Featured on Naelle Devannah’s blog!

Naelle Devannah is a long time friend whom I met about a decade ago on deviantART. (Well, here she found me.)

She an all-around loveable person, anyone can confirm it. But we became friends immediately because of our mutual admiration. This is how I first started getting to know her, her visual art. I felt a kinship with her because of our similar circumstances (isolated goth girls from “the country,” creatures of the web) and our love for the aesthetic contrast of darkness and bold, bold color. (A tropical symptom, I suppose).

Visit her site, there’s lots to love that will keep your eyes busy for days.

I asked for her feedback on Stars Like Fish (which is printed on the back of the book) because I knew she would understand. Our imaginations are neighboring lands.

We plug each other often, but yet, I was beyond flattered to have a space in her blog (which is quote popular!)

This is part of her series “Getting to Know…” – where she asks personalized questions to artists of all kinds, giving an in-depth look into their intentions, motivations and personality.


Photo by Naelle Devannah.

She also took some really fabulous photos of the insides of my books.

Here’s an excerpt:


You work with a combination of painterly words, photography and illustration. What’s your perception of the term visual art? What can you foresee in future creative generations?

Maybe my “painterly words” are my frustration… I know my writing is very visual. When I discovered photo editing, I got the same satisfaction as I did describing scenes. Illustration, you flatter me so, but yes, I like to doodle.
My perception of visual art is something arcane and academic that I am only vaguely familiar with and learn about through people like you and observing what they do… perhaps it shouldn’t be, but having spent so many years in academia can make you a little insecure before talking about something without a theoretical background. However, and this is a total contradiction, visual art is, at the same time, something so accessible to absolutely anyone with properly functioning eyes… we can interpret images as signs, in a manner that they should say something, or ask us something, but then again, we can also just enjoy something beautiful or ugly for what it is. So I guess I shift from one starting point to the other, depending on what’s comfortable at the moment. You can either have a long conversation about a piece of art, or write a long paper about it, or just like it. And I guess the same goes for the creation of visual art… you might transmit, transgress, transcend, or just make something.


Poetics of Dream Translation 3

This was the last part of my conference, see during which a handful of people from the audience shared recurrent dreams.

Rene Magritte – The Explanation

When I translated the dreams in that chapter of SLF, nurse which were collected years later for the book, my only intention was to write for the sake of writing. I have a habit of reflecting upon my dream content to better understand my current state of mind in my waking life, so this exercise of writing down dreams was a way of doing so. Since I had been publishing them online, friends and readers reacted to them, which was a source of positive reinforcement. I never expected, however, to be explaining any of them.

About dream analysis, Freud says:

The first thing that becomes clear to the investigator when he compares the dream-content with the dream-thoughts is that a tremendous work of condensation has been accomplished. The dream is meagre, paltry and laconic in comparison with the range and copiousness of the dream-thoughts.

The dream, when written down fills half a page; the analysis, which contains the dream-thoughts, requires six, eight, twelve times as much space.

As you have probably observed, the time it took me to explain only 3 aspects of the dream sequence “Daisy” and “Recollection” took nearly as long to have narrated the events in their entirety.

Literary analysis of poetry will probably result in “six, eight, twelve times as much space” as well.

Dreams, if you are able to remember them, are an excellent source for creative material. As a writer, you are able to exploit, through writing them down (or write based on them), what Freud calls the dream-content (what you perceive with your senses) and your condensed dream-thoughts (what you felt and thought in reaction to the dream-content). Both dream-content and dream-thoughts, as played out by your unconscious as you dream, are fragmented, disjointed.

The act of re-arranging this puzzle, to join the loose ends, is the act of translation. As with all translations, original meanings might be lost, but new meaning will be gained, and perhaps even deeper levels of meaning will be revealed through word choice.


The words we choose to name what we see might be clues to what we were really dreaming about – though wordplay and puns, homophones or homographs, or even rhyme. Language structures our very way of thinking, so the relationship between images and language does not go in only one direction.

As an example, I will quote Freud re-telling a dream to illustrate this point, that “one scarcely finds a dream without a double meaning or a play upon words.”

Photo credit unavailable

C in a dream sees a girl on the road to X bathed in a white light and wearing a white blouse.

The dreamer began an affair with a Miss White on this road.

After translating your sequence of dream images to words that are comprehensible to yourself (as well as your potential readers), you will probably have achieved effective poetic prose. By effective poetic prose I mean a combination of words that conveys sensorial experiences as well as emotions with minimal explanations about their particular symbolism (which is what “good” poetry should do – though it’s a matter of opinion).

And if you aren’t a writer, you have poetry within you. Some people might think dreams are a waste of time discussing or even bothering to remember, but the exercise if recalling, wording and sharing what we’ve dreamt can help us cope with the frustrations or questions that bother us in our waking lives. Dream interpretation, which is almost identical to literary interpretation, has much to teach us about ourselves and those around us, but only if we are aware. Like an oracle, or like Shelley’s figure of the poet as a prophet, dreams allow us to look inward and relate to the world outside our minds, therefore providing glimpses of the unknown.

We may never fully understand it, but, as we look out into the ocean and up the sky, there is a promise in all that is uncertain.