Juliet Arcila Rojas
Faculty Instructor: Derek Owens
My House of Identity in My Dreams is not a made up story, but an actual dream I had. I wrote this because the day I woke up from this dream, despite how enthusiastic I was while telling the story, I couldn’t help but feel that I wasn’t getting the glory of the dream across to others. Dreams have a mysterious edge to them–a blanket of curiosity that covers their existence. Throughout the telling of my dream, I hope to reenact this same feeling.
Rebecca Quinn was an art teacher of mine. I went to visit an art gallery of hers in D.C. a few summers ago. She had been working with blind children and learning braille and had created a round “book”. The cover was made of cut steel; the paper she had made herself. She included many different materials with different textures all within the same color scheme. The link to this particular piece of hers is here:
I was inspired by this; my goal was to try and create a tactile book that accompanied the account of my dream. Because the dream that I had was so vivid, I decided that I would try and recreate it on paper for the multimedia phase of our ENG 1000c course. The “book” I created for the project was crafted out of different textured card stock paper, regular paper, ribbons, stickers, cloth, and glitter glue.
I want to give you a little bit of background on what was going on in my life when I had this dream during my junior year of high school. I was in a military boarding school at the time; bright colors were not exactly what the school was notorious for. Everything was uniform. Everything. Since we were a military boarding school we were placed into a corps, mimicking any other military formation. My wing was “Air Force;” at the time my role was to assist my own squadron, flight commanders, and support staff to make sure that we followed military standards. In addition to that, not only did I have to do it during the school day, but also at the end of the school day when half of the girls boarded in the dorms, myself included.
Because our two highest ranks in my squadron weren’t pulling their weight in and out of the dorm, my roommate and I had to pick up the slack on top of the jobs we were already in charge of doing (anyone familiar with how the military works knows that in a chain of command, jobs are separated accordingly; if you drop the ball, someone else carries that weight). Long story short, we were stressed. Very stressed. We were also applying for college at the time trying to pass our junior year with good GPA and SAT/ACT scores. You get the point.
We had a lot on our plate and picking up two higher ranking jobs along the way was not something we needed. We were in the middle of editing our college essays in my English class the week I had this dream. So with all the stress of playing two roles in our squadron and trying to be a normal kid just focusing on college and school, the end of the day was the most precious time of the day because that meant rest, at least for a few hours. One night, feeling rather lost and confused about life, I went to bed.
…propping myself up in bed, the warmth of my body is comforting, like warm bread at a restaurant or holding clean clothes fresh out of the dryer when you’re cold. Cinderella’s cozy-puffball-of-a-white-comforter skirt engulfs me. Warm. Cozy. Home. No sound. Silence. I open my eyes and the translucent yellow light hazily showers through the creamy cottage-sized, wooden-framed window in front of me and illuminates a dim morning light in the room. The walls are a soft olive green and the only other colors in this room are creamy whites and the dim translucent morning light. Suddenly a muffled sound in the distance starts: light souls…children. Laughter and giggles. They come closer, close enough to jump on my bed. Still laughing and giggling but the sound is still in the distance…muffled.
Looking around, I notice the room is not a normal sized room. There is enough room for the length of the bed and the creamy white wooden dresser in front of the bed. In between the bed and the dresser, the walking space could not be bigger than the width of a 5 year old. To the right there are bunk beds, same creamy wooden frame, same Cinderella-skirt-cozy-puffball-of-a-white-comforter bedding. I get up to walk outside. The children run past me to jump on their bunk beds in their soft white cloth nightgowns, the ones with the three buttons on top. The floor is a chocolate brown, wood. I turn to open the creamy white wooden door in front of me with the golden brass doorknob.
I place one foot out the bedroom door and onto a vanilla flavored carpet washing into the vanilla flavored walls. There is a chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Odd, seeing that the ceiling is like 20 feet tall. The light was so bright I couldn’t even make out the glass design making up the style of the chandelier. Walking down this hallway I pass the light even getting closer all I see is light, almost blinding. Almost. Putting my hand on the glossed wooden railing I walk down the stairs. Where you would expect an opening for a dinning room, living room, and family room, there are just opaque holes blocking the entrances. There is just an opening for a kitchen.
