Maggots, Dreams and Lullabies
Like stations in a relay, Maggots, Dreams and Lullabies
is a series of separate yet related vignettes which follow the life
of an unnamed woman from childhood to childs end. It is an
intricate tale of the mysterious and powerful forces of love, death
and re-birth while reflecting on such contemporary issues as : surrendering
to motherhood, high risk pregnancy, breast cancer survival, adoption
and re-incarnation. The story alternates between past and present
tense. The point of view shifts; sometimes told from the sidelines
as a detached third person; sometimes as a scene in a movie; sometimes
revealed with the gritty and intimate details of a confessional
poet. From Long Island to Italy, from 1959 to 1409, the WOMAN opens
a Pandoras box of absurd characters, surreal landscapes, unthinkable
acts, impossible relationships and poignant choices.
OUTLINE : Maggots, Dreams and Lullabies
Personal Stories from the Underbelly
by Aimee Greenberg
Chapter One: A Childs Conversation
in C Minor
Little orphan Annie grows up in Long Island. From
the moment her father reveals her adoption, to the death of her
adopted MOTHER, the GIRL tells her side of growing up with FATHER
and SISTER with child-like candor in a seamless folkloric narrative.
She comments on the minutiae of daily life and human behavior like
a seasoned adult. We witness her loss of innocence through the death
of many small pets, her first experience with the neighborhood bullies
and the physical and emotional fragility of her adopted mother.
Father re-marries a woman whose sullen and wayward teenage daughter
turns into trouble and splits the marriage in two.
Chapter Two: Coming Up Roses
in the Hood
The girl grows into puberty. She suffers the slings
and arrows of adolescence and unpopularity. She gets beaten up for
being Jewish. She gets chosen last in team sports. In Hebrew school,
she is chastised for wearing pants and stands up and shouts "Batman."
She tries to fit in with the freaks or hippies at high school but
finds herself a constant outsider. Her salvation comes in losing
herself in drama and CINDY, a fellow loner who pushes the envelope
and incites the girl to commit risky and unlawful behavior. At fifteen,
the Girl lies about her age and sexual experience and looses her
virginity to a twenty-three year old folk singer whom she watches
perform at The Bitter End in Greenwich Village.
Chapter Three: Return to Sender
The womans (now twenty-five) search for her
biological mother is awakened through her relationship with G, an
Argentine exile. She feels smothered by G and discouraged by the
struggles of the New York theatre world. She begins her search and
relocates from New York to Seattle. Within months, she flies back
to New York to meet her biological mother at the adoption agency.
The reunion unfolds as a dramatic scene from a film in which the
woman is stunned by the appearance of her biological father . COLLIE
and SAM confess that they have two other daughters, one adopted
and one natural. She returns to her adopted father SOL and discovers
that her two fathers are second cousins.
Chapter Four: Lost in Loveland
The woman confesses with intimate and poetic detail
the nature of her volatile and dependent relationship with L in
Chapter Five: Maggots and Pearls
SHE rises from the sea naked with a noose around her
neck. She gathers pieces of colored glass by the shore. Ephemeral
and ghost like she moves in and out of the islands of glass and
lace near the city by the sea. She sits for hours in a cafe and
tries to reconstruct a pattern of glass from memory. She travels
south to a familiar villa in a street near Piazza Santo Spirito.
Inside the villa, she throws the pieces of glass onto the floor
as they land in the familiar pattern. She falls asleep and awakens
at 4:00 am in the City of Angels to the bell of a clock sounding
an earthquake. She feels a lump in her left breast over her heart.
The doctor reveals a lump in the pattern of the glass pieces in
an x-ray. She wants to keep it, but they convince her to undergo
two surgical procedures and radiation. She is confused by the assault
on her body. She travels to Russia to dance on the rooftops, but
is filled with sadness. She travels to Japan to dance with the spirits
in masks and dive with the AMA for pearls. She finds the glass pattern
in an oyster, cuts open her breast and places it inside. Years later,
after the birth of her child, she receives a package with ashes
and a mans ring bearing a glass stone of the same design.
Chapter Six: Jesus on the Beach
or Holy Vista!
