Blogging The Dead

I am wondering if the time has come for me to give this blog a rest. I had a dream last night that I was blogging a dead body. The dream persisted with its maddening reiterations as I tossed and turned in misery. This dead body, which at one point, I felt was someone's father, was requiring respectful disposal. I, however, contrary to everything that I would wish for any deceased, was instead finding myself compelled to blog it.

I could actually see the posts going up day after day with images of the stiff body lying on the floor, or the body chopped up like souse in a big, iron pot, or the body morphing into a tree trunk that had been sawed in half... This madness went as far as my debating whether the wrongness of my actions would be lessened by the addition of sauce or parsley to the presentations of the body.

Through all of this, I could hear the persistent whimpering ("gweeking" is the word I usually use to describe the sound) of my dog who sleeps at the side of my bed. He usually makes these complaints when he is uncomfortable or upset by something. His fussing entered the dream and I concluded that he was aware of the cadaver and was disturbed by its presence and scent. Tonnerre!!

When I finally wrested myself from that dream and the bed, I came straight to the computer to write my farewell post and found that overnight, the monitor display had mysteriously become rotated ninety degrees to the left. I had to rest my head on my left shoulder to go on the Internet and find the solution (ctrl-alt-up arrow did the trick). Additional proof, I concluded, that I should put some distance between myself and bloggery.

Can anyone out there interpret dreams? I've had some messed up dreams in my life but this one was too disturbing and I am wondering why it would target the blog.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!


GirlBlue said...

I don't know why a recent post I read which led me to this link came to mind when I read this.

Time to step back and away when it starts to manifest itself in dreams methink

Guanaguanare said...

Dear GirlBlue, thanks much for the link and the advice. I've started to read the pamphlet and I am swinging between laughter and taking it very seriously. No, this is too funny to be true...but what if it is true, then it's not funny at all.

Maximilian C. Forte said...

This is a fascinating blog. I don't actually read it as often as I like, or should, even though I subscribe to both your RSS feed and receive posts by email. But everytime I come back here some new gem awaits my reading.

Allow me my comments on your dream, since there is a tremendous "coincidence" here. It seems that Roi Kwabena has touched us both, and other Trinidadian bloggers too (two that I know of with some certainty). It seems that both you and I have been blogging in memory of Roi Kwabena, and I have heard the great music you added to the Indigenous Caribbean Network--thanks again for joining. Recently I decided to honour Roi's memory on another blog as well, Open Anthropology, where I credit him with inspiring me to think about what a future anthropology could look like, and I have a little memorial to him permanently affixed to my sidebar.

I believe that your dream is about Roi's body, and his spirit. This is what Roi, and of course many others, call remembering the ancestors. Roi frequently remembered the ancestors on his own blogs, like his post about "Ancestor Andre Tanker" when he died. I believe this dream is a good sign, and a sign of that tradition.

There was a cannibalistic element to your dream as well. Now, I have to be careful here, as I certainly do not want to add any weight to the myths of Carib cannibalism. At least on the mainland though, a number of nearby Amazonian groups engaged in ritual cannibalism as part of funerary rituals, as a means of coping with grief (as anthropologist Beth Conklin has written), where one consumes a small part of an ancestor's body to preserve, perpetuate, and absorb part of that person's spirit. This element of your dream only reinforces the idea of remembering a spirit, and it may also be what some indigenous peoples in the Americas believe is a "body memory"--the body remembering practices from ages ago. I say this since you have also identified your own indigenous heritage, even recently in a reply to Elspeth Duncan that I just read. By the way, thanks for your recent dedication, I was extremely touched by that.

Incidentally, I not only find that there is nothing objectionable or morally reprehensible about funerary/ritual cannibalism, I think it is extremely touching. Would I engage it in myself? Probably, if this were allowed here. Unfortunately, so many of my family and relatives have passed on that this might not even practical, especially as they are spread out across continents.

So do not be depressed, this was a great dream in my view. Roi is making us into his spirit blows.

Thanks so much for the gift of your blogging.

Guanaguanare said...

Thank you for visiting and for your
very, very kind words. You have caused me to look at this dream in a different light. I was upset because of what I had been doing to the body. It just didn't seem right, but when I revisit the dream, I realise that the body itself never complained about being used in this way. I was just so disturbed by what I saw as my disrespect.

It is a form of consumption, I suppose, to use any subject matter as fodder for blog posts, so maybe at that level I was consuming the corpse. But I am really reluctant to associate Roi with this dream because it would mean that I accept the implication that he is dead and I will never believe this.

I can only admit that I have really wished to internalize his benevolent spirit so that he is no longer external but my indwelling muse. If this is what you mean by cannibalism then yes, I have tried to eat him...alive.

blackgirl on mars said...

My father's birthday is April 21st and your entry made me get up from my ass and look on his death certificate to find that piece of information out because it is something I have been walking around meaning to do because one of the things I must do is build an alter for the memory of my father--the other thing I wanted to do was to commemorate his birthday on my blog. I haven't done either of these things. My father died (or committed suicide?) in the streets of Brooklyn. I asked that his body be cremated and my mother mailed the remains to me, here in Denmark. I had my father's ashes with me, in my closet for 2 years because I didn't know what to do with it. I felt safe with them here with me. Finally, in 2004, I returned to Brooklyn with my son and scattered his ashes in Prospect Park. I have fond memories of him there and it is a neighborhood he loved. I do always wonder though, if I should have taken him back to Trinidad...a place he said himself, he never wanted to return...
This is what your dream makes me think of.
Thanks for your presence,
the lab

Guanaguanare said...

Forgive me, I'm sleeptalking.

No, don't be uneasy about what you decided for your father. Some people leave very clear instructions about where and how it should be done but you knew only what he didn't want, so I believe that you made the best decision that you could.

Did you know that Roi always wanted to return eventually to Trinidad? "And yes, I wish in Trinidad to end my days, if I may..." he said in "Cascadura". And he also wanted to be buried there. Do you think about what you'd want for yourself. If you already know, tell someone else so that those remaining behind won't have the doubts you are having now.

For me it doesn't matter where my physical remains are deposited. My spirit would be glad at last just to ayo and be free.

I will continue my response to this comment by e-mail.

Elspeth said...

Sometimes we need to step away to come back (or not, as the case may be):

Guanaguanare said...

Excerpt from Part V of the First Quartet "Burnt Norton" from T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets".

For Elspeth

"Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.
Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,
Not that only, but the co-existence,
Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
And the end and the beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now. "

tennischick said...

the dream is about disrespect. either you have been feeling disrespected or your conscience is flogging you because you disrespected someone. in any event, there is a need for reparation. unearth the wrong and deal with it face on without cowardice (whimpering).

the blog was the context of the dream but thankfully dreams are never that literal. keep writing man.

Guanaguanare said...

Thanks for your comment, tennischick. You have given me something to think about.