Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Me and My Shadow Figure

Yes, it's getting to be the tiredest image in my repertoire, but it works for me. Donnie Darko (with his ax) takes me to the Other Side, and I have my best dreams there. Last night:

There's a small gathering, something between a social-obligation dinner party and a bunch of people trapped in a wing of a building they can't find their way out of. Like No Exit but even more like The Exterminating Angel. It's mostly Corcoran faculty. There's one person widely and pretty openly disliked and disapproved of; he represents a bureaucratic, bullshitty attitude toward both art and education that focuses on marketing and positioning yourself, adopting fashionable positions and ingratiating yourself with administrators, and not, as we would think of it, asking any really interesting questions about either art or education. But I want to draw him into a conversation and perhaps find common ground, so I ask him a question about teaching. He answers, in a condescending tone that's very true to his real manner, "I don't think the contemporary instructor should be thinking about teaching. What I do in my classes is facade performatively." I am gobsmacked. After a moment I recover and say, "Who gave you the right to use facade as a verb?"
After a little further discussion he seems to reconsider and retreat from his position. (This is also extremely familiar from his behavior in waking life.) He begins casually taking his clothes off and strutting around naked, apparently to show that he's just one of the guys. He climbs in my lap and drags his genitals and ass across my face. He's really surprised that this does not seem to please me, and he's starting to look panicky. He takes off the wool cap he's wearing and I see that he's bald on top and his hair on the sides is sticking out in all directions and is cut very unevenly. He looks very weak and sick. He lies in my lap naked and reaches his arms up to wrap around my shoulders. "I love you," he says. "Don't you love me?"

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Man Killed by His Dream

The Zuo Zhuan (about fifth century BC) tells the story of Shushun Bao of Lu, who traveled to Qi to meet his bride. Along the way he stopped at Geng Zong, where he met a woman who offered to bring him food. He spent the night with her.
Sometime after the birth of his two sons by the woman from Qi, he dreamed that the heavens were falling on him and crushing him to death. He called for help and saw a small, deformed man. "Niu (cow-like)!" he cried, "Help me!" But Niu did not assist him; he stood aside and watched. Shushun Bao pushed hard against the heavens and escaped. When he awoke he described the man in his dream and told his councillors to beware of him.
Years later he determined to return home from Qi to Lu. Along the way he stopped at Geng Zong, where the woman he had met long ago presented him with his son. "Niu," Shushun Bao said, before introductions could be made. "Yes," said the boy.
Niu accompanied Shushun Bao to Lu, where under the guise of protecting his father, he arranged the execution of his older half-brother and the exile of the younger. Attending his father Shushun Bao in illness, he withheld his medicine and watched as he died.