Saturday, January 10, 2009

Let Sleeping Dreams Lie

We're nearly a third of the way along our curvaceous Fun-A-Day road of dreams and dreamers. There are so many other awesome Fun-A-Day projects brewing right now and you can find links to a few of them in the sidebar on the left. A few that I must draw your attention to are: Ivan Boothe's sexy word clouds, Jonathan Mann's heavenly songwriting, Nick Lally's diligent photographs and sketches, Stevie Esteban Tadeo Lance Kelly's fervent mapping of blackness, and the passionate gay video cataloguing of Chris Vargas. Most of these people have new offerings of fun every day, and many more will strut it in full touchable, tastable glory at the actual Fun-A-Day shows happening in various cities the February.

Today's dream comes from one of these felow Fun-A-Dayistas. Jenn in Pittsburgh has been borrowing someone's camera every day and taking a picture with it, which she then throws online. Jenn also has dream-reading in her blood. "My father has done extensive dream-work related things all my life," she says. "Sharing my dreams every morning is almost as routine as coffee and newspaper for me." Same goes for me Jenn!Only this month it's taking up a little more of my time . . .

Jenn's dream:
I had a dream this morning, it was one of those quick almost awake morning dreams.

In my dream I had just come back from the bathroom (right around the corner from my bed) and stood at the edge of the bed and saw myself and my partner sleeping as we really were in real life. Stretched out in slumber under our warm, comfortable blankets we slumbered on. On top of our blankets was a layer of freshly fallen snow, about two or three inches or so. It was white, fluffy, beautiful. I knew it was fresh and could also see several small tracks in the snow. I woke up feeling good, rolled over, and happily spooned my partner.
And then Jenn adds:
I actually wandered about today doing errands hoping I would catch a picture of someone's discarded mattress or bed out for trash that had been covered with the most recent snow-fall so I could make my dream a little more real, but alas, no mattress . . .

Jenn, this is another one of those dreams that I'm tempted to leave in its bed (especially with your veteran dream analyst father looking over my shoulder). It is so perfect, the image and the sensation that it leaves us with is divine—why blemish its pristine visage with the words of a compulsive dream-blogger? Anything that I say may just be a muddy bootprint that disturbs your gilded somnambulance. Readers might hesitate here and envision themselves under that blanket of perfect, fluffy water crystals before reading onward.

Lately I've been having conversations about theater (I'm a theater-maker in my other life) and articulating that theater can be approached in two different ways: character-based theater, where the focus of a play is on its characters and what they do (like in Shakespeare), or image-based theater, where scenes are strung together more by the visual tableaus that they create (like in the work of the Bread & Puppet Theater, pictured above). This idea can also be applied to cinema, whose scholars and buffs may use the term "movies" for the character-driven Hollywood product that favors formulaic plots, and "film" for more artistic work whose elements of mis en scene and montage are given with greater attention. A play or film can of course have elements of both (e.g. Bertolt Brecht or Orson Welles), as can a dream. 

Jenn, in your dream the characters and their actions (you and your partner sleeping) carry great significance for you. As an outsider, I see this dream as an image: you step away from the routine duty of slumber and into the ritual of (ahem) powdering your nose, and return to arrive at a place of stillness that arrests your eyes like a painting—or a photograph. With one of your goals for this wintry month being to capture and publish a photograph every day, your dream fits you like a mitten—you are a photograph. You and your sweetie are so still and unmovable that the snow is in tact. Animals even scurry right over you and you two still don't budge. You maintain the image and your relationship, unshaken by the elements around you. It is supremely lovely.

In winter we tend to do so many things out of necessity. We insulate our windows to reduce fuel expenditure, we ingest ginger and echinacea to keep from getting sick, we shovel and salt our sidewalks to keep ourselves and others from slipping and breaking a tailbone or two, and we bundle up and make hot soup to keep warm. With all the extra efforts that the coldest months bring, it's important for us to maintain our equilibrium by just letting things be—to fully breathe into enjoyment of the world around us. Jenn, I've seen your photos and I think that you're doing this already. You can run your errands and keep looking for that mattress in the snow, but the pictures that you take in the shadow of its absence are just as poignant without that effort. Try applying this meditative serendipity to the other areas of your life, if you haven't already, and your dreams will keep telling you: "Yes Jenn. Keep doing what you do."

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For a more detailed explanation on the concept of Image Theater, skim through Augusto Boal's book Games for Actors and Non-Actors

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