Doctors In Drag And Weeding In The Basement

 

I remember this dream from last night: one of my favourite professors from my MA, Dr Kim Sawchuk, is walking past me on a sidewalk, somewhere. I am surprised by her haircut as she’s shaved it all close to her head, except for a band around just the bottom which is left long like a hippie monk. Or like a Franciscan, now that I think about it. Always, for me, the most endearing saints.

I say hello and she doesn’t recognize me. I introduce myself and she sort of remembers, and than says, out of the blue: “I Am Not Your Negro.”  When I wake up I’m not sure how to interpret this, but now I think I just need to go see the movie.

James Baldwin

James Baldwin – I Am Not Your Negro

In the next dream I see one of my favourite professors from my undergrad this time, Dr Allan Hepburn, who taught American Literature. As far as I know these two teachers have never met, but they were the ones I to loved to write for. Dr Hepburn was always impeccably turned out in suits, perfect haircuts and a clean shave. In the dream though his hair is a long messy bob and he’s wearing a wide headband, and I feel like he’s allowing himself all kinds of unbridled femininity in his gestures. I tell him I love him, that I always loved him, but in a gay way. He gets what I mean and laughs. We have a loving hug and I feel how thin and vulnerable he is. Tiny and shaking.

I look over his shoulder and I see we are inside now. We are in a loft apartment high above the street with a wall of windows looking out on a grey sky. As I hold Professor Hepburn I see that there are birds inside the apartment. Small swallows flicker behind the plants. They are hunting bugs that hover in the air, and suddenly I know: the birds are here because there is no food left for them outside.

Another post-apocalyptic dream.

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Dr. Sawchuck I associate with a paper I saw her deliver at a conference one time where she made the beautiful but heartbreaking suggestion that some relationships can’t hold together because people actually, literally, hum and exist on different frequencies.

Dr. Hepburn I associate with Joan Didion. And now that I think about it, in the dream he did look a bit like her in The Centre Will Not Hold – so frail and fragile. Same bob.

Maybe the centre can’t hold, but at least there still is one…

And there are birds there.

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The other memory I have from last night is just an image:

My mom has built a garden in the basement and I am down there, weeding.

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Posted in Dreams, Writing by Risa Dickens.