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Jayne Dullahan

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  1. I used to dream a lot about living in a communal house, often it was made of glass or had a lot of windows. I haven't had a dream like that in a number of years. This morning I was deeply asleep, I must have been, not only because the dream was so vivid, but because I woke up flat on my back with my arms weirdly crossed over my chest, on the sofa. I haven't been able to sleep in my bed since Casha died. I was in a giant old house filled with things, knick knacks, miscellany, everything, including a lot of things made of iron (I suspect because I have recently gotten very interested in the chemical properties of metals). I moved into this house as a kind of outpost. With people I know. Although I have not one idea who the people were. I can't remember. And that is unusual for dreams like this. I do know that there were close people, possible family, kids and adults, and pets. The pets were of some concern, because they go outside (and once a pet is used to going outside, it is nigh impossible to convince them to stay inside again). I can't remember why we all moved into this house, except that it was somehow related to some sort of supernatural threat. I don't think it was zombies, it was more like people who had become part of some kind of tribe of supernaturally-enhanced spies...I seem to recall there was a very dignified, stern, tall, fairly hirsute but well-kempt older man who was fairly important in this group, there was something very ghost-like about him. They were dangerous and they were out to get ... "others"? I can't quite remember. All I remember is that living in this house was because of this, and one had always to be mindful of who or what was lurking outside the house. No one could go outside without proper protection... ammo, chemicals, antidotes (to what? I don't know). In the dream we spent time trying to avoid being captured, sucked in, devoured, and fighting these other things/people off. I for some reason was very hung up on this tiny gun I had or discovered, that at first was meant to hit precision targets, but had a weird kick that messed up your aim AND it turned out actually made the people/things STRONGER. I did a lot of hiding. There was one segment where there was a kind of Ophelia-like person, who was clearly a friend of mine but I've no idea who, that I needed to hide from... I had some kind of blanket over me, and that appeared to be enough... this lady swept through the room looking for anything and as long as I was covered (under a table, against a wall, covered) she had no idea I was there. Then there was the part with the pets. It's a bit of a jumble. I just remember we were beginning to get worried about pets being a target, and the possibility that they could even be used against us. There is a lot more around this but I can't get a clear picture of it... something about men I know, movies, paint, possibly opiate paint, one last chance, a lot of running. It became clear that they had implanted something in Casha's left forepaw, on the underpart of his leg. I had to get it out, it was urgently important that I get this thing out. I found the wound where they put the thing in, I had to reopen the wound and get it out. I don't understand anymore what it was. I just remember the experience, the panic, the conflict of feeling like I was doing what I had to do versus the pain of causing my friend, who is dependent on me, pain. I sort of understand what that was about but I don't get the rest of it. The context. It was all very graphic and very vivid. It was a weird dream. Weirder than the one I had a few weeks ago where some guy, who was running along side my car, no matter how fast I drove it, shot me from behind in my chest... with a flat gold bullet that somehow only lodged itself in my skin. It hurt, it was numb, I remember telling everyone I came across in the dream they would have to excuse me, I had just been shot, I hate to be selfish or demanding but I was going to take a day for me and lay down and hope I recover alright. Which was a pretty weird and vivid dream, but not as weird as this one this morning.
