My Pretty Place: Inside Geranium Blooms

Daniela and the Hypnotist. She sits on a couch and flowers her dress over her folded legs. 

Hypnotist: Look at it this way… [Overlap] Daniela: I want erotic dreams.
Daniela: [To the audience] My life coach, a certified hypnotist, offers The MythoSelf Workshop for Personal Transformational Change Work.
[To the Hypnotist] I dreamed that hair grows on my hands, like corn silk, like bird down, but a lot, a lot. I pull out fistfuls and it immediately grows back. As if I’m at an exhibition opening, people chatting with wine glasses in hand while I pull all that hair. Then I’m at my parents’ home, and it’s dark, the house is full of some animals also covered with feather down though they aren’t supposed to have feathers, they are like small puppies. My sister shrugs her shoulders, ‘This is how it happens.’ [Desperately] ‘Since when?’ ‘Since our parents travel.’ ‘When do they return?’ ‘Soon.’ ‘What will they say about these animals covered in down? Look at my hands. You’re a family doctor!’ She shrugs again. I can’t keep up with the corn silk down, pulling fistfuls! It still grows, still grows...
Hypnotist: Relax. Follow my pen with your eyes. Now close your eyes, you’re unable to open them. Go deeper and deeper into your subconscious. Count backwards from 10. Let your arms go limp. Breathe deeply. Feel tingling in your body.
Daniela: [To the audience] What if he starts masturbating?! I barely know this guy. [Closes her eyes]
I dreamed that patches of grass and barnacles grow on my soles and I keep on pulling them out and they grow even faster. I run through the village, where I grew up, on a path down into the valley and a woman stops me, ‘I can heal you.’ She pulls the entire grass from my feet. I’m so ashamed I have grass on my soles. She rubs medicinal alcohol on them, snuggles me under a down comforter. She gets into the bed too, but I jump out repulsed. She mocks me, ‘Come now, don’t be afraid, I won’t touch you.’ I run away but that makes my feet stop healing.
Hypnotist: Hands, makers of things, not controlled by your will. Instead of pulling out the corn silk why not put fertilizer on it, be welcoming to it? What are feet? Locomotion, move away, move forward, immigration.
Daniela: Maybe my feet are trying to become roots, rooted. What if I let the roots grow? Get rooted? [Ironical] Come on…
Hypnotist: Instead of resisting, yield to it, even encourage it, find joy in your immigration. Focus on the future, dwell not on the past.
Daniela: Oh, I’m stuck in my perpetual dream in which I’m stuck back in Transylvania, wanting to escape to America with my son at a young age, and my mother puts obstacles in my way, either she's the one with the money, or she withholds our airplane tickets, or there is no one to drive us to the airport, but the dream always ends in the same way: gasping, we get into the airplane, and I wake up, my heart boom! boom! booming! If I get to live as long as my granny, I’ll have this dream for 40x365=14,600 times. Can you help me? It's dreary. I want erotic dreams, not nightmares.
Hypnotist: We’ll work on unblocking you.
Daniela: I’m blocked in so many ways. I’ve made lots of lovely cushions. I pile them up in the living room and can’t manage to sell them. I’ve blocked my hallway with the bag full of polyester fluffy pillow stuffing, which seems to grow, the more I take out of it, the more the fluff expands, so my home is barricaded. But from whom?
Hypnotist: I want your arms to become totally relaxed.
[He holds her hand. He drops it on her thigh.]
Hypnotist: One, two, three, four, go deeper and deeper into your relaxation. Your body becomes heavier and heavier.
Daniela: It’s so heavy, my muscles peel off the bones! [Giggles] They’ll drop to the floor in a mound!
Hypnotist: Go to the place where you feel best and you like yourself most. What will you call it? Let’s create a trigger so you can hypnotize yourself on the subway.
Daniela: The pretty place. I’m in a grass field in my hometown, by the woods edge. It’s sunny summer, light wind, wild flower fragrance. I slumber in the grass perfecting my suntan. I’m 17. My hair is huge, it flutters in the wind.
Hypnotist: You’re growing younger and younger, a child now, curious about things, curious about yourself.
Daniela: I’m 4 or 5 in my prim little girl cotton dress picking wild flowers in the grass field by the train canton. The grass is taller than I am.
