butter mountain

Madyamika* is Easy (in Madagascar)

There is a battle over who will give Lucy butter.

11:20am, Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

[Fell asleep listening to night flutterings and scufflings in the central jungle of Madagascar, thinking of the Heart of Darkness and poor, delicate Kurtz. The air was soft and heavy with water.]


Julia, my sister

G, the Chinese Australian

Lucy, my niece

K, the Columbia Law Student

An attractive man

The submarine captain

A brunette woman from Long Island

I, Myself


There is a battle over who will give Lucy butter. It’s down to the brunette woman or Julia. The brunette lives in Julia’s neighbourhood but they’re not her real neighbours.

The neighbourhood reminds me of Brooklyn. I don’t know where it is but the broken cobble streets and small brick row houses make me think of it.

The brunette doesn’t like Julia. She’s not upscale enough. The brunette wears elegant clothes but of the hippie, Long Island variety (long earring, jeans, flowing blouse) and imagines herself very chic. I feel conciliatory towards the woman, as if I can see her true nature under the façade.

In the butter battle, Lucy isn’t really a living thing. She’s like a doll or a toy with no emotions. Finally, she takes the butter.

I interrupt with great authority and demand that they stop. I say, ‘Do not EVER use Lucy as your plaything/projection/punching bag again!’

They are tractable and I feel pleased that my intervention is working. I demand that they make up. Julia reaches out her tongue-it looks like drops of water-and licks both the woman’s cheeks. I find this upsetting.

[Time Lapse]

I am uncomfortable when I realize that K is in love with me.

We are in a foreign seaside bar (Amsterdam, maybe?) that serves beer out of gasoline cans.

I am waiting for a man—not sure who. Another man, very attractive, sits with me and we have a drink. I am aware that he, too, is in love with me. [Aren’t I popular in this dream!]

After a time G and I leave the bar and walk towards the wharf to get someone’s boat (K’s perhaps?). G tells me she is in love with K and wants to know if I think it would be a good idea to ask him out. I say, ‘Yes, he’s really a nice guy. You should!’ But I feel wretched and duplicitous because I know he is in love with me.

On the boat, K is very different: sleazy, fake; entirely the opposite of how he actually is.

I stand with a drink at the front of the boat when a warship-like/apartment building-like submarine rises to the surface of the water. It seems to go down at least the height of a large New York City building into the depths. It is white, steel, industrial modern. I can see the lights from windows under the water.

Then the captain of the submarine is on our boat and makes an announcement about the next James Bond. He informs us that we are not chosen but we will be rewarded anyway because we were the three runners up (K, G and I). We are extremely pleased with this.

I am suddenly outside ‘us.’

In front , we/they are squeezed down from the top like toothpaste. It happens a number of times and has an almost hologram like effect, as if the squeeze down is a projection or water dripping down a glass window.

I am confused and slightly upset by this.

When I awake, I write: Madyamika is easy in Madagascar.


*Tibetan system of logic leading to a profound experience of the Middle Way whereby any phenomenon can be dissected by means of the following four criteria:

  1. a thing is entirely itself
  2. a thing is not entirely itself
  3. a thing is neither entirely itself nor not entirely itself
  4. a thing is not neither entirely itself nor not not entirely itself

…so that’s clear. (The point is that it leaves one with no concept to hold on to concerning the thing.)

Another way to approach this is to ask of any phenomenon (works especially well with thoughts):

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can I absolutely know that it is true?
  3. How does it feel to experience this (thought, feeling, sensation, etc)?
  4. Who would I be if I didn’t have this experience?

Dream of the Drawing for Everything alchemies dream-like things: images and texts and films and sketches and philosophy and half-thoughts and visions and moments and fragments of all kinds. Resting and exploring here may deepen your relationship with the oneiric and, therefore, all apparent reality. Resting and exploring here may augment your psyche’s healing tendency—as Jung called it—through highlighting and delighting in humanity’s hallucinatory creations. (Without them, after all, neurologists assure us we would go starkers.) It is time there was a potentially infinite, intimate museum to what cannot be seen. Welcome to the museum.

Dream of the Drawing for Everything is some of the collaboration between artist Nuala Clarke & writer Crystal Gandrud. Our work arises out of what dances on the edges of perception and our collective attention gravitates to the dream-like nature of human experience. We have been in collaboration since 2010. Our merged practices of visual and textual art unfold on a continuum, as part of an interconnected series evolving over time. Both performed “Fair Shouldered One” (a book which is not a book) at the &Now Literary Festival in Paris, 2012 and installed “Between Spaces”, a Yeats inspired dreamscape at the Hamilton Gallery, Sligo, 2013. Most recently participated in the Find Arts Project in Castlebar, Ireland. Our public art installation of words and images printed on linen, “Woven Found”, hung on Castle Street. The project won the best commissioning practice award from Allianz Business to Arts, 2014.

Nuala Clarke

Nuala Clarke, visual artist, lives and works between Co. Mayo and New York City. Educated at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, she moved to New York City in 1993. In September 2007, she received a fellowship to the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Mayo and began returning to Ireland from NY to work every year. Clarke has been represented by Boltax Gallery, NY since 2005. Recent shows include, Amid a Space Between: Irish Artists in America at the SFMoMa Artists Gallery, San Francisco, (2012); to Tremble into Stillness, a WB Yeats related show at Hamilton Gallery, Sligo; RHA invited artist; and A drawing for Everything, Ballinglen Arts Foundation (2013). BLINK, a public art installation at the Westport Arts Festival, Co. Mayo (2014). Upcoming shows (2015): Impressions of Yeats, Hamilton Gallery, Sligo; Of this place, Sligo and Madrid.


Crystal Gandrud

Crystal Gandrud, writer, lives in New York City and Normandy, France. She holds an MFA, Creative Writing and a BFA, Classical Theatre. Recent publications include “Yeatsian: Numberless Dreamers,” The Encyclopedia Project, 2014, “Here,” Lost Magazine, and “Idiom: Woodbird Flies Early,” The Encyclopedia Project. Her dissertation, “Murdoch: the Mandala Maker,” was presented at Kingston University’s Iris Murdoch Conference (2006), London. At the most recent Murdoch Conference, she performed a multi-media excerpt from a work-in-progress entitled “The Forgotten Man,” inspired by Murdoch’s philosophical writings. She is under contract for a memoire entitled “Astonishment: A Litany of the Uncanny.”


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