  2. I know that many of you here have pets that are very important to you, and I know some of you have also lost important pet friends in recent years. I am grieving the loss of my cat Casha, who I had put to sleep two days ago. He was the most important everything in my life for the twelve years we had each other. He chose me at the adoption center when he was 6 weeks old. We have been nearly inseparable ever since. Even now, I think, in some way, we are not entirely apart. Part of me died when he died, and part of him lives on in me. But this hurts like hell. I miss him so terribly, and even though I know factually, scientifically that he is not coming back, I just cannot grasp that I won't see his little big eyes looking up at me in the morning, I won't ever hear his sweet little voice again, I won't ever be able to touch him again. Living in a world without Casha is unimaginable to me, even though I am picking through just that now since two days. He had become very very sick, and he actually way outlived anyone's predictions. At the beginning of this past week he had moved into a cabinet, and didn't want to come out after a day--despite having a healthy appetite. He ate, he slept. In the cabinet. On the day he didn't want to come out of the cabinet I knew he was ready to be at peace. It was hard, but at the same time not hard--my best friend was suffering, he wanted to be asleep, and suddenly it was not hard to make that call, and take him to his vet. I was there when he died. He died with me right by his side, just like I promised him when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I have wept more and harder in the last few days than I have in my entire life. But I feel no bitterness, no regret, no anger, no guilt. I know this is best for him, and he had been quite sick for a lot of his life, so this was not sudden. I wish I still had him with me, but at the same time I know if he were still here he would be suffering unimaginable pain, and I would not ever want that. So I am happy that he is free of the pain now. But good god I miss him. I can't bring myself to mess with the cabinet. I can't face parts of the kitchen. I can't stand silence. I go back and forth between waves of intense grief, and waves of complete numbness. Since the day he died I can't face eating, and I can't sleep in my bed. (I realize I will come round to food again, but I am not ready yet; I just can't do it) The past two nights I have had to put on a DVD and let it run continuously through the night and I try to sleep on the sofa. Fortunately Casha and I have Tony, also a siamese cat who came to live with us three years ago (an adult cat someone had abandoned, who wanted a new family) and also a little stray cat I call Rolf who adopted us in January of this year. Tony and I became much closer watching over Casha in the last month of his life, and now we help each other through the grief. Rolf comes to see us every day, and he plays with Tony and me, and together we take care of each other. I know they miss Casha too. I am glad we have each other. It is helping me to work through this to write about it, and especially talk to people I know have been through the same thing. It has only been two days and I know it is going to take a very long time. Casha was with me from 6 weeks old, he and I were together through graduate school, early jobs, good and painful relationships, a huge move. He was my whole life. He liked to sit outside with me in the snow. He loved to watch birds. He loved children, he loved parties, he loved people being together. He was the most good-natured cat I've ever known. I miss him terribly. I know I will move past the grief, over time. But I also know I will never entirely get over this loss. I think there is a picture of Casha in my photos here. If there is not, I will put one up today.
  3. Whenever I am writing something academic, I fall into a kind of bubble. The rest of the world has to be shut out, I cannot be distracted by anything outside of my most selfish needs... writing is not just about writing, it is about watching other people create, listening to other people create and talk about creating; it is about ordering pizza and eating it distractedly all day, breakfast at noon, dinner at midnight, but eating all day, anyway; it is about 8-10 cups of coffee and no alcohol; it is about pacing around high tables and lying in the sun; it is about listening to the same song or movie for hours. I am not kidding, I mean HOURS. As my subconscious mind turns over whatever I am working out, my more conscious mind muses over other peoples' creations. I am writing an email to my friend the Austrian playwright. I am telling her her work is amazing, it says things I wish I could think to say, they seem like things I could, if I could find that in myself... but I have become an academic writer, I left creative writing behind me over a decade ago. As I write that I wonder, was I ever much of a creative writer? I think about Monty Python. I think about 2 weeks in Barbados, writing Life of Brian. How do people do that, dedicate all their energy to creating something that never was before the same way I dedicate all my energy to writing books, articles, reviews...that has an anchor. I can hang on to that. How to create, how to create? I think of Terry Jones and Michael Palin, my two favorite Pythons. I muse over the Amazon List of Terry Jones's work. It is astonishing. The man has been turning out creative