Dreamed 1995/5/15 by Wayan
My life-drawing class is tonight. I'm excited. SO excited I forget my keys and wallet. Lock myself out! Knock and knock. At last my housemate Lily lets me in--hadn't left for her bellydance class yet, luckily. Get my keys and wallet, run downstairs... Lily says "there's a canvasser at the door, don't open it, I'll be stuck hearing their harangue." Yep, a woman with a clipboard waits on our porch like a wolf outside a mouse burrow.
I still open the door. Won't let anyone keep me from my class!
The woman says she's not fundraising today, just distributing class schedules from Precita Eyes Mural Center. That's where my class is--where I'm going! Spotting my crayons and paper, she asks "You're not going to our life-drawing class by any chance, are you? It's pre-empted. This is Mural Awareness Week, remember?" Oh, yeah. I forgot. Someone did mention it...
No figure drawing class? Damn! I'll have to create my own. I go upstairs and draw nudes for two hours, from a "Oui" magazine, plus faces from Macy's fashion ads. Have trouble loosening up--in the real life-drawing class, the models' short poses at beginning force me to go fast, but with photos I keep giving myself an extra minute, and another. Though I try to stay under five minutes, I keep doing carefully rendered line drawings instead of the rough warm-ups I get in class, all mass and shadow and energy and gesture. Still, it's fun. And the models are so patient, and I get to pick the poses. Sexy.
But I get sick! Pain around bladder/prostate. Spreads to my balls by hour three. I get this sometimes from food allergies, but I didn't eat anything suspect. A purely emotional reaction. And I don't know what to!
Like many men, I can get sore testicles from repeated sexual arousal without coming, but I don't think I did that. Certainly enjoyed the beauty and sexiness of these images, but I was in drawing mode. Usually I've noticed, at least briefly, if I've suppressed sexual feelings.
I felt an illicit thrill sketching from a sex magazine that I don't feel in class, but I didn't notice any real guilt either--I've masturbated looking at images in sex magazines and not felt ill. Why would DRAWING photos be worse than masturbating?
The other thing that can trigger this illness is being sexually teased, or baited, or being groped by someone I don't like. No surprise there--suppressing sexual outrage can make anyone sick! But that wasn't happening here...
I don't get it. I do stretches on the floor, but the pain's not muscular, and I can't seem to pinpoint it. But it persists...
Pray! I'm that angry and desperate. Call on the Goddess of Love to FIGHT whoever is sabotaging her turf. I blame Artemis, the Virgin Goddess--fairly or un. Plenty of dreams have said she has a problem with my sexuality--I mustn't want anyone young and beautiful! How dare I!
So I think "Aphrodite, this is your sacred way she is blocking. She has no right to do this to me--to YOU." Suddenly I feel a sharp response--intense dizziness like in hypnotherapy when I face someting crucial, and it comes clear at last.
Answered? Not exactly... but at least... HEARD!
Call on others. The old Horned God, the Stag-man, the fertility god of the hunt, who the Christians maligned as a devil. "Do you want me sterile? You're a hunter--hunt me this illness!"
I call on Silky, the girl I should have been. "You married me in a dream. Be my spirit wife, then! Teach me sex and love, or be my friend and find me someone to love here in the physical world."
And on. I invoke what powers and parts I can. But the illness persists. Try yoga and dance stretches and shaking. That helps some.
Look at a fashion photo in a different way. As if I'm going to draw, but not ready to start. Just look. Shadows, curves and colors. Suddenly I see past the photo to the model, a real girl--not my emotional reactions to her based on... based on comparing her to my sister Miriel! Well, well, well. I just look quietly, and instantly feel a surge of sexual excitement in my body. Not emotional, very quiet there--purely physical. An erection within seconds, as soon as I think "She's not my sister."
So, unconsciously, I still compare anyone attractive to my sister, dredge up my old attraction to her and beat myself up with guilt about incest feelings. Whew! Yeah, that might do it....
