When we say the word dreams, we think of many definitions. There are night dreams we have when we sleep–last night mine had the word “deviated septum” in it as a struggled with the stuffy humid weather outside. Strange and fantastic sleep dreams have always come easily for me.
We associate the word dream with desires we’ve had since childhood, or maybe even since we’ve grown into adults. Those who are natural dreamers can’t imagine that there are people who never learned to dream at all. These non-dreamers are often busy surviving life and do not think about what could or might be. There are addicts who may have once dreamed, but have forgotten how and must learn all over in their sobriety. Forgetting is influenced by addiction to money and greed. They know what works and makes the bucks. Why try something new for the pure joy of it? Oh, we take our dreams for granted; those of us who dream easily.
But dreams are simply ephemeral wishes if we don’t do something to make them happen. My advice is to dream big, but start small. You want to write and have your memoir published. Good luck with that! Just kidding. You don’t simply expect the big, bad world of publishing and agents to open up to you. First, you teach your Muse to trust you by reading, studying and practicing. You begin submitting your essays or poems to journals and contests.You get rejected or accepted, but celebrate every time you put one in the mail. Pay attention to the suggestions of other writers concerning your writing or places to submit. The writing gods work in mysterious ways. One thing is sure: you won’t get published if you don’t get the work out in the world.
My partner Leigh is a great example of making dreams come true. I use her, not simply because she is available, but because she happens to be good at it. She has a vision. She begins to study books and attend classes and go online to figure out how to recreate her vision in real life. Then she tries her hand; whether it is gardening in the rocky soil of NW Arkansas, beekeeping, starting her own business, or having a booth in a farmer’s market. She does the groundwork needed to get started, gathers her materials, and begins. She is willing to fail a few times as she proceeds. But she does not give up when the bees swarm and fly away. She confers with old beekeepers, more books, and buys more bees. She tries again.
Leigh is no day dreamer.I have been around long enough to see how much work and determination go into making her dreams come true. They are not pipe dreams. She builds them solidly with a strong foundation. And they become realities; whether it is the business that pays the bills, or a booth at the Green Fork Farmer’s Market. She is my shero when it comes to realizing dreams. And I do my best to emulate her when I write and enter and study and take classes and do my damndest to become the best writer I can be.
Our dreams are valuable, both to us and to a world that needs its dreamers more than ever. Most often, our dreams are revealed in quiet moments when our minds are turned off to everyday duties. To get started, close your eyes and simply remember something you always wanted to do as a child. Write about it without thinking of all the reasons it won’t work. Pretend it will. Some people, like Leigh, are good at making their dreams come true. Some people like me, a recovering alcoholic, get off to a late start and have to remember how to dream. It doesn’t matter when you start; only that you start.
Dreams are not just for the lucky, or the brightest of the bunch. They are for everyone. Find your passion. Figure out how it works. Work at it. Believe in your ability to create your own reality. Choose a dream and take the steps necessary to get there. Be practical at first. You can’t have a farmer’s market booth if you haven’t grown the produce or made your potions first. Expect to fail occasionally, yet do not accept failure. Get up and go at it again. If you can realize even one dream, you will gain the confidence to make other, even bigger ones come true. In the words of one of our most amazing dreamers, “Imagine.”