Dreamed 1999/1/30 by Chris Wayan
for Nicole Kidman and Alice Hoffman
Big screen? full comix version
I'm standing on the roof of City Hall. It's windy and I'm a bit nervous. Cling to the dome like I'm riding a horse. No danger, really--it's not a hurricane.
If anyone were here to look.
But there's no one at all, not up on the roof, not bustling across the plaza below, or lunching by the fountain, not even in the windows of City Hall. Pigeons and a lone dog below.
The City empty at lunch hour? What don't I know? Is Godzilla in town or something?
It's a beautiful old building, with vaguely Spanish, vaguely Victorian cupolas and domes--a complex with many wings. One holds a branch library, another the local museum. The city's memory; the city's mind.
The complex, with all its vital records, seems empty and vulnerable; I feel protective.
"I"? Who AM I?
Suddenly, as the wind puffs red hair in my face, I'm not sure.
Take a good hard look at myself--white, female, red-haired, skinny, leggy. I feel my face, feel my body all over. It's naggingly familiar, yet I know I've never worn it before.
Then I recall. Unmistakable.
I'm Nicole Kidman! Nicole Kidman playing that red-haired witch in "Practical Magic." She had real powers... do I have them, here?
I don't know, but I seem driven to perform a magical mission. I grope to get it clear...
For someone who feels protective toward City Hall, what I do next is peculiar--or is it? I certainly don't know why I do it. But I start peeling the highest dome apart! It strips with no resistance, like a rotten rattan basket. I peel off great rings and hoops and roll them off the roof, into air. They're not heavy enough to hurt anyone below so I don't even check the plaza. The structural shells are nested like Russian dolls; I peel and pull them up and toss them all, shouting with glee!
Maybe the Godzilla they fled was me.
The great dome unwinds, down to the size of a bushel basket, then to a plant-pot... and then... it's gone.
It was so satisfying, like picking off a scab that was itching to go.
Incredibly, there's no hole underneath--just smooth roof! The Civic Dome looked integral, but it was just clinging to the building like a tick!
I feel relief that it's gone--a parasite on the body politic. A scale-mite on the Big Orange! A falsie on the breast of Liberty!
Okay, okay, I don't know WHAT it was. Just a heap of annoying wicker.
I notice a worrisome trickle of smoke from the library-museum wing below and behind me. Makes me uneasy, but I feel like I have to leave that for others to catch and put out, or not, as the case may be.
I'm meant to focus on this job--peeling off those stupid circles of wicker.
Suddenly I sit down hard on that uncomfortable cinder roof, scorching my butt, unable to quit repeating that phrase.
Circles of wicker, circles of wicker...
Oh no! Circles of WICCA? This IS about that movie "Practical Magic"--it was full of Wiccans! Well, not full. But there was a circle...
Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock are witch-sisters who get in over their heads, and finally recruit all their small-town neighbors out of desperation. Their flimsy coven puts Nicole in a protective circle as they collectively try to exorcise the malevolent ghost of her abusive boyfriend... one of those magnetic, sexy bad boys, who turned out to be part vampire.
You know, the kind of ex who just won't stay dead.
Now that I think about it, in that witch-family's long, long history, there was never one single witch boy! In fact... the only GUY with practical magic in the whole movie was that boyfriend from hell!
I was so hot for those cute witch girls, I barely even noticed (though my dreams sure did) that good magic was shown as a women's monopoly.
Their script simply had no role, no room at all, for good male witches...
As I ponder the message, the hot sun, the sharp gusts of wind, my red hair, the gravel under my butt all fade... into a dream-cloud, then into in a bed.
Where I sit up, confused to find my breasts missing.
Oh. I'm male now.
No room for good male witches... like me.
When I woke up fully, though, I doubted my own interpretation.
I mean, all this IS a lot to hang on one wickered pun. Sorry, I meant "wicked pun".
I even wondered if the dream were really just warning me that our houseplants have an infestation of scale mites...
But I couldn't shake the feeling that when I peeled the wicker dome off City Hall, I'd done something immensely important--and satisfying.
Something long, long overdue.
As I drew my dream and compared it in detail to the film, the dream's point seemed unmistakable. I was raised feminist, with two gifted, psychic sisters. So the film's reverse sexism was so familiar to me, it was invisible. Natural. Just like most men's complacent assumption that they're superior.
So that wicker dome is my belief only girls have good magic--boys are mostly prosaic and vulnerable like Sandra Bullock's doomed husband, or at best immune to magic like Aidan Quinn--or if they DO have power, they're monsters like Nicole's bloodsucker boyfriend. No wonder I don't trust myself and keep my own magic in the closet, or turn female in my dreams to work magic! Even a supposedly witch-friendly film like PRACTICAL MAGIC has no positive role models for me--and a glut of bad ones. If I trust my hunches, cultivate psychic dreams, or date the local witch-girls, I'll die or turn demonic or vampiric or... blah blah blah.
The dream warns I need to peel away my layers of belief that only WOMEN are loving, sexy, spiritual... practically magic.
But I'd like to reserve the last word for my happy dream self, me-as-Nicole-Kidman-as-a-witch, up on the roof of City Hall, with bits of wicker in my hair from that demolished scabby dome...
"I just want to point out that despite all the talk of unfinished business, I really DID dismantle that particular parasitic pile of bullshit about men and Wicca!Maybe you can think of a few in your life.
"I cleaned up City Hall.
"And it wasn't even work. It felt so GOOD!
"What else you got for me to rip to shreds?"
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