle of the car, a stretch station wagon, and behind us sat two rows of school girls, five in the first row and three in the back. Along with the driver, a teacher, we made up nine in all.

The trip home seemed precarious. I held onto a thin strand of something, a piece of string with a knob, that seemed to be the only thing connecting the front of the car and the driver to the rest of us in the back. If I had let go I imagined the body of the car and all eight passengers, including me and my husband, would be left stranded, unable to move, while the driver took off in the front of the car. Split down the middle.

In spite of it all we made it back to the school. We had left our groceries in the car and my husband went off to have a rest while I stayed near to one of the other holiday cottages with my youngest daughter. We sorted beads and bits of jewellery.

At one stage I went inside the house of a writing friend and had to climb over a couch and bench top to get to the door as I was leaving. In doing so I upended a bowl of chrysanthemums.

The man who shared the house with my friend helped me to pick up the flowers and return them to the vase. 'What do they mean for you,' he asked in a Dutch accent.

‘Of family,’ I said. It was the first word that had come to mind. Chrysanthemums reminded me of my family. All those long stems and colourful heads.

Monday, December 19, 2011

     I dreamt it was very late at night, though weirdly light outside.  We lived in a rambling apartment very high up in a building.  My friends Jon and Mark were over.  Mark was acting badly.  Even though it was very late, Jon and I planned to go out.  He was supposedly quitting cigarettes, and there was no way he was going to bed anytime soon.  Mark walked over and lay down on the bed next to my wife Louisa.  I said, “Aren’t you going, Mark?”  He reviled me.  I went to the kitchen to do some dishes.  Mark followed and stood by me at the sink flicking water at me.  “You’re just trying to provoke me to hit you, so you can hit me,” I said, then launched into a long complaint to this effect, “Mark, how can you act like this to me, after the thousands of things I’ve done for you?  You shouldn’t be messing up my house, you should be helping me clean it.”  He scoffed.  “I’d help you clean your house,” I said, a bit of a stretch.  He shrugged and finally left.  Jon had already left.
     I drove through some downtown city streets looking for Jon’s place.  Was it that way?  No, my friend Sandy’s place was over there.  Jon’s place was in another direction.  I started to turn around in the street, which was partly blocked off by construction.  A couple of guys were standing there, leaning against a concrete divider.  They came to jack the car as I was making a K turn in the confined space.  A guy pushed his hand in the partly open window.  I tried the power windows, the power lock, nothing worked.  The car went dead, the guys got in.  “Please don’t hurt me,” I said.  I couldn’t read their eyes.  “We’re just going to ride around and take some money out of your bank.  It’s hardly a crime.  It only gets you 40 hours in jail,” one of the guys said.  With visions of $1,000 or more being taken out, I lunged to get out of the car.  The guy grabbed me and almost did violence to me right then.  I resolved to cooperate with them after that.  They started leading me through some streets.  It was almost fun.  “Who’s the guy?” someone asked them about me.  “Some tourist.”  “I’m not a tourist, I live in Brooklyn,” I chimed.  “Sure.”  My daughter Charlotte joined up with me.  I thought it would be OK for her to observe the criminal activity.  They led me into what looked like an office building with, I figured, a Chase on the ground floor.  I’d told them to take me to Chase, so I wouldn’t have to pay the fees.  They were slightly amused.  But we swung into a large room with many seedy people that reminded me of a nightclub.  My abductors disappeared through a door.  When I followed them, I didn’t see them anywhere, only lots of seedy corridors.  I went back to the large room, where I noticed a guy with a ponytail.  Was he one of them?  I asked how to find them.  A guy at a lectern pointed in a certain direction.  Realizing I might get beat up for falling behind, I told Charlotte, “Things might get ugly, you better go back.”
     I wandered into a legal office.  God, I thought, I’m walking right into Kafka’s The Trial, a parallel world of enmeshment in a legal or bureaucratic nightmare that lurks in every society.  It can happen anywhere at any time.  But the lady at the desk was nice.  I told her I’d gotten separated from a group.  On her computer, she called up these maps of the vast complex, some 3-D and cross-sectional.  She circled one area, off to the side.  She called up a page with the names of my abductors listed.  I recognized their address, which was near Jon’s.  “What are you doing with these guys?” the woman asked.  “Basically, they’re going to rob me,” I said.  “I figured,” she said.  “My daughter was with me,” I said, “but I told her to go back.  She goes to Stuyvesant High.”  The woman was uninterested.  A guy who looked like Kevin Gilroy, a grade-school friend, came to retrieve me.  He was holding a metal rod.  He immediately threatened me with it, but didn’t strike me.  We walked outside, along the side of the complex, as if we were going to enter another building.  He said he was going to a Big 10 basketball game this weekend, mentioned how great this guy was on one Big Ten team.  I mentioned Archie Griffin.  “He’s only scoring five a game.  But they need him to keep Knight honest.  Knight’s still a bit rough.”  As we talked basketball, I unfortunately awakened from this amazing dream.
     I dreamt I visited the apartment of Allen Ginsberg after his death.  I think I planned to steal some things, but there wasn’t much to steal, or if there was anything, it wasn’t apparent.  There were just cheap cups, pictures and clothes.  It turned out his place was connected to a caretaker’s apartment, which was down some inconspicuous back stairs.  A woman caretaker appeared and asked me what I was doing there.  I lied and told her I was a friend of Allen Ginsberg.  I said I had left some papers and other things there.  I wanted to pick them up now.  Surprisingly, she believed me.  She left and shortly afterward came back, saying there were some special Indian bowls on the outside windowsill I might be interested in.  The bowls were incredibly cheap-looking.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In my dream I came upon a woman who sat alone in the burned out remains of her house.  Parts of the house were still intact: an outdoor garage filled with stuff and one side of the front room, which included the large armchair in which she sat, the chimney place and part of a mantel piece, but that was all.  The rest of the house stood as charred remains.

