Eleven Dreams

These are images of me when I was a child and carefree. This voice is mine as an adult. One of the problems I've had to solve as an adult is how my individual identity fits or doesn't fit into some sense of continuing familial identity. In order to accomplish this, I initially felt it necessary to put myself in the shoes of each family member in turn and think as they think, experience things as they do. I tried this for a while but it turned out to be very boring. And so instead I decided to try and imagine their dreams.

This is an image of me as an adolescent, when this idea first occurred. And in this video I have each family member speak dreams I've imagined them having. At the time of taping they believed they were acting in some elaborate drama when really they are playing my image of them projected or superimposed back on top of their actual selves. Anyway, the participants are my mother, my ex-wife and our son. My father, after reading the script, refused to participate but my ex-wife's new husband stepped in to take his place. Thanks.


Anne: It was early spring. I was in the kitchen cooking Kraft dinner for lunch. I was just about to add the milk and the butter when I noticed a large snake on the kitchen floor. I chased it stomping and waving my arms, guiding it down the hall towards the front door. When we got outside, I had two choices either to take the snake across the highway to a meadow or down an embankment to the river. I chose the latter. As the snake went down the embankment, it rolled over and over again, and I noticed, to my surprise, dozens of tiny legs. Had I known I would have taken the snake across the highway.

Sandy: I was walking after dark and I saw a house on fire. The house was filled with babies and small children. They were trapped inside the bodies of dolls and teddy bears. And so they appeared to be very calm although they were minutes from death. I found a ladder leaning against the wall and tried to climb it but I couldn't. One of the babies jumped, and I caught it, but because it was inside of a doll I found it hard to take seriously and so I threw it into the garbage.

Phil: When I woke up I was a dinosaur and my mom and dad were dinosaurs too. I was as big as a garage and my mom and dad were as big as houses.

Tom: Something is funny, but I'm not sure what and I think it has something to do with me. I'm dining alone in a restaurant and the waiter is a boy of about fourteen or fifteen. Everyone in the place is looking at him, his yellow hair and green eyes. He brings me my soup and it has bits of onion and garlicky croutons floating in it. When he approaches the other tables he has an erection tenting his black pants. Everybody notices but no one is embarrassed and neither am I, but when he brings me my salad he no longer has one. The salad also has onions and garlicky croutons in it. When he brings me my main course he lifts up his shirt exposing his stomach. I reach out to touch and he smiles and backs off and says I was only meant to look.

Anne: It was mid-afternoon when the policemen came. I was sitting at the dining room table watching the robins on the lawn. There were dozens of them and they looked like wind-up toys. The policemen told me they were leaving a large box for my husband and to make sure I told him. I looked at the box. It looked like a giant vacuum cleaner. I forgot. In the middle of the night I awoke and wondered if the prisoner were dead.

Phil: I was walking to school and I fell down a crack in the sidewalk and I broke my arm and my bone was sticking out.

Sandy: A baby was lying in my arms. I was tired and delirious because I'd just given birth to it. There were nurses there and a doctor, laughing. Congratulations, they said, it's a girl. No, I said, it's a boy. They told me to look and then laughed while I tried to unravel the layers of cloth and tape it was wrapped in. I saw that it had no penis and I knew that this was a mistake. I knew that there was one there, unable to descend.

Phil: I was trapped in a room with a spider with only a shield to protect myself and it was a giant tarantula.

Anne: I am lying on an operating table. The room is all stainless steel. My head is split open. Dr. Penfield stands behind me, inserting electrodes into my brain. He has the patience and proficiency of a switchboard operator. People are lined up around the block waiting for this procedure, a random jogging of the memory. He is waiting for me to tell him something. I begin to speak, in my mother's voice, reciting a recipe for meatloaf. I still make the meatloaf occasionally. I forget to put in the oregano.


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