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FOXY ANCESTOR

Dreamed 1998/7/25 by Chris Wayan

fox reporter with pencil and notebook


I'm watching a biography of the man who invented feature-length film. He also developed primitive color slides. Though the inventor's name looks French, and he lived and worked in France and Belgium, he was born in Utah, which claims him proudly now. tiny fox ancestor looking left, tail up

Cut to an interview with a local centenarian who played with him as a kid--they were cousins. He casually tells of climbing canyon walls and hunting with rifles when they were small, horrifying the elegant suited Euro interviewer so much he blurts "But that's dangerous! How can you let children play with guns!"

The old man snorts "How the hell can they learn?"

Well, really he said something way more verbose and less focused. But I'm editing the interview and I boil it down to that. Must even re-spell words. Learn, for example, was 'learensten'. Something like that. Almost 'listen'.

After I edit out the excess letters, I shift to editing the faces of the old man and the movie pioneer as kids! In old sepia photos they both show obvious nonhuman ancestry: fox- or coyote- faces, wedges with big mobile ears, pointed noses. I don't edit that out since their common ancestor is a brilliant and famous animal-woman. The inventor's talent may come from her. Grandma's sons, half-human, married human girls, who had these cousins. tiny fox couple

What I edit out are their human mom's genes, which soften their faces and may have been exaggerated in Photoshop before the portraitist printed the portraits, to sentimentalize these tough little wild animals so their families would approve. Portrait artists have to eat too. Not that the pictures lie, really--their human, feminine sides are equally real--but they seem irrelevant to my present focus on the roots of the inventor's genius, which looks like a legacy from his hybrid father and foxy grandmother. So, next I run a plug-in filter not part of Photoshop: the femininity filter, that strips all feminine polish away. tiny fox facing us

Aha! I was right. Both faces retain their characters, indeed they're more vivid. Shorter, blunter, craggier faces. The traces of their canid heritage show more clearly. Try it on their celebrated ancestor too, even though she's female. Interesting: she loses her elegant beauty, but not her essential character! Woman writhes in embrace of a fox-masked figure; detail of a 'Interiors II,' a grayscale print by Peter Milton. Click to enlarge.

So her elegance was just a surface trait.

Wouldn't the French be horrified!

NOTES ON WAKING UP

One thing's clear--Silky and the other spirits I've befriended are not stuffed toys, simpleminded Jungian animas, or shamanic Barbie dolls...
tiny red fox ancestor



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