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RABBIT WORLD

Dreamed 1990/9/26; 16-color digital comic drawn with a mouse, by Chris Wayan

I dreamed I was a telepathic rabbit on an alien world. My life there was so vivid and coherent that I think it's a real planet out there...

Rabbit World, Page 1: I like our world, though it's dry. We're telepathic, teleporting, long-tailed rabbits. We live in ancient burrows called Hearths. We love to visit and catch the latest art trends. This year it's inlaying crystals in your pelt with resin. Supposedly, they amply your powers. Some people have been adding mirror shards.
Rabbit World, Page 2: We never had the concept 'mirror,' but we buy a lot of them now from the space traders. When I first saw one, I thought an ancestor had come to visit. I guess we could make mirrors, now that we know, but the aliens' prices are low--if you're firm! Only a ton of iron ore for a hand mirror... Now, this last winter lightning struck hundreds of our people. Hundreds! It took us months to catch on. When people out feeding under clear skies started being hit, we knew. The space traders were out to save some money--by eliminating the middlemen. Us. Orbiting lasers fired on anyone in the open who used their Power. The satellites seemd to pick up reflections from our crystals, too, and especially mirrors. Their mirrors. You know, I think they expected us to give up in the face of their godlike, incomprehensible power. They didn't know us at all!
Rabbit World, Page 3: We adapted. Life was dull, under siege. The wonderful alien invention, 'windows', all had to be buried to block laserfire. No outdoor parties, travel only on foot--we had to walk to the waterholes, the fields, the next Hearth's dances. Oh, well, we met in passing more, greeting the neighbors with 'Dream well?' (our Rabbit hello). With sore feet came massage and lots of sleepy lovemaking... I think the turning point was when the other alien traders snuck in with a load of laser rifles. Did we want to buy? The star cats' offer caused all our minds to fly to the new World News Burrow firepit, and join in the debate. We were split till the soul of Penelope the Outspoken leapt into the fire and said 'How will you dream, with aliens guarding you from aliens? We must grow our own protection!' And we did. There's an octahedral toy we hang up at parties--it shoots any light ray back to its source, no matter what angle it comes from. We started wearing octahedrons with very accurate right angles. Not as pretty as inlaid jewels, and if you're hit, your survival odds are poor, but...
Rabbit World, Page 4: with every third death, a satellite blew. And they COST! So, in the end, wearing reflectors and not using our Power until the lasats are all gone defeated the star folk. And we didn't get hooked on alien weapons! We WON! So... now our world is unified and free. We're an independent voice in galactic politics. But we lost something. Hard for me to explain it... especially since you humans never HAD it, as far as I can smell. Our life no longer centers on the Hearths, but on the new starport, the News Burrow, and the Psychic University. They're beautiful feeling holes, I admit, but though the GENERAL feel is like a Hearth, ARCHITECTS placed their spirals, nests and fires. They consciously blend the best features of old Hearths. But the essence of a Hearth is that its feel is NEVER general.
Rabbit World, page 5: Each corner of each Hearth had its own history, whose name grew from microclimates and memories--vent, damp, quiet, hot, old tragedy, view, love, air in, cool. Our new public showcases do fit our bodies, instincts and climate, but they lack true names, details, local jokes. That was how Hearth life nurtured our Power--isolation, noticing subtleties. Intuition needs isolation! Yet to survive, we had to unify. Look at our capital (yes, we have a capital now)--lovely spirals, but they lack gut-meaning. Once I read a poem by a human called Yeats--bitter lines about their fertility god 'Humpty Dumpty' (a talking bird egg). He falls off a wall and shatters, helpless before the irreversibility of Time. How'd it go? 'Time is our lives / Past-lives strung / Upon a puppet-thread. / A one-way bus ride!' (A bus is a tool to move humans, since they can't teleport. Strange as it sounds, the device, like laser beams, must go one way. To go back is disaster, impossible.) A hard lesson for us with our circles. But it's true. Time won't reverse. We have to start from here--edge or no edge out there. From a vast universe of unique Hearths, the enemy shrank us to a world. They made us small... by making us one.
Rabbit World, afterword. This tale is true. I lived it. I dream like this--I'm in another century, life, body... world. Coherent, vivid, real as waking life. Many such 'dreams' include verifiable info, so I can't dismiss them as mere simulations. I live multiple lives! This one had two messages for me. 1: I just read ACROSS THE WOUNDED GALAXIES--interviews with sf writers. How they sniped at each other! And male sf writers like Greg Benford often put down the (mostly female) writers with psychic or spiritual themes--that's mush-headed escapism! Criticism like laserbeams from heaven. I'd never dare bare my rabbit-tales to such attack. Yet... we won the dream war! And my rabbits deliberately echoed writers the sf boys mocked. Starfolk buying telekinetically mined ore from planet-bound psychics? From a Darkover book by Bradley, a writer Benford said was so bad he wouldn't read her to find out how bad she was! (Wait, I just checked. Wrong, and unfair. He said that about Doris Lessing.) The Hearths are in Le Guin's LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS. I see hints of THE DISPOSSESSED too. The octahedral reflectors are in THE ROLLING STONES, a kids' book by Heinlein--they mean bouncing criticism off you. 2: I'd been a shy hermit; no lover or community or ambition--just shamanic dreams! Then I moved to San Francisco and became an artist. Now my rabbit soul faced a big city! Lonely, I went to parties and cafes, neglecting the call of my other lives. As I socialized, inner voices mocked the new me--music, dance, adornment, parties, groups, baring my psychic side. Note all these became deadly to the rabbit people! I drew so much inner laserfire that I had to hole up or get sick. I TRIED to rally, to unify my personality. I nearly did it--nearly got myself together. Thank Goddess I didn't! For the price was my Hearth. I didn't value loneliness enough yet. LONELINESS IS ANOTHER WORD FOR TIME. What are the new burrows, pretty but subtly inauthentic? My dream-art! This tale showcases themes far deeper than a well-meaning rabbit can consciously plan. Look behind my airporty simplifications and you may find the truth in your own Hearth. Dream well!

