|from my art journal (August 19, 2016, acrylic paint, marker, pencil, found text, tissue paper, digital remix)|
“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
- Edgar Allan Poe
I am concentrating. Concentrating hard while trying not to slip as I step foot over foot over thick snaking cables. I am trying to type the word, expressionist, into a handheld device and I keep screwing it up and having to start again.
"Shit, I can't get this."
Finally, the letters are in the right order and I press, enter. And this is how the dream begins.
"Here," I say, handing the person on my right the label that reads, expressionist. "You need to have a label to pass through this here and get on the train."
I am walking inside what feels like an ultra modern shopping mall.
"I think you're a painter, like Hans Hoffmann," I add and though I cannot see him, I know that to my right is Rob who now is wearing a badge around his neck. It reads, expressionist.
"Do you think I should have written, painter?" I ask him and I don't wait for a response for I somehow know there will be none coming.
Around us are storefronts with very wide sliding glass doors that are all open. And though there is considerable mechanical noise clanking and humming and far-off bells ringing, no one seems open yet for business. There are no smells and I think we must be a great distance from the restaurants. Behind the open sliding doors are partially drawn curtains that do not flutter. They hang, white on white.
"We must be early as the shopkeepers don't seem to be here yet," I say to Rob.
And then I notice another person who also seems to be hiking with us. She is young. Her shoulder length hair is streaked with pink and she is wearing a short white robe and lime green sneakers and I think to myself, "Look, she is like a color wheel."
We are climbing up some kind of narrow steep walkway. "I think we have found our way into Hawthorne's allegory," I say.
It is then that she seems to answer--reciting the opening of a Hawthorne story. "Not a great while ago, passing through the gate of dreams, I visited that region of the earth in which lies the famous City of Destruction."
"Ah, you've read Hawthorne ,too," I say to her and it feels like I know her. Like I must know her.
Years earlier when I was just 19, I wrote my senior college paper on Hawthorne and homeopathic medicine. I had spent the semester reading Hawthorne and tracing examples of his character's reliance on homeopathy through key works. "You know Hawthorne's father-in-law was a homeopath," I say aloud. We are heading for a railroad now. "Just up ahead ."
We climb a steeper incline, closer towards what looks like a domed sky. And I trip catching myself before I fall and that's when I realize that interspersed between the cables and rocks are thick clear and blue tubing.
"Oh no," I say. "Be careful. We are walking on people's oxygen lines and blood lines."
And I think to myself it is a good thing that none of us are wearing high heals and this causes me to laugh. That's when I notice that what I thought were stores are really rooms with sliding glass doors that are open, like the ones in the intensive care center that Rob stayed in more at the hospital in January and as I realize this the facade of shopping mall begins to fade a bit, fade to white.
We have climbed to the top and there is no where to go and I am nearly pressed to the ceiling standing on a platform and there is no train. Below, a hive of rooms stretch out forever connected by thick tubing that runs in and out of each room.
"Just like every mall I have ever been to. You think there's going to be an adventure, but there never is," I turn to tell Rob. He knows how much I dislike malls often complaining that it feels like I cannot breathe. And I want to tell him all of this and more, but Rob is gone.
The young girl is gone too.
And there is no sky to touch.
The glass dome of the shopping mall fades to white and I start to write.