and very, very weird work since the late 1960s. Now he writes academically. He also wrote things like Spam. And Labyrinth. How to go into the office, shut out the world, and create... and how to do that and then have, you know, any connection to things and people outside? How can one bear to leave the creative bubble behind and re-enter that world of pulling weeds and visiting ATMs? Talking to people about door frames or curriculum revision? Entering the bubble isolates you completely, and it is the only way to write; leaving the bubble is hurtful. So is entering the bubble, though, because you have to have reached a state of being in which you NEED to shut out the everyday world, and that usually occurs as you find yourself looking around at everyone and everything and thinking, you know, f@$% all of this. I am checking out. I have concentric circles to push out. I close my eyes, both hating and relishing this isolation, pushing through a psychological analysis about my tendency to self-isolate, to a tunnel into my past. 15 years ago. ? Longer? Living in a little medieval town in central Europe. Falling away from people I know, distracted by some other plane. How much time elapsed? I don't know. It didn't occur to me. Why do we always take so much f@$%ing time to learn things we already know about ourselves? It was not therapy. It was not cathartic. Not entirely. Cut off from my everyday life anyway, I started sleeping less and less. 6 hours a night. 4 hours a night. By the end it was 3 hours a night, and let me tell you, when you don't talk to anyone, and sleep three hours a night, the 21 hours left are long. I became prolific. I read and read, I wrote poems, plays, short stories. None of them were any good, but all of them were practice. Good lord, this is how I've always been. It drove my poor parents round the bend. My first priority is the bubble. It always has been. All other things take a distant second place to the remote possibility that that bubble may spring up. Every so often I feel very lonely about that. But given the opportunity to change it, I will pick the bubble without a second thought. I will return to more creative writing someday. That seems very certain. I am in the bubble right now, and things that seem certain in the bubble often are--because they are unavoidable? Because this is the place where I really really know what I want? Why am I sitting here writing this now? No idea. Self serving. But I was so compelled to do it, I can't help but think it is clearing out some corner of my mind to make space for something I am trying to get to. Or that it will lead me to something I am trying to get to. Sort of like a yard sale! Thank you for browsing, don't feel compelled to buy. I'm just going to take a photograph and then chuck it all in the fire, whatever is left. I've just written the title. I f@$%ing love it.
  4. It began last fall. It's escalated since. Now even my students know I have a seriously academic fascination with not one, but TWO culturally distinct pop phenomena: Kate Bush and Lady Gaga. You may be gasping and sputtering. You may be nodding. Distinctive as they are, Kate and Gaga have aesthetic similarities that appeal very much to the poet voyeur in me, and if Kate Bush ever came to town, you can bet I'd fork over any amount of cash to see it; Gaga IS coming to town and I've forked over a reasonable amount of cash for kick-ass seats to a concert I will doubtless be one of the oldest people attending (that is, of those not accompanying minors). I am not the lone academic persona with an eye on Gaga. She's captured even the eyes of the legitimately snobby "New Yorker" and I doubt we'll have to wait long before some cultural theorist publishes on her work. As I said, Kate and Gaga are quite different. But how they work is quite similar. They both managed to do something that few do, and that is to mostly remain in control of their production. One of my favorite distractions in graduate school was Gaffaweb, in particular the logs from the era of "The Dreaming," where one gets the distinct impression that Kate Bush and her brothers and their friends were basically indulging in artistic projects they'd been dreaming of doing anyway, just now there was also an audience for it. Not so different the "Haus of Gaga". The twist is that the main sujet is the figure of fame and a vested interest in embracing what is usually dismissed and denigrated as "pop culture". Lady Gaga is not an uncritical observer or devotee of fame--she is a pastiche of fame, a burlesque act lampooning its own cause celebre, and it just keeps getting more fun to watch. The video for "Bad Romance," the lead single from her not-yet-released album "The Fame Monster," is the work of someone with big ideas who finally has the resources to realize them; as ever tongue in cheek, the vampire