This is the sixth installment of the Visiting Artist column, in which we ask an artist to produce a text in response to their art practice. Shortly after experiencing intense carpal tunnel symptoms, longtime Chicago artist Judith Brotman dramatically altered how she makes art. Formerly a studio artist who crafted intricate, hand-sewn sculptures, Brotman has turned her attention to writing and performance, and composed “Dreams for the Month of May” for Newcity.
Dream 1 You ask me why you are not like other people. I will tell you but you will not like the answer.
Dream 4 You begin to hate your neighbor’s wife in ways that seem slightly scary and obsessive. One day she invites you over for tea and you steal her wigs. The following day you regret not taking her children, too.
Dream 5 You are a black leather glove. You are somewhat germ phobic and have concerns about what you will be required to touch.
Dream 6 You desperately want me to love you, and I tell you that I do. Five minutes and seventeen seconds later I will change my mind about this.
Dream 8 You are in the arms of the love of your life. Unfortunately the rest of the body is missing.
Dream 9 You wait for your sex drive to return from the road trip it took to Oklahoma.
Dream 13 You are a vampire, but not one from “Dracula,” the “Twilight Series,” “The Vampire Diaries” or “True Blood.” You aren’t afraid of garlic or sunlight. You can’t even mesmerize your best friend. Actually, you don’t drink blood…except for a drop or two mixed into your bourbon.
Dream 14 You are pouring Mr. Clean into a bucket, getting ready to mop the floor. You suddenly regret purchasing the Mountain Clean scent instead of Summer Citrus. You fall to the floor weeping.
Dream 15 You feel astonishingly beautiful. You have never felt beautiful before, but now you do. It will be difficult to wake up from this dream.
Dream 16 You miss your mother. The strange part is that she’s standing right there next to you, but still you miss her terribly.
Dream 17 You are an orchestra conductor and all of the musicians are ducks. Tears stream down your face as you hear how beautifully they play—except for the duck playing the oboe in the key of B flat instead of D minor.
Dream 18 You are back in high-school gym class. This always struck terror in your heart and it seems nothing has changed. Suddenly you remember that all of the handsomely beautiful adolescents end up ugly when they reach middle age; you guffaw.
Dream 20 You are dead. It isn’t what you thought it would be. You hadn’t realized you would miss urinating and defecating. But you do like the clothes they give out; they fit better than the ones you wore when you were alive.
Dream 21 You are in the dentist’s chair, kissing someone. You are aroused beyond belief and about to rip off your clothes. Suddenly the dentist walks in, gives each of you a shot of Novocain and then leaves. Your passion subsides and you decide to play Yahtzee instead.
Dream 22 You are a right breast. If given the choice, you would choose to be a left one.
Dream 23 You are a song. People sing you when they are happy, when they are sad and when they are in the car. How odd to be a sound coming out of someone’s mouth. Some days are better than others.
Dream 26 You seek revenge. You are told it isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it’s so much better.
Dream 27 You go to the circus. There are dancing bears, jugglers, tightrope walkers and lion tamers. You are munching on popcorn when one of the lions devours one of the tamers. While everyone is gasping, you finish your popcorn and help yourself to some from the box of the guy sitting next to you.
Dream 28 You are told that you are brilliant, generous, dazzling and compassionate. You are not pleased.
Dream 29 You are waiting to be born. You are rather bored, and to pass the time you begin reading “Crime and Punishment.”
Dream 36 You are asked to appear in the president’s next dream. You inquire about the pay although secretly you know you will agree to do it for free.
Dream 37 You are making love to me. It’s a little awkward because I’m wearing headphones and listening to Wagner’s “Die Walkure.” I don’t think you’re smoking hot, but don’t get me wrong, I like you.
Dream 38 You are in the attic of my gynecologist. There’s not much to do, so you take a nap. You wake up refreshed.
Dream 39 You meet a snake named Charlie. You are confused because in my dream, I have introduced you to a student named Charlie who is going blind. You desperately want them to meet—Charlie the snake and Charlie the student. But they will not; my dreams are not yours.