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The Doggysey

Dreamed 2009/11/26 by Wayan
for all us misfit mutts

Oval sketch for dream painting 'Acorn & Pelt' by Wayan. Click to enlarge. THAT DAY

I'm working on a big dream-painting, Acorn and Pelt. Gotta redo much of it. Sand down and paint over most of the wording and the fight scene at top, then slowly re-letter...

During breaks, I read a lot of comics. Three disappoint me:

  1. Owly by Andy Runton. Don't see why it got awards. Stylized so heavily it gets hard to read expressions, sometimes even hard to figure out actions. And once you do, the story's nothing much.
  2. Akiko on the Planet Smoo, by Mark Crilley. Okay, he does have a knack for scenery. And silly names. But what is it with Akiko? As if the joke's been told or there's an adult subtlety beyond the child's narrative... but where IS it? All sizzle, no garlic tofu. Never quite clicks for me.
  3. Mercy Thompson: Homecoming. Not how I conceive everyone's favorite were-coyote. The puff piece at the end suggests, between the lines, it isn't how her creator Patsy Briggs thinks of her either. I'd rather read the books.

Two impress me:

  1. Miss Don't Touch Me by Hubert and Kerascoet. A French comic set in the Jazz Age. Blanche's sister is murdered, but no one believes her. Cast out, she works in a whorehouse; with Josephine Baker she zeroes in on the killer, who turns out to be... the patriarchy. A whole rich-guy net. They guillotine her best friend. Looks like Blanche'll use the photo-trove she finds to track down the murderers and kill them on her own. You know a book is dark when you hope the heroine becomes a serial killer--just what she set out to catch. MDTM is a harsh reminder of just how deadly patriarchy was to poor women, and how much has changed--in some places.
  2. Tokyo Days, Bangkok Nights by Jonathan Vankin, in two very different moods.
    1. In Tokyo, an American tourist stumbles into a dysfunctional Japanese family. Mom gave her stupid fuckup son to the yakuza, but even they couldn't make him grow up. His sister, a cosplayholic, just wants to be famous at any cost. Better? Worse?
    2. Bangkok: two sisters get sold into prostitution. The smart one wants out, but the impulsive one's ambivalent--she was bored on the farm. An American couple blunders in, tries to help. Limited successes: the smart sister escapes and the boxer gets a sex change on her boyfriend's tab. It's unpredictable and morally complex; all characters have selfish and decent flashes, even the pimps, enforcers, perverts. Girlfriend becomes an activist...

      I reject the charge Westerners messed up Thailand. After Miss Don't Touch Me, I see patriarchy as the Thai core problem too. Foreign money can heighten prior injustices, but don't tell me about these poor innocent Thai families broken up. To pay for their sons' colleges, they sell their daughters. For breeding. Like dogs.

Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.


THAT NIGHT

I skulk at night around downtown buildings. Slip in. Not easy, but I'm a nocturnal creature--a fox, coyote, or midsize wild cat--not a man. Wriggle in a vent no human could.

I'm not hunting food but information. I find some but not all the evidence I need.

This tower has lights on in one suite on the ground floor. I saw traces of motion too, though I'm not sure a human would.

A female cop with a likable aura and cute body (skinny brunette, latina I think) comes to investigate the same things I did, though not for the same purpose. I trust her instinctively, but of course she won't trust me. And I'm the one she'll spot.

Well, maybe not. I use all my skill and delay her seeing me, hoping she'll flush the original intruder first, and... she does! Narrows it down to a counter made of open boxes.

No wonder I hadn't caught the "burglar"! So small. A tiny, starveling dog.

She croons to it.

So I start to sing too.

I sing that song from the Disney animated musical, you know the one, about Odysseus the dog and his big brother, the one groomed from birth to rule the kingdom.

Big Brother had the training, the confidence, the connections, and most of the pack. All Odysseus had was brains. Brains and a single family servant who stuck with him out of childhood friendship.

Puppy love.
Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

As I sing, I see us from outside my body--the starved little mutt sits in one box, I in another, and the cop in a third between us, like she's the beauty-contest judge between us--cop between dogs instead of Paris between gods.

But at the same time, inside the Disney plot, we're perched on shaly, unstable sea-cliffs.

Very unstable. We, or at least the images of us in the song, start sliding down the cliff. Tumble, fall. Ow!

Now THAT's weird. We fall at different rates! Big Brother lands first, with a jar, the rest of us much slower and softer. So much for Galileo! Aristotle was right. Heavy dogs DO fall faster.

Now all the dogs of Ithaka assemble, and take sides, forming two disparate packs. One is the royal court: gorgeously groomed showdogs draped in heraldic doggie blankets. The other: a rangy hound and his stubby, stubborn friend, a country cousin I think, carrying heavy panniers full of practical gear and kibble.

The court, following Big Brother, wades the lagoon to a verdant tropical islet, Purebred Isle; Odysseus and his sidekick dogpaddle across a slightly deeper channel to a smaller islet on the left--the Isle of Mutts.

So the Ithakan brothers set out on parallel journeys through the Mediterranean islands--the long years of strange trials that will prepare them for their roles in the Trojan War (okay, Disney took some small liberties with the true sequence of events: Doggysey first, Kibbliad later.)

We needn't follow their whole journeys. You know how the musical ends.

Even Disney, notorious for meddling with myths, can't change which brother wins Penelope--and the throne of Ithaka. After ten years of trials.

NOTES IN THE MORNING

Dream sketch by Wayan.


AFTERWORD, 2018

All the next week, I prepped and hung that artshow for my friend's theater benefit. Huge, some 45-50 paintings & sculptures on two floors. As I prepped, one art piece jumped off my wall and broke, with no one near, after years of stability. Next day, a bigger one did the same. In transit, on deadline, a third fell. Glass shattered. Shards in my hands.

A poltergeist, or my own unconscious if you wish, hated the show--and was willing to smash my art and make me bleed to stop it.

Scared, angry, I kept on. Hung the show.

That ghost was right. The event was a bust. Their publicist was a well-meaning amateur; pulled in 20 people, not the hundreds promised. Days of wasted work for the cast, the caterers... and me.

That was my last big brick-and-mortar show. I (literally) bled to show my dream-art to a few indifferent theatergoers, when a little coding lets six million view it a year. With remarkably little bloodshed. After, of course, ten years of trials. But all artists face that.

The Web as it currently is has profound flaws--Isle of Mutts, no denying it!--but the art world, the corporate world, the snotty Isle of Purebreds? Even worse.



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