Archive | June, 2011

Remembering Nicole Carstens

26 Jun
Nicole Carstens, 1958–2001

Nicole Carstens, 1958–2001

Over in Kerkrade, Netherlands, the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) will have completed its second day of annual conference workshops and symposia today.

And here in New York, the Blue Note Jazz Festival is going on throughout June, mainly at venues such as the Blue Note and B. B. King’s.

So it’s a fitting day for me to continue my dream-related appreciation of Dutch New York by writing about my late friend Nicole Carstens. I met Nicole, who was from the Netherlands, in an eight-session dream “class” / dream-sharing group here in New York in 1996. She died in the spring of 2001, while in her early 40s.

Looking back at several letters we exchanged and some notes from various conversations, I realize just how few actual contacts we had in those four and a half years. It seems otherwise, because Nicole and I quickly noticed that the dreams we shared in the class each week had surprisingly—spookily—similar imagery. This gave us the opportunity to delve into some difficult issues we had in common, despite their differing waking-life manifestations in our personal histories.

Nicole was an artist; she supported her art by working as a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight attendant (so was frequently out of town), and as a translator. Exposure to her art, in juxtaposition to doing dreamwork together, gave me another opportunity: a rather large leap forward in my level of art appreciation, given my relatively scanty art education. Continue reading

A happy synchronicity: Two receptions and a book

25 Jun
Exploring Historic Dutch New York - book cover

Exploring Historic Dutch New York, edited by Gajus Scheltema and Heleen Westerhuijs

Tonight (June 24, that is) is/was the opening reception, in Kerkrade, Netherlands, of the annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams which continues through June 28. Having attended every other IASD annual conference since 1997, I’m sorely disappointed about not being there.

So it was a happy surprise and exciting synchronicity when I received an email announcement yesterday of a reception tonight at The Netherlands Club, 3 West 51st Street in Manhattan. The occasion was twofold: a farewell to the current consul general, Gajus Scheltema (who’s headed for a new assignment in Islamabad), and a book signing for the newly released travel guide Exploring Historic Dutch New York, which he co-edited with Heleen Westerhuijs.

Continue reading