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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Moon Madness

I awake at 6:30 before it is light, darker even than it was when I awoke earlier at 3 a.m. to the moonbeams shining through my window.  I wasn't aware it was the full moon (full dragon) as I went to the lanai to drink a bit of water.  It was raining, but the moon was shining bright through clouds; I could discern a misty clot of vapor in the the stream valley below.  Not up for moon cream meditation, I lingered a bit before returning to my warm bed with its fresh soft sheets and a cat who rearranged himself between my legs, purring.  We don't know what purring really it happiness or submission?  I have come to see it as a sort of qigong device, like the kneading routine they go through before settling down.  The faint vibrations from his body to the back of my knee helped me drift off again.

I was feeling a little more relaxed anyway, having relieved myself of a burden...I have been blocked (probably stagnant liver qi) for the past few weeks, unable to complete a painting project to which I had committed myself.  I owed one more image to my friend to illustrate --as if it's necessary-- her collection of haiku.  But the dragon I envisioned just wouldn't come. I did a little Chinese New Year's sketch that had been taunting me on my table as I passed everyday, but I just couldn't finish it.  I confessed my blockage, but not to worry, she is not waiting on me, so some relief.  Perhaps now the dragon will come easily; it is hard to get the image out of my head and on to paper when there is an obligation involved.  It interferes with the spontaneity.  I am not professional or commercial enough (which simply means I'm not getting paid for it) to produce on demand.

On awakening in the dark --the moon has long set--I made a conscious effort to remember the dream I was having.  I was at an academic conference of some sort. I  went back to the dining hall to retrieve a missing shoe, a red stiletto. It was still under the table.  Attached to it was something like a bicycle chain, which on closer inspection turned out to be something like a tapeworm.  (In dreams things are always "something like.")  To the tapeworm was attached a card with instructions on how to ingest it, with special notes on how to take it camping.  I know there are people who use tapeworms as weight loss devices.  My reader who recently did a piece on her own dreams might explain what all this means.  Unblocking the liver qi?

Liu Ye
No, I suspect the dream is related to the surreal and shocking media I have been indulging in the past few days. Last week I watched a little film called Dark Matter, with Meryl Streep, Aidan Quinn and the extremely versatile Liu Ye.  I've enjoyed his eager, brooding style before in several films--Postmen in the Mountains, Purple Butterfly, Curse of the Golden Flower, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, and a couple of historical Chinese political propaganda epics. I've not been able to get this story out of my mind. Loosely based on an actual event, the plot concerns the trajectory of a brilliant young Chinese doctoral student in a western university--literally in the Rocky Mountains. Reviews suggest this was unappreciated by mainstream audiences, but I was blown away. Under the ineffective protection of Meryl Streep, who studies tai chi, mandarin and tea making, as part of her support of young Chinese students at the university, Liu Ye's character (Liu Xing) tries to adapt, but in an inappropriate way.  Liu Xing gets mixed messages all along the way.  He is encouraged to challenge his professor (Aidan Quinn) who advises him that his dissertation thesis is way over his head, (meaning way over his advisor's head and challenging his mentor's theory).  A staged western shootout in a tourist pioneer village is contrasted with his watching a wuxia film on pirated TV and foreshadows the disastrous end.  The film is accented by chapter divisions that follow the wu xing, a Chinese cosmological symbol which probably was not understood by most people who watched this film.  A patronizing cultural clash leads to a shocking conclusion.  Why I am discussing movies lately here on my yang side may indicate some integration of yin and yang.  (I wouldn't mind integrating a bit with Liu Ye, which Meryl Steep failed to do do in one sexually tense scene when the failed cosmology student, reduced to selling cosmetics, applies cream to her hands and face.)

At the same time, I am nearly at midpoint in 1Q84, Haruki Murakami's new big novel (925 pages).  I'm not sure why, but I need to finish it, hopefully without injury.  The last time I read a big book like this, that big Ken Follett book about gothic cathedral building, I did actual diagnosed arthritic damage to my wrist (which I have since overcome through qigong). 1Q84 has the pace of a long Korean drama with cliff-hanging chapters, with intense and possibly unnecessary physical descriptions of characters, especially the shapes of people's heads.  With even more bizarre sex scenes than Ken Follett's, set in contemporary Japan, it has a manga, Studio Ghibli feel, as if interpreted by John Irving. It's oddly compelling, but I'm not ready to say yet that it's really very good.  A few good lines to 925 pages one would hope.  Easy to read, but one wonders what might be lost in translation.  I have read some Murakami before, none of his novels, just short stories in the New Yorker.  Over the past several years I have ceased reading New Yorker fiction, and now I think I know why.

The sky is lightening, but not like it was at 3 a.m.  The world seems a little different today, though not as different as 1Q84's with TWO moons in the sky.  I must get ready for my day in my academic office.


sybil law said...

Dreams - I have the strangest dreams sometimes. Sometimes, some really, horrible evil ones (but thankfully not often). The ones that perplex me are the ones where nothing seemingly bad is going on, but you wake up completely whacked out by it.

Kittie Howard said...

I learn so much here. You make me think, a good thing, and I thank you for that. Maybe the tapeworm means something is eating at your ability to get your scene down? Always, but always, when this happens to me, it's something so nonsensical I laugh (with relief). Good luck. And thanks for the movie tips!

baroness radon said...

Thank you for sharing my dreams! (But the hot Asian actors are all mine...).

Actually I feel much better today; there was almost certainly something cathartic going on.

Year of Dragon fully emerged now!

baroness radon said...

And thank you all for not pointing out the half-dozen-plus egregious typos in this post, now corrected. That's what happens when you post at 6:30 a.m. with the image of a tapeworm still in your mind.