Monday, January 18, 2010
C’s attempt to recount the dream he had last night about R. Crumb
C: What are you doing here?
R. Crumb: You tell me. It’s your dream.
C: Are you a muse? A nightmare? Is it just because I watched your documentary?
R. Crumb: I repeat. It’s your dream. You have my undivided attention…at least your image of me does, but I won’t give you an autograph.
C: I don’t want your autograph!
R. Crumb shrugs and I notice his large hands. He is wearing a straw hat, thick glasses, and is tall and thin. This isn’t one of my amalgam dreams when I combine people. This is all Robert Crumb. I feel the need to seize this rare opportunity, but am unsure what to say.
C: I can’t really draw.
R. Crumb: I think what you’re trying to say is you can’t draw at all.
C: But if I could, I might draw like you.
R. Crumb: You mean you might draw a ‘Keep on Truckin’ t-shirt.
C: No, I mean the headless Amazon women, killer ostriches, Fritz the Cat, all the other…I want to tap into your more creative instincts.
R. Crumb: I think you’d sell out pretty quick.
C: Just because I had an Adidas shirt in 1974? When are you going to let me get over that?
R. Crumb: It’s not me. This dream is really just an extension of your id. Don’t forget that.
C: You do specifically mock Adidas shirts in the movie. It just cut a little too close to home.
R. Crumb: Okay. You can’t draw. What are you going to do?
C: I write this blog. Isn’t this a form of artistic expression?
R. Crumb: If you say it is. That’s up to you. If you’re looking for validation from me or even your image of me, I suggest you look elsewhere.
C: (Looking downward) I just feel sorry for your brother, Charles. Talk about an artist that never sold out. He never left his house, wouldn’t put in his teeth and wouldn’t even do his art. And we get, or at least I get to really like him during the movie and then find out at the end he committed suicide a year after the film. Made me feel terrible.
R. Crumb: I understand. But what would you like me to do?
C: I don’t know. You’re just an extension of me, as you said. So I’m really just talking to myself anyway. I could go sit on a bed of nails or pull down the pants of women I don’t know like your other brother, Max.
R. Crumb:(Growing impatient) Even in this form my time is limited. What do you want to know?
C: Where does art come from? You mentioned LSD was a springboard for a lot of your characters and ideas.
R. Crumb: Have you taken LSD?
C: I’m not willing to get into that…
R. Crumb: I didn’t think so. You aren’t willing to let yourself go enough. To be the real you. You’re afraid you’ll end up begging for bread on the street.
C: Or like Charles.
R. Crumb: Or like Charles.
C: We all want to be seen as artistic in some form.
R. Crumb: You speak for everyone?
C: Don’t get smart with me. I can at least speak for myself. Maybe I’ll take up the saxophone. I could still be Charlie Parker.
R. Crumb: Or you could add a throwaway jazz reference in your blog to show that you’re ‘hip.’
C: I’m starting not to like you, Crumb!
R. Crumb: Times running out. Soon you’ve got to wake up and go be the library beancounter. So, any last words on my movie.
C: I wouldn’t say I envy your art, but somewhere between envy and admiration the truth lies. Still feel bad about Charles. I know the movie’s fifteen years old and his death is water that has long flowed under the bridge. Still feel bad.
R. Crumb:(Smiling) Would you really like an autograph?
R. Crumb: Well, you can’t have one!
C: I stepped into that one. Any parting advice?
R. Crumb: Avoid cliché. (R. Crumb’s figure begins to fade as my subconscious hears the morning alarm sound.)
C: Good advice. And don't forget to ‘keep on truckin.’
(I could swear I see Crumb smile at my parting jab as he disappears.)