Dreamed 2015/11/7 by Wayan
for Eric Shanower
Night. I'm standing just outside my family's old home. We sold it five years ago when my mom died. Strange--now it looks empty.
Silver gap in the clouds. Black sky, stars... and two moons! One full, one nearly. I must be dreaming. I still feel doubtful--even after a lifetime of utterly realistic dreams, I stupidly expect dreams to look & feel DREAMY--but reason tells me two moons side by side (no matter how prosaic that feels) mean I'm dreaming.
Long as I'm lucid, look around. Just inside an open door, I notice... an adjustment knob for the dream! Curious, I crank it up to see what it'll reveal. It controls color saturation! It was set very low for this night scene. As the knob turns, the sky blushes deep blue, the lawn deep green...
...and indoors, people appear! People defined by flat colorfields without shading or lines. Since these camouflaged figures' light-dark values perfectly match their surroundings, they really could hide as long as all color was muted. I twiddle the dial--yep, the people fade in and out. Lurid reveals what sobriety didn't. Huh. A lesson in that!
Strange people. They're a whole family animated quite elegantly in a thirties cartoon style. Living cartoons! Living some invisible parallel life in our old home.
So my family's gone, their home taken over by spirits...
Or did they live here with us all along?
Now I see the house, and us, as a drawing tinted with watercolor. It's my painting style, yet I don't recall doing it.
I lift the watercolor--under it is a charcoal/acrylic sketch on a crescent-scrap of thin, unprimed plywood, of a wolf-woman, with a sense of tension and heft I like. Again, my own work, yet I don't remember it.
Under that, a third sketch: a man curled up fetally--no, a boy, I think it's Oskar, the boy in THE TIN DRUM who refuses to grow up, in protest against Europe's fascism, genocide, war. Me again?
Watercolor of near-invisible family
Wolf-girl on wood
Oskar in his Tin Drum
Under that? A whole stack of art, in diverse media, and not in my style; someone else's work. Very good work. A forgotten thirties cartoonist with fine-art aspirations--and fine-art talent.
I can see why a dream might remind me of art I did and forgot, but why show me all this other art? Someone to learn from?
NOTES IN THE MORNING
Heh. I could try that on waking-world scenes too. Are they just as much lessons as dreams? Radical concept! But Buddha thought so. "All the world's a dream, and all the people but players in it..."
So... what DOES all that art mean? Maybe just... "Learn from Shanower's process. He mastered the styles of those he admired--and pushed them further! Even past masters aren't perfect."
And... face that race, culture, gender identification & preference, age, religion, money, education, class... just don't define us well. Even such extreme differences as autism don't explain much. Are many autistics furverts? Do many gifted kids see auras, ghosts, spirits? How many of you gender rebels grew up trying to be Gandhi? The issues the dream highlights are things neurotypicals dismiss as unreal. I think the dream points out a whole stack of things modern society doesn't even see.
Unless we turn the story upside down, like Verbeck. Or, of course, crank the saturation dial.
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