Years ago, I met Mark West, horror writer extrordinaire at a writing group. We were published members, sat at the back and sniggered, passed notes and probably annoyed everyone else. We also set up a critiquing partnership that endured and Mark is still one of my valued beta readers, so read Dream a Little Dream when it was still a draft, commenting in his own inimitable way: ‘I’m banging my head on the desk, now ...’, ‘Why would she do this? …’, ‘Is it me or is this guy a creep?’ It’s my pleasure to welcome him onto the Dream a Little Dream blogathon today. Especially as his post isn’t scary!
When I was asked to write this piece, my only restriction was that it couldn’t be about wanting to be a writer, which stumped me somewhat. I didn’t want to write about regular sleep-type dreams, simply because mine are never particularly exciting and usually quickly forgotten, so instead I’ll write about aspirational ones.
Dreams are odd and ephemeral, meaning different things to different people, but it’s my absolute certainty that we all need to have them. Even if they’re tiny and prosaic – I want to get through today, to see my loved one tonight – they serve a very real purpose. For those creative types amongst us, dreams are what sustain us, they’re what keep us going as we fail to transcribe what’s in our head into our preferred medium – the page, the microphone, the guitar, the canvas. The dream is what you chase, the prize that will lead onto greater things and more dreams – I want to be published, I want my book in the shops, I want reviews in quality papers, I want a film of my work, etc.
For most pursuits, creative or otherwise, rejection has to be accepted as part of the ‘game’. A dream is what allows you to get over that, to push you on when you perceive yourself to be failing, to allow you to hold your head up high as you examine the wreckage of your creativity and makes you pick up the pieces and try again.
But I, being poor, only have my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams
– W B Yeats, “He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven”
Mocking a dream is easy to do – “ha, you can’t sing/write/play an instrument, what are you doing here, get out of it!” – and sometimes, those dreams are fatally fractured, to the point that they can’t be repaired. How many people, with creative aspirations, have had their dreams dashed and never pursued it again, losing the enjoyment from their lives and what they might have been able to offer to others? If you write/draw/sing/compose/act or whatever, I don’t think I need to mention how bad it is, to rip holes in the dreams of others, do I?
When you get sick of trying, let your dreams for the future carry you onwards. And if someone shares their dreams with you, don’t belittle them for it.
Dreams are what drive you on, embrace them and challenge them and most of all, enjoy them!