Hypnotist: Become even younger, before you were even born.
Daniela: [Grumbles] Forget about it. My hands are so very heavy, my feet are so very very heavy, like cast iron, really heavy.
Hypnotist: Observe when the inhalation turns into exhalation. The place where being turns into not-being, where not-being turns into being.
Let your creations take off, like baby birds flee the nest, respect your creations. They were given to you, they pass thru you but have to go to others. Let them have their own life, go away, be they pillows or your son, who will soon go to college. Trust that they will father themselves, even if some only after you’re dead, just let them fly away like birds.
Daniela: I see pelicans that can’t find fish anymore, pray on another colony of birds, the parents are out fishing, while the pelicans steal the baby birds, the fledglings disappear in their enormous, sagging beaks, skinny baby legs convulse out of the pelicans' closed beaks. I see little baby flamingos, stuck in the mud and dying, or baby elephants trampled upon by stupid mommy elephants. [To the Hypnotist] Please, scramble me out of this monstrous pretty place!
I need erotic dreams. My pretty places, my paradises, always get smeared, invaded by some ugly nutty monstrosity. When I was 17 I’d go every day into the woods. The fragrance, the quiet, the light and shadows, the thick bed of dry leaves and twigs and fir tree needles, the forest tall above me. One day a stupid pimply boy on my street followed me. He tried to rape me but I kicked his ass and I ran away.
I stopped going to my forest.
I don’t want any more dreams with my mom. I dreamed about my potted flowers. The Christmas cactus has grown a bushy branch but it is the color of cabbage and the leaves are small and many, but it’s as big as my geranium. Suddenly it grows limp. I search frightened to see why, when a nasty Limax snail slug comes out from a hole in the ground, darts like lightning and flees. Mother fucker Limax, you’ve destroyed my flower! I hope it will recover now, but it doesn’t. I pour water into the hole and a second disgusting slimy Limax purplish brown darts out running. [She takes again the hypnosis position.]
Hypnotist: [Drones] Your eyelids get relaxed and you can't open them.
Daniela: [She does open them] I know how I’ll call my hypnosis pretty place: I want to go into my geranium blooms, on the kitchen windowsill my red fresh geranium so red, red and profuse, that's where I want to go always, into my geranium blooms.
Hypnotist: Very well, then. Relax your face muscles and chest and arms. Become yourself, for the geranium is but a geranium, when the sugar and sap travels in the stem to make her bloom, she won't turn into a tulip, she won't turn into a lilac, no, the geranium blooms into a geranium. Like the acorn is an acorn and gives birth to an oak tree, and all it can turn into or do is be an acorn in all its acorness, and an oak in all its oakness...
Daniela: [Opens one eye.] God, give me a break! It's not quite working. Your droning is like an assembly-line guru voice. Maybe you could use your deeper tones instead of this mechanized, conveyor belt, I’m-hypnotizing-an-entire-factory droning? Should I go back to my acorness?
Hypnotist: [In a baritone voice] No. At the count of 3 you’ll feel a surge of rejuvenation and wake up filled with energy.
Daniela: A baritone in all its baritonness.
Hypnotist: 1, 2, 3! Wake up.
Daniela: This won't happen! My feet and hands are made of heavy clods and I can't move them, will you prod me? Will you poke me? Pretty please.
Hypnotist: No, at the count of 3 you will wake up by yourself. 1, 2, 3.
Daniela: Man, my feet are nailed to the floor! My hands are nailed to my thighs.
[His phone alarm rings. She moves awaken.]
Hypnotist: Each time you talk about what you don’t like, you lean your neck and head to my left. But when you talk about things you like you change your posture, look to my right and you straighten up, and brighten up. I want you to keep to my right.
Daniela: Well, then move to the right.
Hypnotist: It’s not about me moving to the right. It’s on you to stay to the right, in that desired life, in the things you love, the life you want. Just be, don’t construct scenarios, just be, knowing that you are very attractive.
Daniela: [To the audience] Hear, hear.
Hypnotist: In a few days, perhaps over the weekend, you’ll come to an understanding of what has just happened and you will regain your balance, allow yourself to become yourself.
Daniela: I want poise and balance.
