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What are the Issues?

Dreamed 2010/3/16 by Carla Young


While dreams often take their cue from the things around us—TV shows, politics, what we're working on—often the dream's message can only be unraveled by looking underneath the apparent activity. Painting by Carla Young, inspired by a dream: 'What are the Issues?' Golden nude figure in oval frame of flowers and birds from which two women argue, shouting 'Pombo!' and 'McNerney'--candidates' names.


I ask Heidi, "Are you going to vote for McIrney [sic]?" I have a hard time getting his name right. Heidi doesn't know who he is, and I explain that he is running against Pombo. She doesn't know who Pombo is either. I explain that Pombo is anti-environment, and I try to make the case for voting for McIrney; I want to get the overly pro-business Pombo out of office. I am surprised that Heidi knows so little about the candidates; I expected her to be more sophisticated.


Names are important here; the dream emphasizes this several times. First there is the misspelled McIrney (Mc Earn E) and then there is Heidi (Hide E). Am I hiding from my own discomfort at not earning any money (a constant struggle in the arts)? The dream ego doesn't like the pro-business candidate, and Hide E doesn't understand the issues. Oh dear.

       --Carla Young


Pombo was a California congressman for a decade. Very conservative for this liberal state, he represented (mostly rural) District 11. He acquired a reputation for nepotism and anti-environmentalism, and was defeated in 2006 by McNerney in a hotly contested election. As of 2010, Pombo is running for Congress again, but this time in neighboring District 19.

I'm a little skeptical this dream is only a punning expression of ambivalence about money. Can't a cigar be a cigar, too? Voter apathy let Pombo rip off the public for years. Isn't it possible the dream expresses simple disgust with the hundred thousand Heidis who voted for him over and over, or even a prompt to do something to stop Pombo's return?

But if Carla's right and the dream is "a private letter to the self" about her ambivalence about business... then I want to hear more! Especially since I too sabotage the marketing of (and profiting from) my art. Because--as all good artists know--earning is dirty.


Carla Young is trying a bold experiment: quickly writing, painting, interpreting and posting a dream every day for as long as she can stand the pace. I think the time-pressure limits the depth of her interpretations, which can slip into Jungian generalities. But I admire her nerve. And stamina! When I tried the same thing, Dreamverses wiped me out after a month; I had to slow down to one a week. For a third take on this daily-dream-art idea, see Jenny Badger Sultan, especially her Box of Dreams.

       --Chris Wayan

LISTS AND LINKS: politics - the power of names - puns - dream advice - money - Red Diaper Babies: radicalism's children - the art biz - capitalism - Wayan confronts THREE Inner Heidis, in Just Sex and Idiots - dream paintings - Carla Young - Jungian dreams -

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