So be lonely, dig your burrow, sharpen your hunches...

Dream well.

AFTERTHOUGHTS, 2012

  1. 22 years later... I'm still a wary bunny. I still value loneliness and disunity and confusion and other such... flaws. I do my art quietly at home, socializing very little; I can only tolerate those rare people whose auras are basically animal.
  2. Hearth can of course be read 'heart', too. "...the essence of a Hearth is that its feel is NEVER general."
  3. I read Yeats a lot in 1990; no wonder a poem of his appears in the dream. But it isn't Yeats! Despite the touch of reincarnation, it doesn't even sound like him--maybe William Carlos Williams, Amy Lowell, or Eliot flirting with haiku. Yet in the dream, I knew it was Yeats and recalled it word-for-word. I almost never have such firm dream-delusions. Here it is in plain text, this non-Yeats Yeats poem, neither telling a dream nor composed in a dream, but known in a dream:

    ODE TO HUMPTY DUMPTY

    Time is our lives!
    Past lives strung
    Upon a puppet-thread.
    A one-way bus ride!'



LISTS AND LINKS: Acorn and Pelt, a related psychic bunny dream 7 years earlier - this dream triggered Emily Joy's Karma and her Sisters - I'm Just Not Myself Today - cross-species dreams - rabbit dreams - telepaths - other worlds - home! - mirrors and reflections - business - satellites and orbital stations - hunted! - war - business - writers and writing - personality integration - sociology and social criticism - community - anarchy - solitude - architectural dreams - life-paths - puns - dream poems - Yeats - past lives - comix - digital art - Ursula Le Guin - a Doris Lessing dreamlet: Hebradio - Marion Zimmer Bradley

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