By Dolores J. Nurss

Volume VI: The Rift

Chapter 26




I had a vague dream of crossing the countryside leading worn-out children, more than half of them kids that I didn't recognize, feeling exhausted and half out of my mind, myself, and yet coldly determined, too.  I built the rest on that.

Layne Aliso's part I extrapolated from a dream that will come up later.

I flash-dreamed of being Sanzio, regarding a scourge in my hand, all alone, with no intention of using it for interrogation.  In my teens and twenties, similar to a cutter of the same age, I flagellated.  I used a string-saw, doubled over, on my bare legs, and I wore pants all the time to conceal the aftermath.  I used it whenever I disagreed with family accusations against me, whipping myself until I could reach a point where I believed them.  At first I stopped at the first drop of blood, but over time I needed more and more blood to convince myself.

I thought the problem was me, because of course my family would only tell me truth, I had to be delusional to disagree, which fit in with their narrative that I was the crazy one.  And their false reality-checks did indeed make me crazy.  (I had never heard the term, "gaslamping" in those days, but oh, they were masters of it!)  I thought that flagellation suitably punished me for forbidden thoughts and impossible memories, while curing me of them.

Then I met my future husband, and we became engaged.  When he found out what I did, he insisted that he wouldn't marry me unless I got rid of that thing and promised never to flagellate again.  So I threw my string-saw flail into the canyon.  There let nature break it down to rust, heal it of misuse, and take its iron back into the soil!

So yes, if it's true that all dream-characters, regardless of whether they originate from within or without, reflect aspects of ourselves, then I am, among others, Sanzio, a torturer.  I tortured myself unjustly, in obedience to a governance that I should have questioned.  Like Sanzio, I called what I did a quest for the truth, but in fact I only solidified the lies.  The tortured will say, will even believe, only what we demand of them.

Dreams are ruthless.  They don't spare our illusions and they don't pull punches.  They don't care how awful a truth is if we need to face it.  So I don't always get nice dreams because I'm not always a nice person.  If I'm going to include these dream notes, for the benefit of those studying dreams and their reflection of both psychology and the creative process, I must be blunt, even if it rips the skin off of my pretentions.


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