Through cracks in the sea-shrunk boards of the shanty
flows danger-darkened air. Vapors billow, taint the room
with the smells of searot, putrefying fish and terror. I do not need
to open the door to know that outside, a sea witch waits. Through
heavy oak wood, I see her clearly; her feet drift an inch above the step.
Her gown shimmers, glitters and floats around her in waves of blue,
green, and endless black. Beside her stands her merman consort
with his scaly legs and sharpened trident. Apprehension clings
to my skin like dirty spider webs, like decaying fishnets. I peel off
the slime of fear and flick it out the window, slam shut the opening
against invasion. I shutter myself as well, close my eyes, cover
my ears, sleep away the day. Hours later, when my husband returns
with his catch of the day, the witch and her companion still stand
at the door, waiting. Waiting. Patient. When I ask what she wants,
she says, "You are finished," and her voice reverberates
deep in the bones of my chest. She is a teacher, my husband
reminds me, but I dread her lessons. Like my mother, my father,
and all the men who claimed to love me, she enumerates my faults.
The baggage of my shortcomings pile on the floor around me,
as many and endless as waves on the sea behind her. But when I ask
what she is selling, thinking elixirs, miracle cures, redemption, she
and her silent green merman disappear, leaving the stoop empty
but for a sudden whirlpool. Twisting waters suck me in, twirl me
around, whisk me away. Now, with the same joy I find in flying, I ride
inside the belly of a fish as transparent as if made of glass. Through
the prisms of its scales, I watch, in exultation the passing coral,
yellow tang fish, clown fish and anemones in shifting kaleidoscopes
of sparkling light and color. If I broke open now, this rainbow
would paint your face, this laughter serenade your dreams.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
"Finished" and Glass Fish
I am in a small cabin with a bed, some spare furniture, and multiple doors. I want to do some exercises that require partial nudity, but 2 people are standing at the side door (stage right). I can't see them, but I know they are there and I am afraid. I do not want to answer the door because I'm alone and scared. I do not think they have knocked; they are just standing there. Their unexplained presence is worrisome.
I prop a very flimsy small folding chair against the door and start doing exercises.
Later, Keith comes home, entering stage left. As I am telling him about the strangers at the door, I walk to the front door (stage rear), and look out. The two people are still there, now at the front door. I turn back to Keith and say, "They're still there!" and am wondering why they moved from the side door to the front door.
In anger and frustration tinged with fear, I ask them what they want.
One of them, a woman (in black?), who seems to be in charge, says, "You're finished!"
She says it in a deep, severe tone of voice, like a death knell, and I think she is death, come to take me away, and I am terribly frightened.
But she continues, "You can't even take care of the baby" (there is suddenly a baby in an old-fashioned wooden rocking cradle by the fireplace—my baby?) and then blah blah blah a whole litany of everything that is wrong with me—"you're fat, more than one hundred pounds overweight and deep in the throes of addiction, you're lazy, you're messy, you're defensive, etc etc etc on and on and on—[I can't remember everything she said, but it was all negative, all 'true' and the sort of thing I beat myself about.])
I am lying in a chaise in front of the open door where the woman is expounding my faults and shortcomings, and am half asleep. I ask sort of sarcastically, "what are you selling?" (I am thinking maybe she is selling some sort of miracle cure to all my problems—drugs—religion, meditation, something).
I get up and look out the door. No one is there. The front porch is empty. They've disappeared.
Keith tells me that the woman used to be a kindergarten teacher. Her companion never speaks. 2-20-11
I wake up, go back to sleep, dream
I am joyously riding in a glass fish that is swimming in the water and watching the colors in the glass change as it moves. I look up and down and all around—it's so incredibly beautiful and blissful. Then I am home thinking about painting what the world looks like from inside a glass fish. I think it should be a movie, because it is in 3 dimensions, or it should be a sculpture you could get inside of. 2-20-11
What does this make you think of?
Ø the first dream was "negative" and upsetting, critical, scary. The second dream was full of light and beauty, uplifting, creative, engaging. It makes me think of yin and yang, of the ups and downs of life, of the creative process of living and dying. Obviously it makes me think of death and dying.
Ø perhaps I have died after the first dream and the fish is my ride to heaven or heaven itself or some form of it.
Ø My grandmother died of cirrhosis of the liver. She may have been a drinker, but if so, I wasn't aware of it. Cirrhosis of the liver is a now becoming a common cause of death by obesity, along with breast cancer, heart attack stroke, and a whole host of other health issues caused by obesity. The dream seems like a warning for me to do something about it. But it doesn't tell HOW. (Other than deal with the addiction, but how?)
Ø Who is the baby? I have two biological children, a stepson, grandchildren, including a baby, and I also have my books (my book-babies). Maybe I am not taking care of all the book-babies I've already birthed. Frog Haven, for example. Story 16. The Herpetologist. Following Wolfie. Muddy. Etc.
Ø If the woman who tells me I am finished used to be a kindergarten teacher, maybe she is trying to teach me something. Maybe she is trying to shock me into changing my lifestyle. But she doesn't actually TEACH anything; she just criticizes, like so many adults and teachers, parents etc.
Ø The fact that she disappears so suddenly when I ask the wrong question makes me think she is a spirit guide, and I need to listen. But if so—perhaps she should speak more clearly. Give me some useful info.
Ø Nearly asleep on the chaise—sleeping through my life, being in denial about (or not wanting to hear) all the criticisms. Sounds like a negative abusive parent or spouse. Sounds like a child tuning out a parent! But also, when I dream I am sleeping, it is partially an awareness that I actually AM sleeping.
Ø The glass fish makes me think also of Jonah and the whale, though it seemed that the glass fish was relatively small and I was also small. And also of the great fish dreaming the world.
Ø Maybe I am the baby I can't take care of—my inner child.
Ø I wonder why I looked out the front door for someone who I thought WAS at the side door? In my life, am I looking for something in the wrong place?
Eric says he was never a flasher. I have many memories of him as a flasher, but who is to say my memories are right and his wrong? But why would I remember him as a flasher and no one else, and why very specific memories, very clear. (Were they dreams? I don't think so!)