Click through for the three images included.
For a solid eighteen months my son Pascal had a recurring nightmare that he called "The Moon's House." He described being on the surface of the moon, and the moon would suck him into a hole--the hole was where the moon lived--and inside of the house, the moon would get him. Interestingly, he knew he was going to have this dream as soon as he started falling asleep, because he would hear a sound, a swishing that he called "moon wind." Moon wind meant the moon was coming.
Eventually, after lots of effort and conversation, I figured out that the moon wind sound was actually the resonance you can make by cupping your ear in your hands. He was falling asleep resting on his hand, and aided by his particular ear problems (short tubes, frequent infections) he would hear this swishing intensely, cuing the dream. As soon as we had him fall asleep on his back, the dream completely ceased.
Something has stuck with me from that experience and has continued to influence my art heavily. I realized that the notion of childhood being simple and carefree was never created by children. This nightly horror, though difficult to tie to any real-life threats, was absolutely formative. No amount of effort on our part convinced him that the moon wasn't going to get him. The line about only a dream was meaningless. The pleasant circumstances of his life did nothing to shelter him from that period when he was alone with his unconscious.
This particular image and another that is its sister in one of my upcoming objects for Child's Play is rooted in the dream of the Moon's House. It's of Pascal at the Pacific Dunes, a moonscape if ever I have seen one, climbing up out of a deep ravine. I've used this image before, but never in this way. I'm really looking forward to getting my ink so that I can print it and see what happens.
Our 1860s house came with only four closets--the "Cape Ann" kind that have a narrow door, a shallow back, but strangely deep sides where it's easy to stuff things and consequently lose them for years. Even when organized they are far too cavernous and dark to access regularly or easily. We had such a closet in our bedroom, but it was only large enough to store Josh's clothes so I stored mine in a spare dresser in the bathroom. A few years ago over summer break I designed a system for our room that would suit our needs--the right amount of drawer space for both of us to fit all of our clothing at all times, the right amount of hanging space, shoe storage and sweater storage, plus a shallow mirror closet. Josh took a month and demolished our room and built the unit from scratch. It is perfect.
Over the past month, I have been agonizing over writing my artistic goals. I've tried writing them out in list form. I've tried writing them out in prose form. I've tried putting some into my calendar so that my phone sings me little songs at random times and I look at it to see a message to "email contact today!" which I immediately ignore with a little shudder. It's not that I have difficulty creating work. It's that I haven't been able to dig in and find that one particular goal that will make me pursue it with, say, the determination that I recently used to locate the ideal white linen summer dress. (Even when I found said dress, I stalked it for a week to make sure it was all that I wanted it to be. It is. I'm a great stalker.)
What I think I'm missing is not a goal, but a dream. The fact that I continue to make art when the circumstances of my life are demanding and fight me with almost, but not quite, the same strength with which I fight them, means that there's something I want out of all of this. My friend Grace would say that it's because I'm a scorpio, and scorpios bury themselves in the deep darkness and only come out when they're ready to sting. Maybe. That actually has a ring of truth to it. It's like there is something forgotten and important at the back of my closet and I'm going to need to pull out everything to find it. The closet door is now open and the mess is annoying me every day.
It won't be long now.
(I apologize to the likers and commenters on this original posting. I accidentally deleted it and had to find it in Google cache.)