imagery--from the Monster capsule caskets in the cellar to the grimacing bat headdress and the enhanced spines, ribs and eyes--is mostly IN Lady Gaga, suggesting much of what transpires is within her grasp. She is her own victim and savior. The shoes, masks, unabashed sexuality of her act got her into this mess (in this case sold off in an auction to the Russian mafia; in "Paparazzi" pushed off a balcony by her Swedish "boyfriend") and in the end it is this very camp that saves her, as she fortunately has a bra that is also a flamethrower--a great stage prop but it turns out also a handy item for destroying potential rapists. As she stands defiantly in front of the raging flames, draped in a stunning faux polar bear wrap and made up to high heaven, I can't help but get the feeling the artist Gaga (as opposed to the fictional character Gaga) is smirking as the flames blow absurdly higher, having created this artwork, at once beautiful and ridiculous, thoroughly enjoyable and collaborative. Not unlike Kate darting her eyes back and forth, you know, in case any demons are lurking off camera. Silent film actress Louise Brooks made a career out of her own failure. From bad personal and professional decisions to a self-devouring aura, Louise Brooks was a victim of her own Fame Monster, but managed to reforge a legacy reflecting on and embracing that failure. Lady Gaga's project takes all this from a distance Brooks didn't have at the time she was creating her hot mess and parades it in grand parody up and down the catwalk. The obvious pastiche element prevents it from being just another pathetic fashion victim or witless slave to celebrity; Lady Gaga is having fun with this object called fame, and the act exudes legitimacy in its lack of pettiness or agenda. Underneath the direction of the Disco Stick is a thoroughly critical, non-partisan examination of every aspect of "Fame", rife with material to analyse for those who are given to analysis and just fun to dance to for everyone else. Walter Benjamin wrote of Charles Baudelaire, "The depiction of the confused is not the same thing as a confused depiction." Many pop acts are confused depictions; Gaga gives a thoroughly calculated depiction of the confused. It's fabulous, it's cerebral, it's pop. And while I don't entirely agree that pop culture will never be low brow, I do absolutely agree that Lady Gaga's conception of pop culture is not low brow. And I can't wait for "Monster Ball." Maybe I'll go in my Academic Robes and Hood...and 6 inch platform heels...
  5. And I--as I came back to my blog and found your comment. It is nice to see you again, Sarah!
  6. Our syphilitic mad epistemological uncle Fred (Nietzsche) gave a lot of thought to the iniquity of humanity in its own mirror stage, the moment when society became aware of itself in relation to its own history (from which it had been blissfully unaware of its tethers, like a child is unaware of itself in the supermarket or unaware that its parents are actually people, with personalities)...he sat in his chair, aware of the long line of syphilitic madmen that made it possible for him to ask if God was not a metaphor, and whether humanity had outgrown that metaphor, which perhaps he thought while ingesting hugely quackey doses of mercury salts... Ecce Homo, he thought, as he swallowed a medicine that poisoned the illness off into the distance, away from the nerves it was systematically deadening...Menschliches, allzu Menschliches...human, all too human. The grave injustice of finding that most human side of yourself through the things that make you most mortal, most vulnerable, most pathetic. It might be that most beautiful thing, the instant you are unaware of what you see, which you then realize is a human being being all too human. It hurts to see and it's beautiful in its inescapable truth. Like art is its own death, those moments where we are most human are maybe the best and worst, we enter into a state with full knowledge of our mortality or vulnerability, because we can't do otherwise; we are in that moment aware only of mortality, natality, aware of our selves and yet so aware that we cease to be self-aware. The stage after being Suspended in Gaffa. Heinrich von Kleist wrote this great thing on Marionettes as inhuman machines... the perfect pirouette. But not the most beautiful, for its lack of menschliches, allzu menschliches. Unaware of himself, the interlocutor's young friend dances; as soon as he becomes aware of the beauty of that moment, it fades; he attempts to recreate the moment, and that in itself relinquishes it from the realm of beauty. Flashback to a moment in college, a late night in the dorms, the halls of residence, I sit in a chair in a poorly lit room with a friend, we'd fallen into silence and I sat fumbling with a children's kaleidoscope with an Alice in