Dreamed 1973/5/20, by Chris Wayan
I'm exploring a canyon in Washington State. I spot a cave up the slope, and scramble up. Inside I find movies playing! They show tourist ads for this state--though the scenery looks more like Texas than Washington. I see no projection booth--films are projected from behind the screen. Must be more rooms hidden here, then.
The inhabitants are all cartoons. Not just the cave residents and the movie characters, who are mostly mice (the film shows Speedy Gonzalez and Mighty Mouse)--the whole state's population is cartoon animals. The film even shows my sisters, who are drawn as a rabbit-squirrel and a frog. Me? Yep, there I am! I'm a tall multicolored pheasant-flamingo called the Kennerbird. Whoops! I disappear. The Kennerbird always was prone to abrupt changes. How do I get myself back? It's a problem. Not to mention that I'm trademarked! The Kenner Corporation isn't gonna be happy with me wandering around outside their TV ads for toys.
Mammalian Me tires of watching movies, even about Avian Me, and goes deeper in the cave. An inner suite--a curio room, a lab... a home. Dark with old lampshades. The Inhabitant is the cartoonist! He has a scary aura, but when he sees I've been reduced to a mere mammal, he redraws my Kennerbird self. My colors aren't quite right, but I say "I'm not particular, just so I'm myself, the Kennerbird!" I'm ready to go. I want to fly free, not be stuck in this cartoon cave!
My sister the frog hops out and down to the creek. My sister the rabbit goes out too, but she finds snow. A pack of wild dogs comes out of the cave and she hides in a snowbank. The pack leader fails to notice her, though a pup says "Over here!" But the leader runs off, the pack follows.
Now I'm the pup; feeling a sort of sympathy, I seal the snow over the rabbit hole more smoothly, and leave.
When the dogs are gone, my sister the rabbit comes out, sits on an ice hunk and slides far down the snowy slope to the river where the frog went.
And so we all run free.
TWO NOTES, YEARS LATER
Looking back, this was a shamanic dream long before I'd ever heard of such a thing. Becoming an animal symbolizing your nature can happen even to suburban kids who've never met wild animals. Dreams use what you know. I knew TV! So I become the The Kennerbird. When I was little, Kenner Toys ran a long series of ads where a tall bird squawked "It's Kenner! It's fun! AWK!" as it changed size and shape to cope with abrupt eruptions of toys and logos onto the screen. It had very fast reactions and I liked the way it transformed yet remained itself--like a dreamer coping with dream-changes. I identified--we were both skinny nervous squawky and fast. So I became the Kennerbird.
My shamanic animal--my witch's familiar--was a corporate trademark.
My sketches of the dream looked grimmer than the dream felt. For example, in the dream, on the cave wall was indeed a TV screen showing a girl riding a dolphin, a happy, sexy picture--she was rubbing against his dorsal fin, and he was visibly excited--a playfully sexy image, if a bit comical. But in the sketch of it I drew when I woke, I quite unconsciously added huge jaws threatening dolphin and rider; and the Cartoonist is holding an ax!
There's a reason for these grim tinges--nearly two years earlier, my whole family had simultaneous telepathic nightmares of a multiple ax-murder that turned out to be absolutely real, committed nearby. The horror of it still colored my world so much I drew my cartoonist Creator as an ax-murderer, without even realizing.
But my dreams, even though they'd had their nose rubbed in human evil, didn't conclude the world or life or God was evil too. In the dream, despite my fear, I get my bird-self back, and end up free. The material world was sterile and grim, but my dreams, with no role-models but ax murderers and corporate logos, still held out for magic--and happiness.
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