Dream of:24 January 1996 "Such An Ignominious Death"
I was sitting with my legs crossed on a couch in the dinning room of the House in Patriot (the home of my maternal grandparents when I was a child). I was concentrating on remembering a dream I had had before awaking. When I had first awakened, I had lain in bed, going over the dream in my mind, intending do get up and write it down, but as I had retraced the dream in my mind, I had fallen back asleep. Now, awakening the second time, I had come to the couch to sit and try to remember the dream. To my disappointment, the dream was fuzzy in my mind, and trying to remember it was causing my head to hurt.
There had been one main part of the dream on which I tried to concentrate. In that part I had been talking to my grandmother (although it wasn't clear whether it was my paternal grandmother Mabel or my maternal grandmother Leacy, or even if it was actually either of them) on the telephone. I had been called away from something important to take the call. When I had begun talking to my grandmother I had quickly realized she was soon going to die. I had known I must leave and go see her at once before she died, but I had feared there wouldn't be time.
My grandmother had had one important thing she wanted to tell me before she died, something to do with Jesus Christ. She had explained that people made a mistake by equating Christ (or Christ's message) with love. She had said love was not what people should concentrate on, but something else.
Now, as I sat on the couch, I strained myself to remember what was the other thing my grandmother had told me about Christ in the dream – but I simply could not recall. At first I thought she had said the other thing was politics, but then I realized that I was wrong, that it had not been politics. Still it seemed as if it had been something similar to politics. What was the most important thing about Christ if it was not love? I simply could not remember what my grandmother had told me.
I did remember how the dream had ended. In the dream, as I had been talking on the phone, I had let the receiver slip out of my hand and fall with a thud to the floor. The impact of the phone hitting the floor had killed my grandmother. It was almost as if my grandmother had only existed as a disembodied voice inside the phone, and the jolt had killed the voice.
As I continued to sit and ponder the dream, I began to think I might have actually taped the dream on an audio cassette. I rose and walked over to a cardboard shoe box filled with things and I began going through it. To my surprise I found several cassette tapes in the shoe box. The tapes had writing on them which indicated I had long ago recorded dreams on them. I had completely forgotten about these particular cassettes and I thought I would need to listen to these tapes. But it looked as if there was no tape of last night's dream among the tapes.
So I knew the most important thing now was for me to write down this dream immediately before I forgot it. It seemed like an important dream to me, and I wanted to write it down in a special way. I knew just what I would do. In the room was a beautiful vase. It was a little more than 30 centimeters high, and seemed to have a multitude of different colors on it. From its small base it curved upward in a widening sweep, until toward the top it curved back in, then back out again in a flange at the top.
I picked up some kind of special pen or pencil. Before I began writing, I tried to think of the best words to use. To me, it seemed the most important part of the dream had been the way my grandmother had died. It had been so strange that she would die just because the phone fell to the ground, and it seemed such an unworthy way to die. Suddenly I knew what the first words of the written dream should be, and I wrote down, "Such an ignominious death."
I was aware of several things as I wrote. First I was aware that I was writing an incomplete sentence, that there was no verb in the sentence. I knew as a writer I had the freedom not to adhere to strict rules of grammar as long as my writing was effective and could be understood. Second, I was aware of the point of view I was using. Usually when I wrote a dream, I wrote it from the point of view of myself in the first person, but occasionally I wrote a dream from the third person point of view. With the first sentence written this way, it was not clear yet which point of view I would be using. Finally, I was aware of the word "ignominious." It was like so many words I knew: I used it abstemiously. Yet now was the perfect time to bring this little-used word up and use it.
For my grandmother's death had seemed ignominious to me. The word "ignominious" to me had the meaning of something happening in an unworthy way without anyone knowing about it. In a certain way, "ignominious" seemed somewhat like "anonymous," only in a pejorative sense. And that was the way she had died. Simply by the dropping of a telephone, without anyone knowing or caring, she had perished.
So I took my writing tool and I began writing. I intended to write the whole dream down on the outside of the vase. I began at the top and wrote one line all the way around the vase. The vase itself seemed to have been newly made and not yet fired, but the letters of my words seemed to come out in a raised, glazed fashion which made them look striking and finished. Having completed the first line, I stopped and looked at the words. I was quite impressed, but I had made a couple mistakes. In two different places I had failed to put an apostrophe and an "s" after someone's name when I had been trying to show the possessive case. I would have to go back and add the missing letters and apostrophes.
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