A Dream

by cjdown

A dream woke me up this morning: I was at a studio workshop, and all of my friends from previous workshops were there. The teacher wondered casually if anyone had worked on their statement since the last time we had met. I had finished mine recently, so I volunteered. Instead of a typed version I read from my journal notebook.

I waited to see if anyone else was going to volunteer, but everyone was waiting for me to start. In the gap, the teacher said “Do you notice how I’m going easier on this group, especially after your experience with _______________ [I can’t remember the name but it was invoked like the name of the Devil]. No one said anything. I had the impression that it was someone that everyone else knew, like a guest that had been there that had become a personal enemy of the teacher’s and had attacked the students in some way. I was disconcerted because I didn’t know who he was talking about, I had missed the event.

I started to read my statement but it wasn’t what I remembered writing. It started with something like “My art is about …”. Even as I was cringing at how bad it sounded, my hand-writing became less and less legible. It changed into an image, partly like the surface of a Philip Guston abstraction with feathery lines and smudges, partly like the edge of a parking lot where rows of cars were separated from scrubby trees by a chain link fence.

I was embarrassed that I couldn’t read my own writing so I started trying to describe the image as if it were my artist statement. I tried to fake it but after a couple of sentences I petered out. Everyone was looking at me and I could feel the shame of having wasted the opportunity through dishonesty.

I woke up and the dog was pacing around the bedroom, trying to get at the cat. She wouldn’t settle down and I finally had to take her outside to shit at 5:30 AM.