December 4th, 2002

Chalkboard

A Silly Scary Dream About the End of the World and Acting.

Hi Everyone,

We're finally back. I just wanted to log in with a dream, then I'm off to do some work, and then later I'll come back and update my journal a bit.

I had flood dreams last night. On one side of the planet the sun was coming so close to the earth that you couldn't look up at the sky without blinding yourself, but on the other side of the planet you could. I was with friends, fellow actors, and I was looking at the ocean. The waves were terrifically high and there was terrible flooding everywhere. It took a while for me to get that it was just a matter of days before the flood waters would rise enough to destroy everything.



I am wandering around. I can only look at the sky if I look to the West. People are gathering at the beaches to look at these enormous swells.

I am on a film set of some kind. It seems strange, very spread out over several city blocks. Where are the crew and cameras? I see and recognize several of my friends. I am happy that they are all working -- happy for them, and happy that success is happening so close to home. If they are working, well, then why can't I?

A wacky friend of mine from days of running public access is here -- Bill Something, the balloon man. He was always such a funny guy, dry and grouchy, but wearing a vest covered with balloons. He'd get really high before he'd tape his show and then he'd come in and talk politics and philosophy while blowing up balloons and making balloon animals. He was really bad at making balloon animals. We hug happily -- a big embrace.

We are all of the people, who for whatever reason, have decided to stay behind rather than try to panic and flee. There just isn't enough time to try to find a way to survive this any more, and we have accepted our fate as much as we can. It seems as if it is just a matter of hours or possibly days before we will all die.

I am wandering around a building, looking in at people in their rooms. Most of the doors are open and I can see people preparing to meet their deaths. Some are planning suicide parties, some are planning to do it more quietly with a mate, some people are just pretending that it isn't happening, sitting in front of their televisions and spacing out. Still others are preparing to travel to higher ground, but we all know it is useless. It is too late.

I look in one room and see one of my all time favorite actresses, Gena Rowlands, with her daughter Zoe, sitting on a bed. We are old friends and they invite me in. Gena is reading old letters written to her by her husband John Cassavetes. She is reading one out loud where he is explaining men and philandering to her. She is smiling at this, wondering why in the face of such tragedy, she ever let it bother her so much. She would give anything to have him back again with her here. She and Zoe are just going to sit here and read letters and look at family photos until the end comes.

Other actors come to visit us. Linda Pearl drives up in a blue car. She was a famous TV actress in the seventies. She has such pretty blue eyes. I tell her how much I always liked her work, how beautiful she was when she was younger, and still is now. I am critiquing her work as an actor. I tell her that I think her vulnerability is what gave her such depth, that I admire that in her and that I think we have that in common. Other seventies actors are coming by and I am telling each of them what I think of them, complimenting everyone. Debra Winger is standing next to me and is hurt that I am not complimenting her. She asks why so I pick her up and swing her around in a circle and say, "Well, that's because you are younger. I'm only talking to actors from the seventies. Your time was in the eighties." She asks me if I can name her first movie. I am trying to remember which one it was. Was it an Officer and a Gentleman? Or was it something with John Travolta?

I am now in a car that Reese Witherspoon is driving. I am in the front passenger seat and we are taking a friend, another actor, to a house in one of the beach cities.

As we get closer to the house where he needs to go, it becomes apparent that the waves are making it too dangerous to go any closer to the shore. But Reese is determined to take him. She seems totally unmindful of the danger. The street we will have to drive down, to drop him off, is flooding with wave after wave of deep brown water. As we head down this street, going in the opposite direction of all of the people who are fleeing, I am becoming more alarmed, more afraid.

There are children running for higher ground, some are being swept along by the waters. I want to jump out of the car to help them but we are driving forward. The water is becoming deep but the car keeps moving forward. I am amazed that it doesn't stall and so worried that when it does we will be left too far down this hill, and to close to the shore, to be able to escape the waves.

The man we are dropping off is confused about where he needs to go. I keep telling him to hurry up, hoping he will make up his mind and we'll be able to turn and at least level off where we are, rather than going down closer and closer to the beach, where it is the most dangerous.

It occurs to me that I should be documenting this. I take out an expensive 35 mm camera and start to take pictures. We are heading straight for the beach and we don't seen to be stopping. I tell them that we have to turn around right now but they are ignoring me. I don't understand how this man can be so stupid and selfish in the face of all of this danger. I don't understand why Reese is so blindly determined to take this man right to the front door of his destination when he really shouldn't be going there at all.

Finally we turn around. We are heading back up the steep street we came down when a big wave approaches. It hits the car and washes me out. I am hanging on to the back bumper by something and they are pulling me along as they drive back up the street. I lose my camera and as much as I want to go back and get it, save my pictures, I know that it is lost to me and am sad about it.

They pull in to a parking lot of some kind and I am finally able to stand up. The waters have receded a bit in between swells. I am sloshing my way along a path and notice that there is a jay a big red jay bird in a tree. He is wet and shivering with cold. He can't fly or flap to dry himself off and looks as if he will die. No one is helping him. I climb up somehow and shake the tree and he falls on my back. I reach around and grab him and he doesn't protest.

I head back up towards the main highway, with my bird, on foot. I collect more birds as I travel and wind up with three. I make my way back to my childhood home. It seems clear that my parents are lost to us, that they won't survive to make it home. I go in to their master bedroom and put the birds down on the bed. The birds are so relieved to have somewhere dry, where they can stand and walk around.

I look out the wall to wall sliding glass window of their bedroom and I see the backyard of my girlhood. It is covered with mud and leaves from all of the flooding. Waters are sloshing towards the house even though it is set on a rise above the yard. Things have changed so much here since I was small. Half of the enormous back yard we used to have has been sold off and other houses have been built there. The party tent where my parents once held their glamorous pool parties has been enclosed and divided into several rooms that are being used to store things. I can see that one of them is filled with books.

Back in the living room there is a lot of commotion as a television crew is arriving. It is Good morning America. They are coming to film some sort of baking special in our kitchen but they have sent a crew ahead to remodel the kitchen, to replace the range and decorate everything. I can't believe they are doing this. Who is left to watch this? Who would want to? When will anyone ever be baking again? We are going to die, we are all going to die? Don't they know this?

Katie Couric is sitting on one of our couches with some assistants and staff people. I ask her why she is doing this. Is she oblivious to the danger? Doesn't she have some unfinished business, or some family of her own she would rather be with, than spend her last moments on earth here in our house filming a cooking segment? She tells me that they have all decided to go on as before because for some reason it feels easier to them, to pretend that things are the same as they always were. They would rather soldier on for the sake of their viewing audience who wish to remain in denial of the approaching cataclysm.

I tell her that I like to decoupage too, that I think I am pretty talented too, and then I turn and go back to my parents bedroom. The birds are looking happy and dry. They are fluffing out their wings. I love them so much. I hope my parents won't come home and see the bird droppings on their bed.


And that's about it for now...