Friday, May 04, 2007

the flesh eaters

This is ridiculous, but it makes me happy. My professor requested that we submit our papers in letter format (as opposed to a more traditional format). As it turns out, I managed to pull a 90 on the paper (regardless of the fact that I mentioned David Hasselhoff more than I mentioned the actual piece of artwork).

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Dear Abby,
I am a 27 year-old woman and I’ve always had trouble sleeping. But it seems lately that I’ve had a particularly bad time. I wake-up consistently every two to three hours and always having had the same dream.

I keep seeing this image in my dreams that I can’t seem to get out of my head. The image is obscure and colorful, but doesn’t seem to hold any relevance to my every-day life. The forms in this image are relatively indiscernible and it drives me crazy every day trying to figure out why I continue to have this dream and how it relates to my life.

So I guess my question to you is have you ever helped anyone make sense of an absurd dream, or on how to get rid of a recurring one? I hate the constant waking up and I’d like to start getting some sleep for a change!
-Dreaming in Dakota


Dear Dreaming,
It sounds like you’re having quite the predicament! I know that I myself went through a period of sleepless nights, continuously waking up to disturbing thoughts of David Hasselhoff, American Idol reruns, and Twinkies. Many times when we dream, we forget what we’ve dreamt about and go about our daily routines. With recurring dreams, however, the message may be so significant and powerful that it just refuses to go away.
You’ve given me little to no information about your background or on even the image itself. I’m curious to hear more – I’d like to help you figure this one, but I will most certainly need more information.
-Abby


Dear Abby,
This image… well, it’s kind of difficult to describe. As I mentioned in my first letter: the figures are pretty difficult to discern. It reminds me a little of a painting; probably modern. There are a lot of colors, and a lot of interesting lines. Green squiggly lines run parallel to one another on one side (it’s difficult to say which side they are actually on because the image turns and flips quite a lot). A violet zig-zag dances along the green squiggles, touching on every zig and separating on every zag. A light blue shape that I cannot quite identify sits right in the midst of the green squiggles – it sort of looks like a person sitting with their feet straight out in front of them. I’ve thought in the past that it is the silhouette of someone that I know (my nephew perhaps?) The only detail of this blue blob is a black, very linear, spider-looking thing with 11 spindly arms that reach out from the center – each arm has a little ball at the end. This spider-looking thing is right where the face of this supposed person would be and it always has me racking my brain to think if I know anyone who looks like a spider. While it sounds like this little spider would be horrific, it actually looks more pleasant than it sounds. I always think of it as being a fun little spider (is that weird?) The opposite side of the image looks like a lovely salmon sky with a green lined blue cloud that fades down into a very dark earth-like area. In front of this darkness is another seemingly silhouetted image that kind of reminds me of myself on a very bad hair day. It looks like a grayish shoulders, neck, and head that moves up into a crazy haircut from the early ‘90s. The hair-like spikes reach up into the darkness and toward the pink sky like sinister fingers. The space created between those fingers and the background is actually quite lovely (despite its being sinister). If this is a person (as I suspect it might be), their back is turned to the other person (blue blob) that I mentioned. Is this perhaps meant to suggest that I’m turning my back on someone I care about?! Or maybe I ought to be turning my back on someone who is really a spider?
Oh, and to further answer your question, I am an art student. And I really enjoy the opera and Thai food. I hope that this information helps!

I’m looking forward to your thoughtful reply!
-Dreaming in Dakota

Dear Dreaming,
Wow. I must say that is quite a lot of detail that you have given me. Your dream must have occurred many, many times for you have recalled a great deal of detail in your description of this recurring image! I can honestly say that I almost find it unbelievable and really have to ask if you are yanking my chain here. It is not uncommon for me to receive letters that pose an entirely ridiculous and entirely fake inquiry, and while this does not seem altogether ridiculous, it does seem pretty unbelievable (surely you understand).
I really hope that it is a true concern that you have written about, because otherwise I would feel just a mite embarrassed for mentioning the whole little David Hasselhoff bit.
Pray tell me.
-Abby

Dear Abby,
I hope that your letter was a joke. I was expecting a reply, not an accusation. Perhaps I ought to bid you good riddance?
-Dreaming (and disgruntled) in Dakota

Dear Dreaming,
I am so incredibly sorry! I did not mean to accuse, merely to clear the air. You do understand, do you not? I submit my sincerest apologies and I hope that you will reconsider that bit about good riddance.

