The Sphinx Approves
Dreamed 1991/5/2 by Chris Wayan
Today I went to the Maritime Museum, a strange sea-green Deco building like the superstructure of some sleek liner half-buried by a quake. It stands on the shore of a cove just west of Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. It's an odd museum, and not all about ships.
A friend of mine, Alice Rogoff, editor of the Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, was acting in a couple of plays there, in the basement. The only ships present were relationships, and they were mostly sinking. She played a wife who manipulated everyone with clever pop psychobabble. I enjoyed seeing that, since I once was jerked around in just that way for three years, by a crazy, mean, but VERY articulate woman...
War! My species is famous as fighters, though we're small, just hobbit-sized. We have a reputation as snipers.
I'm in a ditch with friends, watching a truck convoy go by. I leap one and fight with a guard--one of my own species. Really, though, we're talking--wrestling is a normal, vigorous mode of conversation for my race, though to an outsider it may look lethal. I planned this so I could talk under cover of seeming to fight. Another death avoided!
Soon the war complicates, but gets easier too--for our "enemies" turn thin and flat, and the war becomes a struggle to sculpt musical or visual motifs, wrestling them from ugliness into beauty. No one openly acknowledges this great shift, but I love it: I can struggle, exercising my full powers, without hurting anyone.
And these thinning elements are each a level of reality--a universe, essentially. They've gotten paper-thin by now, and are arranged in pairs like the pages of a script, and I'm supposed to zoom up through all of them to the waking state--through these levels that were once as thick as whole worlds to me, and still are to most people!
I'm kind of shocked that we're allowed to casually edit others' realities.
But then a lioness appears--a lioness with a woman's face. And wings. Oh, a sphinx! Well, if anyone knows the answers she will...
I explain my worries to the sphinx and show her the sheaf of realities, shrunk now to a playbook.
She cheerily tells me: "Oh, it's okay for you to treat them casually--you've grown till this is all they are for you now. See them as you see them!"
NOTES NEXT MORNING
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