The doctor who was also my doctor, a tall young man, walked into what was once the woman’s lounge room and muttered words of sympathy.  She fell into his arms and sobbed.
‘How did this happen?’ he asked.
The woman was not certain she said but thought it had something to do with the fibres that were woven into a mat that lay on the floor covered in soot and burned debris. The woman pulled out a fibre and it morphed into a fuller shape as if it took on a life of its own.

Before she could explain any further I began to recognise that the fibres were probably related to ghosts or strands of similar fibres on the other side of the world.

The area became a bustling child care centre.  I was inside one of the rooms when I came across J, one of my greatest adversaries in relation to a certain professional matter.  We had not spoken for months. ‘Let’s agree to disagree,' I said to her.  'Let’s have a truce.’

She hesitated but in the end nodded her agreement and then handed over a large box of Lego that had once belonged to one of her sons.  Some of the Lego tipped out when I tried to put it down and I saw that these pieces were all so tiny they would be a problem for my children and grandchildren to use, but I accepted the gesture as genuine.

I asked J’s son if he enjoyed playing with this Lego.
‘It’s not much fun, ‘ he said.  It’s more like hard work.’’

All at once the husband of the woman in the burned out house leapt forward and threw a grenade at his wife and at a cluster of small children who were hovering in a sort of cubby house in front of the property.  The woman and children panicked.  They doubled over waiting for the explosion, but the grenade did not go off.

I was aware it could still explode but calmly started to urge the children one by one to leave their dangerous bunker and to go back to another house for tea.  I urged the woman to do likewise when she was the only one remaining but she stayed put and my clock alarm, not the grenade, went off to end the dream.


Unbeknown to me and while I was out a Minotaur took up residence in my house. After I realised this, I decided to go in through the back entrance where I met a young school girl. She had been living in this part of the house and told me she had plans to kill the Minotaur.

‘I will wait till it’s asleep and then pierce its eye with my spear.’

I walked up the corridor to the centre of the house when the Minotaur appeared. It looked like a stocky, middle aged, short haired woman with an enraged glare in her eyes. It lunged for me as soon as she it me but I held it at bay using the pile of text books in my arms as a barrier. From around the corner a woman appeared pushing a trolley. She seemed to be a housekeeper or some other such servant and she looked on bemused.

‘What’s that behind you?’ I asked the Minotaur who turned and then launched the attack on the unsuspecting housekeeper. The Minotaur threw the woman  to the ground and left her unconscious.
Then it turned back on me. Its arms, brown and sinewy, reached over the barricade of my books as it tried to grab hold of me. The Minotaur was determined to get me.
I woke in a lather.


I was desperate to find a place where I might write unimpeded when I found myself in the quadrangle of the University of Melbourne.  I decided to go upstairs into an area that was usually off limits for those who did not have an ID.

I had lost mine but the woman at the front desk let me in regardless.  She allowed me entry as far as the library but behind her back I snuck upstairs into a series of rooms where at last I thought I might be able to settle into writing.

I met my husband and his three brothers in this same series of rooms.  They had been drinking, but were not yet drunk.  My husband refused to take another drink one of his brothers had offered him and I was relieved.   Otherwise, I thought I might need to carry him out.

We came across a room filled with people who looked as if they were asleep or unconscious.  They did not stir when my husband and his brothers walked through and although their bodies were intact it was as if they were dead.

My husband and his brothers started to jostle these bodies, to wake them up.

The lifeless people began to stir but something in their movement alarmed me.  They moved as if in slow motion and it was only when I looked into their eyes which were blank – there was no iris only white in the middle where the dark orb should be – I realised they were zombies.

I was terrified.  If they should get hold of us, of any of us, I thought, they would grip on and turn each of us, the living ones into zombies.

I woke in a panic.