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Dreamed 2009/11/27 by Wayan
I'm in an art class. The teacher shows us Japanese temple decorations. A grim subject: the Hell Cafe! It's trendy--the hottest place in town--only you end up on the menu, cooked by conformity-demons. Can you go against the eager flow of victims? Those old Buddhists loved horror-comedy.
They're painted bas-reliefs, very flat--thin plywood layered like topo maps. Big stylized shapes with few details, since it's all softwood. Yet the teacher never explains why! I speak up: "Unlike Europe or the Americas, Japan is full of softwood with few hardwoods. Pine was cheap, so architecture and decoration developed uses for it and customary places for it; detailed freestanding hardwood carving just couldn't compete." He'd never thought about how cost and availability spur or stunt the sophisticated uses of different media. His blank "I never thought about it" disappoints me. Another dim teacher! I'm in the wrong art program...
A girl I like but who has an unstable aura--crazy or just strange?--painted at least two murals on the classroom walls, then covered them with drapes and panels. On a wall to the right is a colorful graffitish mural, but it's behind some leaning panels; peer under their edges, but it's too foreshortened to make out.
The other's a big abstract, but a shy sphinx crouches, peering at us, from the lower right corner. I know how she feels. Face, forepaws, breasts; too shadowy to see if she's winged. I try pushing away the drape that half-hides her, but it keeps sagging down.
Maybe she's intentionally hidden. This class full of postmodern cynics, all trying so hard to be cool. Doesn't feel like a crowd who'd welcome a shy sphinx. Probably just sneer.
"What if she's wise to hide?" I think, and wake.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
- Pine : pining, longing, passive wishing
- Hardwood: concrete action? More effort, but solid results
- Hardwoods's pricy, so cheap pine's overused: due to chronic illness sapping my energy, action's been costly for me! So I spend a lot of time just pining.
- Thin plywood: on the wall over my bed is a heron I carved into doorskin--thin plywood. Why not put it on a background panel, an image of a giant birdcage, and tell the dream it came from: Heron Harem?
- Softwood limits detail: Do I work in thin plywood cuz it's cheap and familiar, not because it's best for my art? Maybe I want to sculpt detailed work in the round--hardwood, plaster, clay, stone?
- ACTION 1: Try placing that heron on the abstract panels I've done. If it won't fit anywhere, cut out a plywood birdcage and stick it on that!
- Shy, marginalized sphinx: I've marginalized a vital side of me. Sensuality? Tackling deep riddles? Mind/body harmony? Whatever she is, clearly I need solitude to find her.
- ACTION 2: Find an abstract painting (on a substantial hardwood panel) and add this shy sphinx peering out of a lower corner. (I did; see right.)
- A crass college classroom is no place for sphinxes: I did feel like the class weirdo in the fine arts program at San Francisco State. At the time, I blamed myself--"I'm such a geek." What if I really just disdained their sterile postmodern assumptions?
- ACTION 3: Quit beating myself up for not making friends at art school, for just peering from the corners. A lone sphinx among humans may choose to keep her riddles to herself.
- ACTION 4: Watch for other misfits, though. Remember the girl in the dream who painted the sphinx. There may be a few who feel like me, but hide as I do. All too easy to miss a shy sphinx or two.
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