Saturday, October 9, 2010
I keep having memories of events from the early days of dad's brain injury (memories I haven't thought about in forever) and I remember the feeling of this incredible oppressive presence - I guess you'd call it evil (which sounds a bit dramatic, but that's what it was, the sense that there was this bad, very very bad, heaviness all around). In the early weeks after Iris was born, this raccoon made its way into our garage and I could hear it bumping around down there while I was up in the middle of the night nursing her. And it became this perfect allegory for that presence: this lumbering, hunched invader. Mac trapped it (peanut butter) and drove it to the edge of town - and that was that: it was gone. I still love thinking about that. All of the love that this family is being surrounded by just has to be a bulwark against that presence, that bad. All of the local businesses have signs up for this little boy, there are thousands and thousands of visits to the blog that his parents are running, dozens of people go to see them every day, and hundreds of people write in the guestbook daily. Surely, hopefully, this will protect them, give them moments of peace and safety within all the new things to understand. And in the midst of it all, the will of this little boy, making his way back.
So the image is of a dream vision that Jean Thenaud has of the terrain governed by Prudence (who is the rather incredible babe in the middle of the image - yes, that's milk). It's the main image of my conference paper which needs to be done by Thursday morning (I leave Thursday afternoon). I've been living with this image and thinking about it for weeks now, and feel ready to write, even as I've felt completely split between thinking about this little boy (something I can't do nearly enough about), and thinking about work (something I should be doing so much more about). Dream allegories are one of the most popular genres in medieval writing - a whole lot of works gets done when the Dreamer has his out-of-body experience. Thenaud articulates (in thousands of pages) his longing for Jerusalem (and this is what I want to write about in here soon soon). What I love is that, no matter how far away they go, or how complex their allegorical dreamscape is, these dreamers always make their way back.