Meanwhile, I will go ahead and advise you to consider the relationships in your life. Are there people that you are close with that you’ve recently had a fight with? Are there people that you work with that have treated you poorly or who have had a venomous influence in your life? It is a possibility that those figures you see are silhouettes and that they represent people that you interact with on a day-to-day basis. It is also possibly that the figures themselves mean nothing at all and that the colors are more significant here. Of course, the colors that you have mentioned present a fairly broad range (green, violet, blue, grey, pink, black) and all of them hold very different meanings. I would suggest making a list of these colors and writing their significant meanings to you personally. What emotions do these particular colors invoke in you? Do pink or green bring up special memories or mean something specific to you? Look at samples of these same colors and keep notes on your responses to them. Do they invoke anger? Peace? Anxiety? I will help you, but you have to be a partner in solving this mystery!

Please keep me informed on how this develops, and once again I offer my sincerest of apologies.
-Abby


Dear Dreaming,
I have not heard from you in quite some time. I hope that everything is going all right. Are you still having the dreams? Are you still upset with me? Did you take my suggestions to heart? I have been thinking about it a bit more and have taken my own advice in regards to the little recurring instances I myself was having. It is amazing what one can learn form their dreams! This is the sort of instance that makes my job so worthwhile. After three or four more occurrences, I decided to act on the Hasselhoff thing and send him a letter. I still have yet to receive a response, but that is not the important thing. The important thing is that I have taken action on something that is important to me, regardless of how vulnerable it makes me. And let me tell you: I am not one to make myself vulnerable. I would like to think that I am always strong and stable, but like every human being I have weaknesses. There are times when I cry and when I feel incapable of doing the simplest of things. There are times when I feel lonely. I know that I would always prefer for people to see me as flawless and as having all of my stuff together, but I am learning that is perfectly all right to wear my heart on my sleeve every now and again. I hope that you are having the same revelations!
-Abby

Dear Abby,
I’m sorry for not getting back to you sooner. Wow! That’s pretty amazing about Hasselhoff! Has he written back yet?
Well, I feel really silly about this entire dream thing and I’ve been putting off responding because I was just a little embarrassed. I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art a few months ago to do research for a paper I was writing for school and while I was there (wouldn’t you know) I stumbled across the very same image that kept popping up in my dreams! My first response, of course, was complete disbelief and amazement. I felt like I was having a little episode of déjà vu until it occurred to me that yes, I had actually been here before, in this same place looking at this very same painting. I had been there two years earlier for yet another school project when I originally saw this painting by William Baziotes, an American painter. It’s called The Flesh Eaters, and I remember my initial thoughts as being that while I thought the color palette was fantastic and that the images were a great use of space that it was just a little unnerving. I decided then not to do my project on that painting and apparently it was trying for months and months to not let me forget it. In essence, the painting came back to haunt me. It still pops up in my dreams from time to time but at least now I know that all my loved ones do not go thoughtlessly ignored by me. I do have a woman that I work with that I can’t stand, but I would hardly call her venomous as you’d suggested. So naturally, I feel pretty stupid right about now. Sorry for my nasty response earlier. I especially feel bad about it now that this has all turned out to be nothing! Silly me.

I went ahead and enclosed a copy of the painting with this letter. I thought I might as well share it with you since you’ve had your time invested in this little investigation of sorts!
I hope that everything works out with Hasselhoff! Let me know if anything interesting develops.
-Dreaming

PS: My real name is Mónica, and I’m actually from New Jersey and not Dakota. Dakota just sounded better after the word Dreaming.

PSS: Did you ever further investigate the American Idol or Twinkie dreams? Just curious.

1 comment:

Alejandra said...

I just randomly read this again and remembered how good it was...

SO good...