Saturday, March 6
Collected Works Bookstore
202 Galisteo St.
This weekend at Collected Works Bookstore, Kelly Sullivan Walden, a hypnotherapist and dream analysis expert, joins San Francisco-based poet Joan Gelfand to discuss those nocturnal musings and just how they can influence the creative process.
From ancient shamans to modern-day rock 'n' rollers, creative types have used their dreams to further their art. It's a well-known tale that Paul McCartney dreamed the melody to “Yesterday,” which went on to become the most-recorded song in the history of recording. It's a lesser-known tale that Keith Richards recorded the main riff to “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction” on a tape recorder next to his bed in the middle of a half-delirious alcohol-induced stupor, only to find the tape the next morning with no memory of the event whatsoever. That's kind of like dreaming, right?
Either way, I'm quite a dreamer myself, so I decided to call Sullivan Walden up and tell her about the single strangest dream I've ever had—then get her take on whether or not I'm completely crazy.
Sullivan Walden lives part-time in Santa Fe (she divides her time between Los Angeles and Cerrillos) and is the author of I Had the Strangest Dream: The Dreamer's Dictionary for the 21st Century. Gelfand's most recent book of poetry is The Dreamer's Guide to Cities and Streams.
Below the jump, get the scoop on my dream (which involved, among other things, Ron Jeremy, water parks and moldy ears of corn) and what Sullivan Walden thought of it.
First off, the dream:
I'm in Italy, wandering through a beautiful villa. There's a painting in the house that I desperately want, but the painting is owned by Ron Jeremy, and the only way I can get it is if I...well...you know. Do the thing that Ron Jeremy is known for. I've decided that the painting is worth it, and I go to seek Mr. Jeremy out. I find myself—still in Italy—in a water park (at this point it becomes clear to me that I am also an Iraq War veteran in this dreamworld) ISO the man himself. I am holding two moldy ears of corn like infants, and somehow I know that the ears of corn will grow up and become my (human) children.
Now, Sullivan Walden's take on some of the most important images:
Here and there, there's a parenthetical interjection from me, answering one of Sullivan Walden's questions. Now, keep in mind: Sullivan Walden does preface her analysis with: "Every person is the best interpreter of their own dreams. No one else can tell you what your dream is, but I can make suggestions and go with my hunches and say, if it was my dream, what I would say about it."
"The theme feels like there's something about compromise. Compromising what you want and how you go about getting what you want."
"If it was my dream, my association with Italy is phenomenal creativity, brilliant minds are from Italy. It's a place of creative genius and mastery. You're wanting access to that. And what does it take to get there? You believe you can't just have it—you have to jump through hoops."
"You're a writer, you're an artist. You have an appreciation for beauty and art, so it feels like, in order to get this, you have to access your sexuality in some way that feels like a compromise. It's grappling with that—'Will I?' And, 'Yes, it's worth it, so I'm going to.' For now, I'm choosing to go after it, because I really want this beautiful thing, or what this thing represents."
"Do you secretly lust for Ron Jeremy? Is he your dream man? (No, but I loved him on The Surreal Life—he was one of the funniest people I'd ever seen. But it's not like I'm on his email list or a member of his fan club or anything.) But you liked him? (Yeah, I thought he was great.) He was. So there's a positive connotation—it's not a bad thing, but you'd rather just be able to get the painting."
Ears of corn
"Do you have a connotation or a stigma with ears of corn? (No, none whatsoever.) The ears stand out to me more than the corn. It's about listening. An intuition. Your ability to listen has to do with your ability to understand."
Ears of corn as moldy children
"Whenever there's a baby in a dream, I feel it's showing you that there's a whole new way of being. A whole new opportunity that's available. So it feels like there's something moldy, something antiquated, it's not working. Out of something moldy comes a brand new opportunity."
"It's pointing to a whole new way of being that would have you access your creativity, your genius, your mastery—all that that painting represents, beauty and life on a higher level. There's certain things that are being vented out so that you can have this new opportunity."
...Yes, you read this right. Sullivan Walden took my crazy Ron Jeremy dream and made it a totally intelligent and arguably accurate analysis of my life. How the hell did she do that?!
Sullivan Walden has been interested in dreams her entire life; since they were children, she and her sister were deeply connected on a psychic level, she says. They often had the same dreams and would wake up in the morning and talk about them together. As she grew up, Sullivan Walden was going to be a psychologist, but she got interested in hypnosis and hypnotherapy and accessing the unconscious. The rest is history.
As for teaming up with Gelfand, Sullivan Walden says the pairing was natural. "Joan and I are both avid dreamers," she says. "We both believe in the power of dreams to assist you in your creative process. Some of the most amazing art and best ideas come through dreams or through the dream state that you can access even when you're awake. Joan will literally roll out of bed and do some of her most beautiful poems right in the dream state. And when I'm working on a book, that's exactly what I do—when the sleepy state is still foggy, there's just so much magic."
Meet Sullivan Walden and Gelfand at Collected Works Bookstore this Saturday and tell her your own weird dreams—I dare you to top mine.
THE DREAM WITHIN THE DREAM
Saturday, March 6
Collected Works Bookstore
202 Galisteo St.