I walk in, still trying to figure out where I’m going, and see a friend from school and my aerospace instructor in his coaching uniform. The floors are made of a sunny, orange-tomato-roasted ceramic tile. Matching the marble island where Libby and Master Sergeant French are sitting. They are eating popsicles. They offered me a popsicle…in my own house? My friend goes towards the freezer to hand me one. I take it, have a couple laughs…then more laughing comes from outside.
There are French doors behind me that lead to the backyard. I’m curious to see who else is in the house, because I don’t remember inviting anyone in- or having a party for that matter. A healthy green grass yard surrounded by a tall brown wooden fence and a tall blow-up pool I didn’t even know I owned. I see people I know, but had never hung out with. Acquaintances would be more appropriate because they are not really friends. I walk back into the house wanting to find out anything else about this place…this house…my house? I walk pass the underside of the deck and back through the French doors, passing Libby and Master Sergeant French in the kitchen, right back under the arched plaster wall opening of the kitchen, and back up the stairs. Looking up the spiral staircase I see the light again. It’s so reassuring and I’m not sure why.
Reaching the top of the stairs there is a cut in the wall that I didn’t notice before. It’s a room in the shape of a triangle and I’m at the base of it. It is almost like a corner was cut out and made right in the middle of the wall. Looking into the room there is nothing but a window on one of the sides of this triangle and a couch. It looks like a Victorian themed couch for two or three people, but it’s like a turquoise/aqua/blue color material, silk it looks like. I didn’t get close enough to touch anything. I just look in from the opening of the room, the base. I turn to my right because it looks like the hallway goes on more. Walking a few feet more I run into what looks like a wooden billboard. It’s a plywood wall. Curious, I look around it to see if it is hiding anything; looking behind it I see nothing. Just another wall that looks like it is going to be knocked down soon, or so I assume. Taking a step back to see how big the plywood is, I notice that it has a picture taking up the entire piece of wood. It’s a room, a master bedroom?
This room is grey, a soft light grey, elegant. Everything is grey as a matter of fact. Soft grey carpet. Against the left wall is a small rectangle accent table with iron legs. Above it a rectangle mirror with a matte silver frame. Looking at the center of the picture there is a bed, grey bedding with comforting pillows with three arched French windows behind it allow me to see the tree leaves. As I study the beauty of the picture further it starts to seem as if the picture were real, almost as if I could walk right in. Unsure if I really can or can’t walk into it, I look around the plywood wall again. The wall that was behind it before is not gone and in its place is the room in the picture. The plywood wall moves like a secret bookcase and I walk in. Walking in, it has that new car feeling to it. This time there is something different about the room. There is a grey plaster wall in front of where the bed would be–it does not stretch from wall to wall, just enough to cover the bed. Against that wall there is another accent table to match the other one on the left; this table has a remote control on it. I walk towards it, curious as to what it could be to because there is no electronic appliance in the room? I pick up the remote and notice that there is something behind the wall; it’s the bed I saw in the picture. I walk around to the side of the bed. Still curious about the remote I press a random button on it. The wall starts to disappear, as if it were never there to begin with. I press the button again and the wall reappears. I think to myself for a moment–what use does that have? Is it because only I have the power to allow others to see my bed when they come into my room? Of course, only I have the ability to show my bed to those I am comfortable introducing it to, but a wall to hide it? Interesting choice…
Waking up from this dream, I didn’t think anything of it at first, but the more I thought about it the more things started to make sense. What stuck out to me the most were the rich colors and the amount of light that was shed throughout the various rooms of the house. I was excited about what I had dreamt about, so I shared it with my roommate as soon as we woke up for school. She told me to write it down, but a dream like this, there was no need. How do you forget a dream so vivid as this one?