Barbie’s dream house it ain’t. I open the door and enter a shadowy hallway that leads to a cavernous yet churchlike room featuring a massive wall of books along one side, a steep staircase running diagonally across it. One time I climb the stairs and go through a door at the top that leads to another room of sorts, more a lush garden, sunlit and shadowy, with a burbling stream. It’s idyllic and I remain there until I wake up.
We often dream of houses, and of stairways…they’re classic symbols. We enter, exit, ascend and descend the various layers of our psychology, psyche, soul.
Another time I wander down a cobblestone path alongside the house that leads to a set of stairs that take me down to a dank basement. I’m alone and no one knows I’m there. Tentative and fearful, I explore a maze of short tunnels and twisting, topsy-turvy stone steps. Some passageways lead to locked doors or dead ends and I turn around and try another path. I finally discover the way up, a hidden staircase that clearly hasn’t been used in a long time.
Yet another time the police come to the house and escort me to a concealed cellar where I have stashed contraband connecting me to a heinous crime I’d forgotten I had committed. I am found out, guilty as sin, and once I wake up, it takes me days — literally — to assure myself that it was only a dream, that I have committed no such crime.
We often dream of houses, and of stairways…they’re classic symbols. We enter, exit, ascend and descend the various layers of our psychology, psyche, soul. My house has many rooms, each with its own eclectic decor. Of course I interpret this recurring dream with its ever changing landscape as a metaphor for my life.
Although I haven’t dreamed of that house in which I wandered and stumbled, by turns scared and enthralled, in at least twenty years, in analyzing it, I find comfort and assurance and an acceptance of myself. My way has not been the coherent, cohesive path that so many of the people I know, so many of the people I love, have taken. Not that their lives have been ordinary; like all lives, each one is extraordinary in its own way. But just that theirs read like novels, even epic novels, with a discernible narrative arc; mine reads more like a book of short stories, each with its own arc. And that’s okay — I’m a big fan of short stories!
Artist, writer, storyteller, spy. Okay, not a spy…I was just going for the rhythm.
I call myself “an inveterate dabbler.” (And my husband calls me “an invertebrate babbler.”) I just love to create one way or another. My latest passion is telling true stories live, on stage. Because it scares the hell out of me.
As a memoirist, I focus on the undercurrents. Drawing from memory, diaries, notes, letters and photographs, I never ever lie, but I do claim creative license when fleshing out actual events in order to enhance the literary quality, i.e., what I might have been wearing, what might have been on the table, what season it might have been. By virtue of its genre, memoir also adds a patina of introspection and insight that most probably did not exist in real time.