Wonderland motif. I slipped away from that space, having become fascinated with the project of lining up lines in the drawings. My friend was watching me intently. I didn't notice. Something drew my attention back, I don't know what. My friend was smiling at me in a very peculiar way and I said "what?". She said, "you were completely in there, weren't you. You looked so innocent, you just became this little kid again, working out a puzzle. It was beautiful." I had been part of a beautiful moment for a second and wanted desperately to be beautiful. I knowingly fumbled with my project again. "No," she said, "it doesn't work anymore. You know you're doing it." I was curiously sad and frustrated that I had missed a moment of beauty. I was at an age where I needed to know the world had beauty in it and desperately felt the need to be part of that. I had been, and I'd missed it. I was 18, I was just coming into my own epistemological mirror stage. I had a lot of need and I was aware of it. It was a project of display. It was not beautiful. Flashforward to last night. I was reading Papa Denny Doherty's transcript of his show "Dream a Little Dream: The nearly true story of the Mamas and Papas"--a show that answered Mama Michelle's book "Dream a Little Dream: The true story of the Mamas and Papas". In it he pointed out that some of what he said was true, some not so much, but hard to distinguish because, hey, it was the 60s and Papa Denny was so tuned in that he turned off. So, true...not true... what difference does it make? It was how he remembered it. And mostly, the show came across to me as atonement...for having so profoundly misunderstood and misfollowed his own humanity. And the object of that atonement is clear enough from the title. Papa Denny was filled, it seems to the very end, with a lot of regret. It was the way he described one particular moment that made me stop short, becoming aware that THAT was a moment of humanity. One filled with injustice, one of a person so overwhelmingly human that she scared the living daylights out of people she wanted to be close to; in being deeply human, she became sort of superhuman, an impenetrable force of life who seemed too far away. And in this moment she was desperately hurt and vulnerable... Cass Elliot carried a very bright and burning torch for Denny Doherty, and this is the moment where he broke her heart. Whether it's real or not, this is his story, this is his vision, and in it is this impenetrable force of life, scrunched in a corner crying. So aware of her own humanity that she is unaware of herself. It's an amazingly human moment. Love is such a weirdly unfair thing. What's one to do with the people who love so deeply, so intensely, that they scare people off? You can only hope they find someone or some someones who can love them as deeply, as intensely as they can love. But of course, when they do, they can't be together, for X and Y reason. And for years they fight with destiny or ethics or destroy themselves asking questions until they've been questioned into little meaningless pieces, only to come back to the original realization that, unfair though it all is, that's the way it is and you can either be miserable and filled with regret or you can find a way to make whatever strange thing you have there--this force that no matter how hard you try to escape STILL finds you and knocks you *** over head--work in your favor. You can't be 18 or 20 and have that work. You need years of losing things and fighting for things, of becoming aware of yourself in relation to your own history, to sit down and start carving that niche the way you want it. Human, all too human. "I was pretty unattractive for a few years there." "I didn't really notice." "I don't know what's coming. But I like the future." "Me too."
  7. Love the picture, very haunting, slightly out of focus

    Greg

  8. Oh I'm an Obama girl :)

    Have fun on holiday!

  9. Yes it really is a frenzy over there isn't it? Who do you want to be elected? The girls are great thanks for asking! We're looking forward to a holiday next saturday, 11 days in the Fueteventura...can't wait :>) Great to hear from you sweetie, take care XXX

  10. hey there janet! I'll have to get back on here sometime, it's been too long.

    naturally I am very distracted not only be work but by this crazy election over here!

    how are you, how are the girls?

  11. God I miss you sweetie :>( Hope you are happy and well xxx

  12. BLAM! BLAM! ...

    um ... I mean ... hiya Jayne, hurry back to us!

    xxx

  13. lol yes, we certainly do turn some heads these days!!! Good to 'touch base' with you hunny :>) xxx

  14. Wow, is that you and your girls? That's a smashing picture!

    Yes, I am pretty busy these days, but, as you see, never too far away :)

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