A Story about an Artist
Their dreams are their magic, and I’m simply transcribing one particular dream conjured this particular morning.
I am going to tell you a story about an artist. This artist, who may or may not be me, is a conjurer, a healer of sorts, who remembers long ago when a name and its meaning hung over their bed causing all sorts of dreams. Their dreams are their magic, and I’m simply transcribing one particular dream conjured this particular morning.
Like all dreams, facts are elusive, and truths are abundant. Let this insight guide your particular understanding at this particular moment of your reading of this story.
Image description: a photo of the altar I set this morning before beginning writing. It includes the following books: Dictionary of Symbols, Be Here Now, The Book of Ruins, Tao Te Ching, China in Ten Words, Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, and Workers Tales. It also includes 22 ruins face down and three ruins face up. The face up ruins are Jera (all that came before), Wunjo inverted (the here and now), and Perth (all that is possible). There is also a dream box created at a dinner party with Crystal Mason with the dream it contains outside it, “Abundance, dance the scarcity, fear away because narcism can go.” There is also a metal sculpture created by John O’Reilly holding an air plant, a Water candle inscribed by Andrea Fuenzalida, a shell found at Ocean beach holding a partially smoked joint, a blue bowl gifted by Daniel Blair filled with water, a cup of coffee, and a bic lighter. The ruin box is also on the table, and the ruins were a gift by Tomas Hemstad and Daniel Blair. There are also blank paper and pens on the table. One piece of paper has a spell titled, “The Artist?” on it in reference to the story. It transcribes the three ruins drawn.
A Story about an Artist
Sitting at the the same wood table referenced in a column published by an artist about a week ago, another artist conjures the here and now and all that came before and all that is possible through consulting runes gifted by yet a different artist who shares ancestral lineage with the conjuring artist.
For the conjurer, here and now is home, a place existing in all times and all spaces even though its current representation is on a corner of San Francisco down the street from San Francisco General Hospital, where one year ago surgeons took a segment of artery from their groin to replace a segment of artery behind their right knee where a growing cyst was constricting blood flow. In this here and this now, there are still more artists at that same hospital being treated for COVID. It is where those without insurance are treated, and artists are among the uninsured.
This particular artist in this particular corner of home at this particular moment seeks return—the return of rain upon lands free from colonizers and settlers, the return of healing to repair generations of trauma, the return of bountiful harvests cultivated by and shared with all. And they return to that hospital room where they cried joyfully as they realized the scars on their right leg represent a legacy of queers and dykes and trans folx and immigrants who fought for a Healthy San Francisco that made this healing possible.
This return is also possibility. It is the eagle—no longer a symbol of national pride, who flies free knowing no border. It is the phoenix—born not from flames but from the ashy remnants of death, whose body is whole and healed and glorious. It is the unknowable—the spaces and times beyond human manipulation. These are possibilities dreamt by the artist who conjures at this wood table and who recovered in a room in San Francisco General Hospital.
This blending of all that is here and now (joy, reversed), of all that came before (harvest), and of all that is possible (initiation), the artist finds themself searching for Runriket, Rune Kingdom, in the Swedish countryside. As they wander dirt paths among high grasses and towering pines, they return to Lake Ada in northern Minnesota when, as a child, their Swedish grandad built an octagon-shaped house. Tucked in a drawer in the artist’s kitchen is a rosette iron gifted to them by their grandad, which hasn’t been dipped in batter and placed in hot oil since before their grandad died.
These are the homes occupied by the artist in this here an now: a fireplace made of rocks taken from Lake Ada around which three generations, each further away from Sweden than the next, gather eating rosettes; a story about a wood table written by an artist other than the one who conjures about the gathering of peoples around a wood table; an uncomfortable hospital bed after a life-saving surgery made possible only because the artist’s ancestors died of AIDS; the runes, gifted by Swedish family of choice, cast this morning that virtually return the artist to the rune stone at Jarlabanke bridge in Täby, Sweden, through the world wide webs of the internet and dreams.
“This is the place! Right here!” Ram Dass wrote in Be Here Now, which sat on the artist’s bookshelf for a decade unopened.
Here and now, this page sits open.