Saturday, February 26, 2011





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).


No answer.


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!)


Friday, February 11, 2011

The Unconscious Boy, the unstuffed suitcase and the hissing boot

The Unconscious Boy, the unstuffed suitcase and the hissing boot

A woman is driving around calling for her son, a boy about seven years old. He is lying unconscious on the floor in our livingroom. Graham wants to stuff him in a suitcase and leave him for Keith, but I say no. The boy has special boots that blow up to form an insulating seal around the feet. One of them has fallen off and it hisses and hisses. I pick it up and listen to it hiss, a very upsetting sound, and look for a switch to turn it off. When I don’t find one, I open the front door, stick the hissing boot in the barren windowbox (painted white, bare dirt) and look up and down the street for the car with the woman so I can signal to her that we have her son. Friday, February 11, 2011

Ø I don’t know why the boy is unconscious. He is not dead.

Ø I don’t know why I didn’t signal the mother sooner. She is out of sight now. I seem to be moving in slow motion, sort of frozen in place for a while.

Ø I don’t know why the boy is at “our house”

Ø the boy I call Graham seems to be my stepson, but is not clearly Graham

Ø the father I call Keith seems to be my husband and the stepson’s father, but is not clearly Keith

Ø I don’t know why the stepson (Graham?) wants to stuff a live but unconscious boy in a suitcase and leave him for his father. We—Graham and I—seem to be leaving on a trip.

Ø I think there was more to the dream before this.

Ø I wake up very disturbed. The image of the boy in the suitcase and the hissing boot seem very ominous.

What does this remind me of?

Ø The bare window box where I stick the hissing boot makes me think of my mother’s house—the front porch and window box were just like hers. My mother, however, was not present in the dream, unless “I” was her, which I didn’t seem to be. The house reminds me not of the house I grew up in, but the house where my mother and father lived for many years after I left home. It was the last house my mother lived in, and I lived in it only briefly twice, once when Sara was a baby, and then briefly after my mother died while I was sorting through her things and taking care of her will etc.

Ø The unconscious boy reminds me of Graham, who seems to go through life not conscious of much of his surroundings, needs, commitments, other people, their needs etc.

Ø Graham’s wanting to stuff the boy in the suitcase reminds me of Graham’s violent video games

Ø Graham’s wanting to stuff the boy in the suitcase also reminds me of things I hide and have hidden throughout my life. And things I hide from myself or others or refuse to look at. Eg: extra eating. I stick to my diet sometimes, and sometimes, I grab a handful of potato chips or something worse (eg chocolate.) I am also “hiding” my past by not really revealing all of it. This is in part because I’ve been told not to—that is Blake and various other people told me not to tell all about my “sordid” past, but just to go on cheerfully (yeah right) as if it never happened. I used to want to “come clean” and tell people things that had happened or that I had done so there would be no secrets. Secrets, large and small. I’m mostly not unwilling to tell Keith, for example, anything that happened, I just don’t want to burden him. I feel somewhat less willing to tell Brian. I feel as if Keith loves me, I feel safe with him in that respect. I still feel somewhat like a “bad” person with Brian.

Ø I’d like to stuff everything bad in a suitcase and heave it off the back of a boat into the water. BUT the boy in the dream who is unconscious did not seem bad. Just his one boot. The left boot.

Ø Even though the unconscious child is a boy, he could represent my own lost inner child. (I was a tomboy who always wished I was a boy.) Perhaps I have stuffed my own unconscious (or memories or inner child) into a suitcase.

Ø The hissing boot reminds me of sounds I don’t like such as the vacuum cleaner, the exhaust fan in the kitchen and fireworks (etc). It is very ominous and frightening in some way.

Ø I often think I need to give myself a good boot—to get myself going or to punish myself.

Ø It could also represent death and dying (unconsciousness, being stuffed in a suitcase (grave).)