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Rejected! So?

Dreamed 2004/11/12 by Wayan

THAT DAY

I'm getting over the flu. Read all morning. Try Laurell Hamilton's Guilty Pleasures to see if it is. Vampire detective novels aren't my thing, but neither is The Thin Man, and I still liked that. Why am I having trouble enjoying this? Oh. Slumming's only fun if your guide to the gargoyles has three things: affection, humor and a moral compass. If our hero Anita really liked more of these people, and were genuinely funny, and was a significantly better person than her monster posse, the tour'd be worth it... but she doesn't, she's not, and she's not. A smartass at best.

My fellow shaman Xanthe calls. Tells me a drum-induced vision she might draw/paint. A boat journey; she gets offers to go down a sea monster's throat, to join many sea serpents, to fly and grow till she's big as the world, to double and watch her own body and spirit... she keeps politely turning them down and moving on... She puts her headphones on her dog so he can listen to shamanic drumming... There's a low-key humor in her journey I miss in, say, Dante. Her vision was mostly lit figures in darkness, so I suggest she try scratchboard.

Her talk of art inspires me. I paint another page or two of my watercolor dream-comic The Hedgehog Dispensary. Just coloring and little rewrites. Slow progress.

Then I work on my alien utopia Serrana, writing a tour of the shores of the Lesser Seas. Then I build a clickable chart of intelligent species--a Sentiary.

Afternoon: read Yeats's Celtic Twilight. Odd elliptical stuff, slippery, often funny. Hard to follow though: he assumes a cultural context lost to us today. I feel a bit critical of that. A bit more editorial care, please! But how's he to know he'll be read a century later in a deeply alien time? Still, it has flavor.

The Secret Rose: more Yeats tales from a few years after Celtic Twilight. Much more accessible, focused, emotionally powerful. Remind me of Olive Schreiner's fables.

Last: Per Amica Silentia Lunae, late Yeats essays on creativity. Thorny. No more poetic childhood anecdotes, no engaging stories by a mature writer, but fiercely focused arcane philosophical argument by a spiritual master. Uncomfortable stuff for me--because it's directed at me. People like me. If you can call us people.

Yeats highlights four imperatives for serious artists. Only the last is well known, I think:

  1. tell your discontents and limitations and yes, sins--deprivation suffering and inner war does make better art. Art without it is just good craft. It can sell and please but not transform, since you've glossed over the difficulties on the path.
  2. Push toward the exact opposite of yourself, your Jungian Shadow, all you dread and deny is you.
  3. Active imagination doesn't involve will, just relentless patience. The images want to tell you things that have nothing to do with your expectations... or desires. Just keep watching and see where they go. That takes long practice and hard work. It's the core of creativity. Not willpower, but won'tpower.
  4. And after all that, then comes rigorous craft--the 27 rewrites you hate. Or you love, but your spouse, kids and editor hate...
Evening now. Our band, the Krelkins, planned to meet and work on original songs. I'm tired, but it's only a block away. I slowly climb Bernal Hill, lugging my huge keyboard on my back like Techno-Jesus. Music martyr.

I pass a high bay window, bright-lit. A girl (slender, blonde, about ten) is lying catlike on the back of a sofa, looking down. As she spots me, she starts to squirm and gyrate, waving her bare legs in the air and pressing her pussy to the window and laughing...

We must fight to protect America's innocent children from those perverts (Arabs, every one) lurking in our alleys. Or the next thing you know that poor innocent girl will grow up and try to have fun or marry a woman or something.

Top of the hill. Mikes, cords, amps. Music? We try, but I'm still convalescing, just can't sing yet. Triggers uncontrollable coughing. I was afraid of that. Just too soon! We quit early.

Sleep early too. Yeats's imperatives look true, but they tire me out. Another hard hill to climb.

THAT NIGHT

Long dreams of meeting strangers.

At last, in a cafe, I meet an attractive teenager; we start talking about the election. But soon she loses interest, gets up and leaves. I feel judged and found wanting.

A man at the next table overheard me dissing Bush to her. Turns out he's a famous East Coast news announcer, now anchoring a prestigious political show considered moderate to liberal. He looks patronizingly at me, says a few words praising Bush and mocking my outside-the-Beltway ignorance... and I realize he's a liberal Republican (Military intelligence. Clean shit.) And suddenly I feel like I'm being swallowed by a sinkhole, as this offstage look behind "media liberalism" reveals an establishment flunky who simply dismisses my West Coast radicalism, though in civilized nations my views are mainstream. But in the US, we're simply banned from the debate.

I blamed reactionaries for that... til now. Never blamed the American center.

He leaves. I sit and mull over the girl's boredom and the anchorman's mockery. For a couple of minutes I felt devastated. "Loser!" Then slowly this changes. What did I fail at? I discovered I wasn't compatible with someone attractive. And that a figure in power is an ignoramus. That's all. MY only character flaw is to keep looking for my flaw when I face disapproval or rejection. Yeats may have been elitist, but at least his arrogance shielded him from THAT error!

And I wake.

A NOTE NEXT MORNING

I think this dream is warning me to write out my sober political analysis of the 2004 election, especially the implications of fraud, and post it publicly. And skip the mainstream platitudes about moderation. You can't compromise with cheats.

So here it is: A Clash of Know-Nothings.

A NOTE IN 2009

Well, the Democrats squeaked in. All better now, right? Well, true, we're still fighting two wars, and fundamentalism still wags the dog in every land under the desert sun, and that sun's still getting hotter and we're doing nothing to stop it, and the economy's still in ruins, and Iran, Congo, Sudan, Palestine/Israel, Tibet (fill in the blanks) are just as bad off as ever.

Or worse. This week President Obama, in the spirit of centrism, gave up on the idea of a basic twentieth-century health system in America. Because even starting to catch up with the rest of the civilized world... that's too radical. Out of the debate. Off the table.

A NOTE IN 2013

Ooh, now it's all better.



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