Dreamed 2018/11/15 by Wayan
The sun's gone dim and sickly yellow. The smoke from the Paradise Wildfire is dense today. Toxic, too; that's not wood smoke but car, house and people smoke. Stay in, seal the windows, run an air filter, and still feel stuffy.
I finish and illustrate the dream-poem Off Dover, a half-sestina on biking across the English Channel. Jesus walked on water--I was just a fat-tire half-Jesus.
I can't seem to do anything BUT drift. Here in wonderful mono-reality. Where I can't go outside.
Try Shannon Hale's autobiography, Real Friends. Painful for me. Big sister bullied her; and a school bully had a clique that spread lies about her others believed. Though Hale wasn't an innocent victim; bossy with friends, obsessed with stories. She and big sis had anxiety and OCD tinges making friendship difficult. She says "got better as I grew into the wider world of adulthood."
I don't think I have. Narrowing, if anything. Letting friends drop away.
Watch an anime: Miss Hokusai. Edo, Japan, 1814. Her famous dad, Katsushika Hokusai (of the Great Wave) is so art-obsessed he's irresponsible. Mom walked out on him. Little sister's blind and fragile, lives with nuns, thinks dad rejected her, thinks she'll go to hell when she dies, which'll be soon...
Miss Hok paints too. Paints too well. At night, her painting of Hell leaks monsters. Dad adds a Buddha; hope as a safety valve?
Dad hears rumor that a local courtesan's neck stretches when she sleeps; her head goes exploring. He poses as a ghostbuster, claims he cured himself of similar ghost-hands. (Later Hokusai laughs, says he lied, hands were just a Chinese ghost story... "but it got us in.") She allows dad and Miss Hok to watch her sleep, see if it's true. Yep! Ghostly head goes roaming...
The world isn't what it seems.
Miss Hok, like dad, draws porn for cash. But she's told her porn is pretty but not lively/sexy enough. "Get more experience." So she visits a brothel for women. In bed, male prostitute learns who she is, he's a fan, asks about art and heaven and hell and forgets about sex... and falls asleep.
Sheesh. No wonder she's so world-weary. Guys let her down pretty consistently. From Dad on down.
Fascinating episodes, but incoherent in the end. May be translation problems, or compression--I suspect whole volumes in the manga become minutes in the film--or that it's not subtitled but dubbed in American slang with a rock soundtrack. Jarring.
Still, the core portrait is clear. A bright but perpetually disappointed girl. Because, perhaps, she expects it. Do I do this?
I'm with three friends dressed like Miss Hokusai, in a corner store with kanji and a good-luck Japanese swastika on the sign. Yet the architecture looks British. We're in a small theater on the ground floor, watching a strange film. A fairytale?
We get bored and decide to explore the building. Sneak out front. I know from the swastika there's a general navigational trick--always curve to follow the swastika's arms. Circle the building widdershins, try non-theater entrances. First two are locked, but the last, at the top of Prentiss Street, is ajar. In, a lobby--hotel or bank? Narrow stair to the right. Yep, no door, gate or even sign forbidding it. Follow the spiral! Find a maze of little halls and rooms. Funny, I can sense them before I see them.
Up to a strange space cupping the theater. Around it, above it. One-way mirrors so guests don't see us but we can peer in.
Behind us, someone starts up the stair. Slow tread. I can sense it's a woman who'll kick us out--staff only up here. Gotta hide! The girls with me wriggle backward--feet first--into pigeonhole-nooks a foot wide and yards deep, storing rolled rugs and fabrics--mostly fake fur. They burrow into the center of loose rolls... successfully, to my surprise. Like tuna inside furry sushi rolls. Fur-maki!
Furry masks form, hiding their exposed faces. Quite effectively--they can swivel and even look through the creatures' artificial eyes, smile with their mouths. Gradually their masks, their furry disguises, become living. We're upstairs--in the spirit plane--so I can ghostily see the rolls of fake fur right through the wood shelving, and through the rolls, I faintly see their bodies transform into catgirls, kitsune, deer-girls...
They're adorable--but then they were as humans too. Why won't I date them? Never ask a single one out.
Damn. I am a Miss Hok. Expecting letdowns. I never even tried.
NOTES ON WAKING
My housemate Alder tells me "I had a weird dream last night. I was exploring a strange building with lots of little spaces. My friends hid in big fabric-storage nooks, and turned into these cute creatures!"
Physics is wrong. Magic is real. If fitful. Don't be a Miss Hok. Dump your dreary expectations.
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