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An Altared Mansion

Dreamed 2004/10/18 by Wayan


I read A.S. Byatt's The Djinn In The Nightingale's Eye. Writing up her own story as a fairytale... I wish I'd written it. Wait, that's exactly what I DO write.

The most striking scene: in Istanbul, in the Hagia Sophia, a Pakistani guy starts talking with her. Soon he's spouting "jihad!" and "death to Westerners" right in front of his wife and daughters as they wince. Appalls Byatt; scares me. If even family men think like this, we have no way to avoid eventual world war.

My regret's purely selfish--a generation of war means social stasis. MY concerns (artistic and scientific) won't be returned to until I'm old at best and more likely long dead. My work will be seen as irrelevant by these fighters for democracy and other obviousnesses--until they've won, and find they have no vision of anything beyond defeating this latest wave of tyranny.


I get a free ticket to a local festival a bit like Burning Man. It's on a beach--lake or sea, I'm not sure. A long beach with regular pavilions for cookouts, like Juanita Beach where we swam when I was little. I'll work only an hour in a pavilion--cooking, cleanup, leading a group? I forget. Early on, my friend Mike and I buy tickets (few items at the fair cost extra, but this is separately run--a California State Historical Site?) to tour a strange mansion.

It's a whimsical mix of Victorian turrets and Spanish tile roofs and arches, enclosing a small plaza. Cavernous inside, with trees and brush--a dark stuffy forest! On its plank floor, a maze of shrines and altars to hundreds of gods from tribes around the world.

Dim rooms full of idols. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
Fascinating, but in the windowless dusk, I can't see them well... a woman in our group describes some of them. She's not a true tour guide--that comes later. We're exploring on our own while waiting for our proper tour. But it's been hours, and I'm getting bored. And running out of mansion!

We open the garage in desperation, having searched every other room. Furniture painted over and set up to cast shadows out curtained windows--scary silhouette scenes for Halloween! They look silly compared to the real altars upstairs.

Sudden insight. I've been trying to recall a song I wrote years ago, a very early one, about this mansion! Wanted to resurrect and finish it, then pitch it to our band. But as I try to recall its melody, I become steadily more convinced I already adapted it--as the bridge in "Limpin' On the Levee" or "Gaia's Song"! Table covered with idols. Dream sketch by Wayan.


We're creepy and we're kooky,
mysterious and spooky.
We're altogether ooky,
this sad humanity.

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