Monday, January 05, 2009

My Dream Catcher

Ever since I was a little girl, my sleep has been fraught with nightmares. I am regularly awaken by my very own screams. So I was more than delighted when a friend gave me this Navajo dream catcher - pinned up above my bed, it will intercept nightmares in its net.
Its design however is so exquisite that I think I may also wear it as a pendant, on a longish and very thin silver chain...

Coincidentally, Dream Catcher is the title of a book I have just read, Margaret Salinger's memoir of her father, the recluse J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher In The Rye among others; a moving and tender book, it also taught me much about the USA's chilling antisemitism in the early 20th century.
I am also about to finish have just finished reading the infamous At Home In The World, in which Joyce Maynard betrays a most elementary, unspoken and sacred rule of relationships, keeping what's private private. If Maynard's relationship had not been with with Salinger, I doubt anyone would be interested in this endless, blandly written account of her life. I feel guilty about having read it, and it's not even the guilty pleasure of reading a gossip column...
J.D. Salinger turned 90 on January 1.

30 comments:

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Your nightmares sounds very difficult. You might try acupuncture; traditionally it deals with such issues. Franny and Zooey is my fav Salinger book, have you read it? I am almost done with Man who Painted, but keep skipping ahead to see what happened, then going back to catch the time line; very undisciplined.

karina Manghi said...

I have a dream catcher and as a child I had nightmares almost everyday.
I can not believe how much you read, I am vey in love with Carson McCullers "the member of the wedding"

Mary-Laure said...

D. MOLL - I had never heard of acupuncture for nightmares, thanks for the info; I'll research it.
Of course I read Franny & Zooey. I like it very much; it always cracks me up when Zooey's in his bath and his mum Bess keeps on barging in... Actually, I read Zooey many times; it's my favorite part of the book.
Enjoy the Vermeer book!

KARINA - I'm not surprised you like Carson McCullers... It's very you.

Candace said...

I, too, sleep with a dream catcher watching over me at night. It was made and given to me by my girlfriend's daughter, Debbie.

It hasn't stopped my nightmares or my night screams, which are infrequent, most thankfully.

The first couple of nights, after your arrival, I could hear your night screams and wanted so much to rush in and silence them and comfort you.

Should you suffer night screams again while I am there, I would rather break down the door than have you go it alone.

Do you remember anything about the nightmares?

Do you have any idea regarding what it is that is causing you such distress and making you scream?

Annie said...

I first learned about dream catchers, here in NM. I love J.D Salinger, and "Catcher in the Rye" is one of my favorite books of all time.

Candace said...

Ummm...

I have no idea why it is that so many of my posts are showing up as linked to this particular post, Mary-Laure.

I did update my blog format today and republished my entire blog including my posts due to the template changes.

My apologies to both you and your readers for what might appear to be a royal job of spamming!

Mary-Laure said...

CANDACE - maybe next time you're in the Cove I can tell you more about my nightmares. I started having very violent and haunting nightmares when I was living in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war - between the ages of 5 and 8. I still have many dreams about the war, and war-related themes such as the Holocaust, though my family is not Jewish and was thus spared from the horrors of World War 2.

ANNIE - it's funny because the friend who gave me the dream catcher brought it back from New Mexico...
I too love the Catcher In The Rye, and I read it many times. It never fails to move me and make me laugh - "it kills me", as Holden would say.

MISS GLITZY said...

I really like the idea that if you believe in it, the dream catcher can actually help you with your bad dreams.

Elena said...

When my dear friend was dying I decided I'd get a tattoo for him. I have a large dream catcher on my forearm for him. I hoped it would bring him to me in my dreams.

l'air du temps said...

it's been my dream to take a seat in a literary course again (my undergrad degree is in economics). when i pop in on your blog i get the sense that my literary hunger for learning is touched... thanks a bunch!

the dream catcher is such a good idea... wishing you smiley dreams...

Candace said...

Mary-Laure: It's no wonder that you suffer from nightmares. You were at a very impressionable age and dealing with violent times that probably made your parents feel terribly insecure and frightened as well.

Even when others do their best to protect children from negative emotions, those emotions bleed through to a certain degree.

You must have internalized a lot of the fear and insecurity that you experienced during those times.

Oh, how Dr. Candace runs at the mouth!

Elena: A dream catcher tattoo to help bring a loved one back to you in your dreams is both magical and moving.

Mary-Laure said...

ELENA - what a beautiful idea, to have the dream catcher tattooed on your arm as a way to invite your dying friend into your dreams... I hope it worked...

AIR DU TEMPS - your comment really meant a lot to me; it is one of my goals, on this blog, to share my enthusiasm about books and hopefully get some readers excited about what I'm sharing.
So thanks. A lot.

Gabbi said...

Mary-Laure, your nightmares sound horrible. That was really nice of your friend to send you a dream-catcher. I have strange dreams sometimes and I often talk in my sleep but I rarely remember them. I don't know how I would handle the type of dreams you're describing...

