reprinted from January 22, 2009 with new photographs
The dream Louisa's Dress, that I am relaying was experienced several years ago as a theater performance. I awoke sitting up in bed clapping after the final scene. I had a notebook on a little table near my bedside and wrote the dream text down as it is written here. About ten years later I pulled the little journal out to read and carried it around for some days in a black book bag. I left this bag on the SF BART line, and was heartbroken that I had lost the only copy that I had of it. Miraculously, the book bag was discovered by a psychologist who realized the importance of the manuscript and who went to some effort to return it to me. So unbelievable as it was, the dream that was given was lost and then restored. I have for years pondered the meaning of this dream and found that threads or texts and subtexts emerge and then disappear into passing years. At various stages of understanding I became each character in the dream theater. I have a lengthy interpretations but the symbols and the dance of the dream itself, make evident it's mythic and psychological meaning.
Scene 1: Louisa encounters a fortune teller in a train station.
I am in a train station in New York City rushing towards a train on a platform beneath me. As I descend concrete steps and pass my walls covered with grafitti, I see an old gypsy woman grasping the hands of people who pass by and read palms. As I pass by the gypsy takes my hand and looks deeply into my eyes as she speaks. "I see Cybele and a witch daughter named Rose." I feel sorrow as she says this. "Tell me more about Cybele, " I implore her. At first she hesitates and then finally she speaks, "I see years and years of sorrow." I blink tears away and pay her. Other passengers are watching us. "Isn't that amazing," someone in the crowd says," she paid the gypsy." As I walk down steps onto the train platform I think, "I must embrace sorrow, keep company with death." "The journey before me into my sleeping selfhood stretches endlessly; a long tunnel of darkness."
Scene 2: A blind man restores the light for those who see
As I enter the train platform all of the lights go out and everyone is alarmed. Suddenly the light is restored. A blind man has repaired a problem in the light system. The man gives a short speech, "in my blindness I am able to see more than most. In the many crevices of darkness I have come to know intimately the mechanism of light and find restoring your vision a simple matter." The many people on the platform clap and throw their stamped train tickets into the air as the train pulls into Grand Central Station through the mirage. I get onto the train.
Scene 3: Louisa searches for her mother's house
As I journey towards my mother's house my dress takes on provocative and unique form. I walk along the cobblestone streets of the West Village. the eyes and reflections of people I see make me aware I am wearing a unique dress. Suddenly, my sister drives up in front of me in a white sports car. My mother is with her. "What is mother doing here" I ask? "I've never seen her before and I don't want to see her now." You didn't mention her bore." "Don't be troublesome," my sister replies, "just get in for she wants to see you. My mother is an elegant matron with ash blonde hair and is conservatively dressed. My mother and sister stare disdainfully at me, disapproving of my dress and velvet shoes with ribbons which tie around my ankles. I get into the car and return with them to my mothers's house; a town house in the Village. Her windows are covered with thick drapes.
Scene 4: A bewitching dress of thin white baptiste
Scene 5: There are two of them anima twins
It is dusk and I am wandering through the cobblestone narrow streets of the Village in search of my mother's house again. I become cold and tired and stop to rest in an old dark movie theater. An old Marlene Dietrich film is playing called, "The Blue Angel." I notice that two young English girls are sitting near to me in the movie theater. I see they are lovely and appealing although they are dressed in provocative clothing. Their brashness suggests the innocence of the very young. They look at an image of Dietrich on the screen and turn around and point at me. "Look at that one; she is mysterious too." They come and sit next to me and make sexually provocative overtures. One sits in my lap and I am quite taken aback but find them amusing and attractive. We leave the movie theater together to return to the train station.
Scene 6: The anima twins shock the debutantes who are all wearing identical pink hats
The anima twins and I take a subway train to my mother's house. They continue their provocative antics. As the train stops at the next station several debutantes get on the train. They are all wearing identical pink hats. The twins make a scene. One of them puts her hand on my breast. "Take your hand off of Louisa's breast," says the other loudly. the debutantes in their pink hats are shocked by their behavior and insult us. I make a comment that silences them and we get off the train at the next stop.
Scene 7: The face of the head waiter slit up into a grimace as he said to Louisa, "your dress is weird."
We wander through more cobblestone streets in the Village and stop at an elegant hotel to rest. There is a cafe outside. I call A.K. and ask him for directions to my mother's house. He is lthe trustee of my trust and also my father. He gives me directions and the twins and I walk into the dining room. The headwaiter is appalled at our presence for I am in my strange white dress and the twins are in provocative garb. He tries to make us leave and I silence him. I demand after a while that he summon us a cab. He does so reluctantly. Finally he takes one for us that was called for another. He is glad for us to leave. He opens the door of the cab as we leave in a dignified manner. The anima twins and I get in. Suddenly the headwaiter's face slits up into a grimace. He whispers to me, "Louisa your dress is weird."
Scene 8: Louisa wanders into a lost train station
The taxi drops us off in front of an abandoned train station and the anima twins runs off. I see an old bag lady and ask her, "how do I explain these girls at home?" "I need a drink" she replies and vanishes into the dark. I turn around and see that I am being followed by a troupe of mimes. They are dressed in red velvet costumes from head to toe. Their hats are pointed and their tear drops glisten like pearls in the darkness. I start to run and they chase after me. They catch me and surround me in a circle. They dance around me while each one of them mimes a different feeling I have. I react in panic and flee.
Scene 9: Oh Louisa, you have torn your dress
The anima twins and the mime troupe search for me in the train station. Finally they find me down on the station platform. I am sitting on a white horse. I jump off of the horse and this time I am the one who dances. The music of Bolero is playing. My dance is sensuous and provocative as is the music. I throw a small strand of pearls I am wearing onto the train tracks. The dance ends with me tearing open the front of my dress of bewitching batiste to expose a white breast. At this exact moment a train pulls into the platform; its whistle echoing through the empty station and its shadow covers first my breast and then all of me; all of everyone. The train passes through the now empty station. All vanishes. A voice whispers in the dark, "Oh Louisa, you have torn your dress."