The moment this comes clear, the phone rings, out in the hall. It's 11:30. For a week Lily's not bothered me when my door's closed. THIS time, she knocks on my door, "Phone call for you." I pull on pants, hiding my erection, open the door and take the call.
My fellow dreamworker Mark, calling long distance--calling to tell me a nightmare. This nightmare:
"It's Cops Go Naked Day. An annual thing. They have fun. See a cop directing traffic, clowning. Drivers honk horns. Then out of nowhere, a car hits him. It's impossible--no time for it to happen. The jump from comedy to horror is instant. I never have dreams like this, it's a terrible shock. Can't find a phone to call 911, yell to others, run looking for one, see a security guard leaning over the fallen guy, the rentacop has a phone but I have trouble dialing it. Finally let others call. The man's badly hurt, laid out in a way so he can't see his own body, his own injury. He asks if his head's been cut off! And because he suspects it... it gradually becomes TRUE!"Mark says he may buy a Dreamlight, Stephen LaBerge's new lucidity-device--goggles that sense REM and flash pulses visible through your closed eyelids, usually invading your dreams with some sort of blinks or flashes, enough to let you recognize the signal and become lucid. I tell Mark I've seen ads for a rival model for half the price.
I jokingly suggest he build a device of his own, based not on eye movements but the other physiological indicator of REM state: sexual arousal. Attach a small vibrator to the sensor and even if you fail to recognize the abrupt sexual jolt as a signal that you're dreaming, at least you'd be likely to shift to an erotic dream. Failures would be fun.
Mark objects that he wouldn't want to interrupt sexual dreams for lucid dreamwork. Turns out he wasn't aware that REM always involves sexual arousal, even if you're dreaming of Ping Pong or income taxes...
He gets amused and excited by the idea. "Lots of weird people out there would find THAT a cool toy--half way between a sex toy and a dream enhancer. Hmm! This could be a great home business!"
That's nice, but I'd like to just be able to have a girlfriend without getting sick from guilt. They did a job on me and I'm really angry.
Just before sleep I think "I'd like to try timed drawing of dreams--instead of one whole evening a week drawing, do a bit each day, an hour or less--any dream scene. Would force me to keep it rough, work only on the overall structure."
I get a wedding invitation. Two friends are getting married: a white mare, and a black dwarf who scares me a bit. The announcement sounds familiar, as if they've married before, but I know it's their first time. Strange deja vu. Was I at another horse wedding? Oh, wait, I was the groom! I married a nightmare named Silky, that's right.
I'm with several friends--literary and artistic exiles. A wedding again, but human this time. Feels like a Shakespearian play--for as the guests line up, we realize that the seemingly random bunch sorts neatly into couples who are obviously made for each other. We've just been so blind... So now it's... a double wedding? No, a triple. No. Quadruple! Eight of us say our vows on the terrace.
The original couple stretch their wedding cake to feed us all... we all know much the same circle so only a few new people must be hastily invited by bike messenger. With them, and latecomers, and the bikers, the party swells to about a hundred guests: many expatriate writers, but mostly working-class Italians--sculptors and artisans. They each just nibble a bit of cake, knowing it has to stretch.
Everyone pitches in to expand the wedding, bringing what food they have, for the original bride is much loved here. An English poet and writer, though part of what makes her popular here is that she's a fine amateur singer. It's a deeply democratic town, with strong union traditions right back to the medieval guilds, and she's a Countess, but everyone makes an exception for her. She's a dear. Well, being a blonde beauty doesn't hurt her popularity either. A bit delicate, but everyone treats her gently--protective of their beloved pet canary.
I talk with a retarded boy. At least all the town thinks he is. I'm not so sure. Quiet, shy, a bit deformed. But not stupid at all. A sculptor's son. I think he has talent.
I offer him cake. He declines shyly. I think that's how it's always been for him--too modest for his own good. On impulse, invite him to a smaller, less scary dinner "in a week, when things have calmed down. I'll cook for you." I was wrong. Happy endings for many, but this story is just beginning.
Can I draw the shy boy out?
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