I've yet to read Franny and Zooey, but now that I've read about Zooey and his mom from your comments I'm going to have to. :)

Hila said...

I so agree with that basic premise of keeping private things in relationships private - I'm constantly amazed that people I barely know expect me to tell them the most intimate details of my relationship simply because we happen to be chatting at a party over a glass of wine. My theory is: if I don't tell my mother, I don't tell you :)

I also used to have horrible nightmares when I was little, which were mainly connected to that horrible bomb-shelter we used to have in our old apartment in Israel, so I can empathise Mary-Laure.

Georgia B. said...

lovely blog. glad i found it via your comment on mine. thank you for stopping by.

how interesting that you grew up in Kenya. my sister dated someone who was born and raised there.

i saw you are an Elizabeth Bennett, as well. i was too. :)

well, "lovely to meet you" i would love to stop back some time—often.

-Georgia

Mary-Laure said...

GABBI - I hope you like Zooey. It tells the story of Zooey in his bath, trying to find some quiet to read an old letter from his brother. It's funny AND moving.

HILA - Ha, I love your theory! Mine is: if I wouldn't want my boyfriend to share that kind of info with HIS friends, I'm not sharing it with MINE.
Isn't it terrible how we will always be haunted by our childhood war experiences? I can't imagine what it must be like for those who, unlike me, were truly hurt by the war.
Also, when I see how haunted I am with the Holocaust (and the gulag - must stop reading Solzhenitsin), though neither are connected to my personal family history, I wonder what it must be like for those who actually went through it, or whose loved ones went through it.
I hope you find some peace of mind in beautiful Australia.

GEORGIA - I'm delighted you found my blog, too. I am going to celebrate Barack Obama's inauguration with some posts about Kenya later this month, so stay tuned!

Candace said...

Hila: I so agree with your comments about honoring privacy within relationships. Confidences are an act of trust and not to be taken for granted.

Even after her death, I have kept the private remarks of one of my close friends in safekeeping. It is, I believe, as she would have wanted it.

It is sacred when someone shares their guarded secrets with you, and I was honored that my friend entrusted me with that gift.

I cannot say that I was as trustworthy when I was younger. Thankfully, I am wiser now and have learned what it means to be trust-worthy.

Mary-Laure: I so admire your ability to devour books and to remember their content! Is it a talent that can be taught? :)

A World in a PAN said...

THis is a beautiful object airy and delicate. Keep it away from Benjy, he might think of himslef as a bird catcher!

Francesca Righi said...

Dream-catchers!
I have one too! they are very pretty with those feathers and beads.
I'm sorry you have nightmares! I sometimes dream really weird things too but I can't exactly call them nightmares.. thank goodness those are very rare to me :) but other times I dream adventures or great stories,I love to jot down my dreams in a notebook I have.. when I go back and read them I remember them as a movie!
xx

yiqin; said...

Hmm I really gav to look for this book & read it~

pve design said...

Ah, dreams are wonderful but nightmares, no.
Try to avoid meat and sugar, I was told that they bring on nightmares.
How does Benji sleep?
LOVE Salinger.

Dave King said...

Incredibly, it looks very like a rainmaker a friend of mine inherited from her missionary father. Fabulous object.

Named Alicia said...

How pretty! Thanks for sharing! I agree with Candace. It's no wonder you suffer from nightmares. I pray you can get some relief.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yours is lovely!

J Elaine said...

I feel so left out. I have never heard of a dream catcher. It is a lovely object and I do hope that it summons restful sleep for you, dear Marie-Laure.

Mary-Laure said...

CANDACE - just look for books you enjoy and you'll be surprised how fast you read them.

FRANCESCA - I heard it's very good to write down your dreams. I wish I had the patience.

PVE - well, I'm already a vegetarian, but I couldn't possibly live without sugar.
Benjy sleeps well, with the occasional pup snore, and keeps my feet warm.

DAVE - I'd love to hear more about the rainmaker. Do you know where your friend's father brought it back from?

JEN - oh Jen, don't feel left out! :)

Laura said...

I totally believe in the power of the dream catcher. Happy New Year sweetie!

I nominated you for the Honest Scrap blogger award. Come take a look. :)

Mary-Laure said...

LAURA - awwwww, thank you!!!! I'm thrilled.

mansuetude said...

i love this, "it's not even the guilty pleasure of reading a gossip column..." and your dream connection to the Holocaust--i have also had some strange seed memory of that time, and have to be careful not to touch it too much. I think we can link to all the raw pain of humanity somehow.

Anonymous said...

Sorry that you have the nighmares....(N.'s grandmother was Native..) although a dreamcatcher do not help him at all. ;)
nancyxx

Rebekah said...

Oh, it's beautiful. I'm sorry you wrestle with nightmares though. I will pray that you have peaceful and restful sleep at night. Have a great day! :)