Monday, April 27, 2009


I had a really nice dream last night. I woke at 2 a.m. and lay a while, trying to memorize the dream. But it's fading fast.

I was approached by two young women, aspiring writers, because I am a writer. I talked to one first, then she left, and the second one approached me. I was trying very hard to be encouraging, to share what I know about writing, my belief in the importance of writing.

The first young woman came back, and the second left, angry because she no longer had my full attention. The first was giving me a ride. We ended at a party in the studio of an art professor, I think at the University of Minnesota. It was a series of large rooms with very high ceilings. An Eames arm chair was in one corner, next to a humidifier, since the wood was splitting.

One of people at the party decided to explain to me what an Eames arm chair was. I said, "I know. We had one when I was a child."

There were paintings or drawings on the walls, very large and simply tacked up, covered with sheets of clear plastic. The professor had written on the plastic in large letters, describing when she had bought the work of art and why and how she'd gotten the money to pay for it. So you were looking at the art through a description of its acquisition. This amazed me, because it was a very casual way to treat art that was both good and valuable.

The people at the party were the professor's art students, very bright and passionate about art.

After a while the art professor came in, and I was introduced to her. When I said my name was Eleanor Arnason, she said "Ah," and her eyes opened wide, which meant that she recognized my name and knew my father's work in art history.

The party was very pleasant. I sat on sagging, beat-up furniture and listened to young people talk about art and felt very comfortable.

The art on the walls was from the 1950s -- the era when I was growing up. The art professor, who was in her 40s, was far too young to have bought this when it was affordable.

This is not entirely true. Only the most famous Abstract Expressionists are expensive. The rest are very affordable. But I am pretty sure I remember an Arshile Gorky, which would not be affordable; and an artist her age would be unlikely to buy second and third rank 50s artists.

I was remembering my childhood and my father and the people he knew, who were bright and articulate and passionate about art and who were the world's avant garde at the time, the people doing the art that went into the history books.

I was also remembering that I was a writer.

Anyway, a very comfortable and comforting dream. After five years spent at a small arts nonprofit, where my job was to worry about money, not art, it was very pleasant to remember art.


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