Hypnotist: We’ll get you there, even if you’re on a New York subway. You can reset yourself, go to the pretty place and reboot yourself like a computer. I want you to make that good life for yourself. [Exits.]
Daniela: [To the audience] When I go home there are profuse pink blossoms in the trees by my building. Two years ago they planted one million trees, and today they’ve bloomed for the first time. I tell each of them I love you, so they know they are loved.
Over the weekend I had my first erotic dream in ages. Well, close enough. I never had such a dream before. I slept 13 hours and I woke up with a back-pain.
I was in a hotel elevator trying to catch up with my employer's group in a conference room. I was not eager. I felt ill equipped for the job, didn't know exactly my job description, I was like a gofer Friday girl, they were bossing me around and it was a boring job. Anyway, I caught up with them, they were taking places at the conference table, my boss was in a suit and the other team was Donald Sutherland and his entourage, he wore an elegant suit and a white shirt, unbuttoned. His hair was longish, white. I enjoyed looking at him. I don't know what were they negotiating, but then somehow the situation shifted, Donald Sutherland was holding me in his arms like in a slow dance and he was soft and caring and wistful and he said, “I can't keep up with your delicious, extraordinary wit, Ella,” and I smiled and I felt in my body something I never felt before, and I was startled and I said to myself perhaps this is what the hypnotist is talking about I am to feel when I am with a man. Weird.
Then things got hectic, the conference broke up, I was to go, fetch, arrange, while my heart was filled with Donald Sutherland, and how I must tell him, I must keep in touch with him, I must relocate! And as if I was in front of an entire theater audience in London performing a one-woman show and oh, was I fantastic. And I was wondering how would my life with Donald Sutherland be? Like slow dancing? And then things got even more hectic. I was trying to track him down to pass him a letter written in pencil on a school copy book page! In it was my number and email, and I was asking some of the hotel personnel where did he go. A woman said he had enough of conferencing and went for a walk. Anyway, I didn't manage to give him my note.
Then I woke up in my dream at my parents' home because a beige hand-phone was shouting my mother's distressed voice, how my father needed help because she was away drowned in snow, so much snow had fallen on the villages where she was, and my father's cable wires will melt because the phone or something hot fell on the wires and that was a major tragedy for my family, and I said, “Alright, alright.” I went into the other room and my father was under a feather duvet and he was crying that a young guy from his work place at the collective farm died and he was so young, and he was crying my father. My sister, or my son, young kids, were under the other duvet wanting to play with me. I said to my father harshly, “What can one do, tragedies happen, may the man rest in peace, we have to take care of his TV cable wires, that will be a major tragedy not to have TV service!” So I urged him to get out of bed and look for his wires because I was busy with my own quest for Donald Sutherland. As if I met him at his hotel room and he hold me again or I was just remembering how he hold me while slow dancing.
Then I went to my mom uphill on snowy village roads and I told her, “Mom, have you seen the movie last night on TV?” “No,” she says, she was busy with rescuing people in the village from the deluge. “Well, Mom, I was in the entire movie several times, and I had a smasher scene with Donald Sutherland, and Mom he is the most kind and poetic gentleman ever.” Mom says, “Oh, I know him. We were at the cinema and I sat behind him and I asked him if Constantin Niţu was dead or what had happened to him?” Niţu was a Romanian actor movie star who ran away under communism but his acting career didn't work out abroad. His talent useless abroad.
Anyway, I was saying, “Mom, you don't understand, I like Donald Sutherland.”
Mom was prattling away, so frustrated I woke up with a back-pain.
I don't know what's all this about. I have some pointers: I watched recently a DVD with Donald Sutherland having back-pain and no penis, like in that Hemingway book, and he had a massage therapist who eased his back-pain.
When I met in real life Donald Sutherland on a movie set in Budapest, we were in the makeup trailer. He made fun of my Russian whore make up, the film was about Chikatilo, a serial killer in the USSR, and he was a commissar and I was a Russian whore, a possible victim. The film was Citizen X for HBO shot in Hungary. And Donald Sutherland saw his joke didn't go down well with me, and he came back promptly to apologize, with an earnest face, that he meant no harm.
But that was 17 years ago! And I didn't feel anything in my body for Donald Sutherland back then!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

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