Dreamed 1997/12/10 by Chris Wayan
I watch "Dharma And Greg" on TV. Dharma teaches yoga; a self-defense teacher starts stealing her students and tearing down her flyers. When Dharma confronts her, the woman laughs at her--and beats her up! Dharma's face covered with bruises. A lifelong pacifist, she's scared and ashamed of her own thoughts of violent revenge. Her best friend Jane isn't guilty at all: "That bitch's Gatorade needs some antifreeze." I identify with Dharma's fictional dilemma, since I lived it: I was raised as a pacifist hippie, and when I got beat up in school, I too was hurt more by my own violent impulses to fight back (which I stifled) than by physical pain. Dharma dredges all my old rage up from the Sea of Amnesia, barnacled over with guilt. A treasure I don't want.
I dream two art students are arguing. Which sculpture class would stretch them more as artists--and as persons? A tall slender brown girl in a long dress, good-looking except for a nose like Cyrano or Pinocchio, an absurd Nixonian ski-jumper a good 4-5 inches long, argues for a class in small sculpture (ceramic or paper maché) that's supposed to be done "without planning, from passion--pure venting of emotions."
Her friend's a short, pretty Eurasian girl with a normal nose. She argues for a class where you make sculptures of the characters in a disturbing, dreamlike East Asian fairytale about an animal/spirit spouse, who functions as a guide to the other world. This anima leads students into making a gallery of their own inner personalities, especially the ones they'd rather deny. She admits "If you play it safe or chibify them" (Nixon Nose blinks, so the Asian girl clarifies:) "y'know, make 'em cute... the class won't induce much growth. But explored in depth, it has way more potential than just venting."
I don't know which course I want to take. That giant, ridiculous nose, though... it nags me. Feels symbolic of something.
THE NEXT MORNING
I write the dream out. The argument's clear enough--venting emotions versus a balanced exploration. Heart or head. But I'm puzzled by the tall girl with her beautiful face disfigured. See the parallel to Dharma's battering, and that girl seems to be saying "Just let your anger out when someone abuses you"... but why a long ski-jump nose? Wouldn't bruises have made the point?
That long nose could mean lying--Pinocchio, Nixon! A warning to disregard her advice? Or does the nose mean beating the violent through sheer wit, like Cyrano de Bergerac/Cyrus D. Vance/Steve Martin in ROXANNE?
The fairytale sculpture the un-disfigured girl favored sounds a lot like my dreamwork. I really HAVE been sculpting several dream beings, anima figures...
After a whole morning of speculation... I give up. A beat-up girl would have made sense. Why NIXON?
My friend Dawn invites me to a movie by Ang Lee: ICE STORM. It's about a bizarre Connecticut family in the 1970s. The daughter's obsessed with the Watergate hearings. She asks a boy to make out with her while she wears a Nixon mask with a five-inch ski-jump nose! He's so horny he actually tries to make out with Nixon-girl, his eyes averted, wincing, almost in tears at how he's torn between desire and revulsion. In the slang of the time, freaked.
But not as freaked as I am. Spent all day explaining away the symbolism of Nixon-Nose Girl, when I was about to encounter her...
Not that this explains why my dream used this grotesque image. But the origin is unmistakable--the future. If Nixon-nose Girl stands for anything, it's ESP. And if she's got a hotline to the future, maybe I'd better take her advice. Leave the sophisticated explorations of dream-selves for the future. Right now, just vent my passions--tear off my mask!
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