The woman is now 37 , married, pregnant and living
in rural Vista, North County, San Diego. The road to her home is
paved with immigrant auto storefronts and equipment rentals. Her
house is sandwiched in-between a family of Christian fanatics and
a hack magician. She tries to facilitate a Japanese Butoh Dance
class with three female students in an adjacent empty field. The
Christian family protests. She is accused of being possessed by
the devil. She and her husband rent the house and relocate to Laguna
Beach. The renters buy another house. The magician gets evicted
and bikers take over. They steal electricity from the abandoned
residence. Her husband rents the house to ED, a co-worker and his
companion. They allow a friend and his girlfriend to move in. The
house is raided by the Sheriff and the companion and friends are
arrested for the possession and sale of methamphetamine. Almost
one year later, the house is sold to a Realtor for the balance of
Chapter Seven: Paul
The year her daughter is born, her best friend and
first love dies. The phone call from a friend in Florence on one
early October morning unravels memories of a twenty-five year platonic
friendship with PAUL; set against a back story of PAOLO OF MILAN
and SISTER ANGELA of Florence. The year is 1409. Sister Angela is
running through the tunnel to meet Paolo on the other side. Paolo
is a soldier turned artist commissioned by the Monastery San Marco
to paint the lives of the Saints on the walls of the monastery.
Sister Angela is a learned devotee of the lives of the Saints. They
meet in the cell where Paolo is studying the walls to paint St.
Sebastian. He places his hand on the place where he feels the buried
heart of the Saint and blood pours forth. The witnessing of this
miracle binds them from this day forth. Angela becomes a host for
the voices and re-enactment of the live of Saint Sebastian. They
begin an illicit love affair which continues for a year. DONATELLA
is poor a mute woman who lives at the convent. She drowned her baby
in the Arno and was sentenced to death, but by the graces of Paolo,
her life was spared. As a self-imposed penance, she carries water
up and down the hill, with a noose and a drawing pad around her
neck on which she re-creates the drama of the drowning. One night
she catches Paolo and Angela making love and begins to draw the
scene. The lovers are found out. Sister Angela is running through
the tunnel to meet Paolo. The lovers move towards an embrace when
Paolo, like Sebastian is shot through his torso and arms with arrows.
Pinned like Jesus, Angela watches him die. Sister Angela is led
through the street naked by a noose around her neck and stoned to
The story returns to present day. She recalls Pauls
mother VIRGINIA, who is mad, brilliant and obsessed with Paul. She
remains a strong factor in keeping their relationship platonic.
Pauls Italian girlfriend CREDENZA becomes mad and obsessed
with Pauls possessions. Devastated by being denied his sperm
after death, she creates a museum of his Rome apartment, with his
toothbrush and razor in the bathroom and jacket hanging on the coat
rack. She returns to home and visits Pauls parents, Virginia
and GEORGE. They are old and ill and, as usual, antagonistic. Pauls
brother has a baby girl who, exactly one year after Pauls
death dies from a heart condition. She speculates that Paul was
trying to trying to reincarnate through the baby. She vows that
she will have another baby. It will be a boy. She will call him
Chapter Eight: Through the Water
She takes us on a intimate journey of pregnancy, childbirth,
post-partum and motherhood in the first year of life. She becomes
pregnant unexpectedly, only three weeks after marriage. A large
fibroid threatens her pregnancy. She is haunted by the memory and
condition of her adopted mother who was infertile due to multiple
fibroid surgeries. She dreams about a Down Syndrome girl calling
her into her world. She fantasizes an escape from the inevitable.
She is, at times frozen with the fear of breast cancer recurrence,
as a result of and during her pregnancy. She is ten days overdue
and reluctantly schedules an induction. On the night before the
scheduled induction, she goes into labor. Her daughter is born after
22 hours of labor; five hours of excruciating back labor. Breastfeeding
is challenging. Lily spikes a high fever three days after birth.
They return to the hospital. In the ER, the nurses have difficulty
drawing Lilys blood. Her urine is collected. It is very cloudy.
She is admitted into Pediatrics for five days for further testing
and intravenous antibiotics. Mother starts to crack under the weight
of spinal taps, x-rays, dyes, post-partum and no breast milk. After
five days, they return home. The breastfeeding battle resumes with
a SNS and a couple of ounces from the right breast. The mother battles
with the forces of rootedness and rootlessness. She tears the baby
from her breast at six months to facilitate a dance workshop in
Europe. She pumps her milk for ten days, but in the end, looses
all but one 1/2 an ounce. She is tormented by guilt for leaving
her baby. She returns home and watches Lily grow. She wrestles with
attachment and feeling smothered by 24/7 dependency. She fears dying
young like her mother and leaving her child motherless. She dreams
of abandoning her child. She dreams of rescuing her child. She strolls
Lily up to the park to see the goats and sheep. The baby sheep are
bleating for their mothers. Lily echoes their cries. She reassures
her: "Im here Lily. Im here."