Friday, September 28, 2012

Lazy-Dazy Dreaming Days

To be human is to aspire.  Without it we quake.  (Ask any recent retiree.)  A dream is aspiration taken to reason-defying heights, to reality-defying heights.  Dreams give us wings.  The pursuit of a dream is a godly feat.

Everyone loves a dreamer-made-good story.  Professional sports, collectively, is a parade float carried on the shoulders of hundreds of them.  Rudy, Secretariat, the guy who is getting a one-day contract with the Miami Marlins so that he can have an MLB at-bat.  Hollywood too.  Children's fairy tales.  Do you know that every country in the world has its own version of the Cinderella story?  Every single one.  We love when dreams come true.  

The thing about dreams though is that they don't come true all at once.  Between the sudden, euphoric (usually small, progressive) lurches toward success stretch sometimes-long periods of deathly, agonizing quiet.  I know of no stories that present the heartbreak of the silence or the back-steps in real time.  Dreamers are thought to have their heads in the clouds, detached from reality, not productive members of society.  I myself have likened the term "dreamer" to lazy.  How wrong I was.  

Dreamers aspiring to something great are exactly what propels mankind at its best.  In all areas - science, entertainment, sports, politics, writing.

Recently I have enjoyed some small success.  A bit of unexpected praise and a promising outlook have led to no small amount of hoopla amongst my family and friends.  It feels great.  Your glee for me and faith in me is more meaningful than you know.  But...

My lowly, lonely, perserverant faith had to predate yours.  It's the only way.  As dreamers, we have to believe in ourselves before we have any right to.  Before we've published a word, before we've stepped foot on a professional soccer pitch.  We need an internalized belief that our dreams could happen in order to muster the fortitude it takes to wade through the muck and gruel to get there.  It is a reluctant willingness to look like a fool, like a dreamer. 

...our best built certainties are but sand-houses and subject to damage from any wind of doubt that blows.
- Mark Twain, "The Great Dark"

Faith in your story, faith in your characters, faith in your writing, faith in your storytelling, and faith in writing as your occupation.  At best, these are sand houses.  I don't want to meet the person whose houses are made of armor.  The granularity is our humility and our courage.

We doubt, yet we write.  We not only brave but court painful criticism, yet we write.  We fear, yet we write.  We endure hours of research we don't understand, make fifty fruitless attempts at plotting our story before finding the method that works, and bravely call ourselves "aspiring writers" and bear the ensuing awkward lull.  Yet we write.

That stay-at-homeless mom with her infant daughter, "writing a book" in a coffee shop, getting refills in the same tea cup, persevering through annoyed glances and countless rejections - that was J.K. Rowling. 

You know the joke: You know you're a writer if...  You are sitting opposite a doctor wearing a very serious expression.  She says, "I'm sorry Ms. So-and-So.  I'm afraid that you have cancer."  And you think, "Cancer.  Wow.  I can use this."

Our setbacks and silences cut us to the bone.  The pain is sometimes unbearable.  The winds of doubt slow us down.  We're human.  But, don't let them blow you down.  Use them.  They make us more experienced in the emotional tumult of life, more empathetic.  In short, better writers.  Only the strong will survive.  Be strong. 

"Every great story on the planet happened when someone decided not to give up, but kept going no matter what."
-Spryte Loriano
Be godly.

I hope you are well.  Thanks as always for coming by!  I love to see your visits!  If you'd like to, you can also follow me on by liking my page.  I post book and film reviews, quotes I run across, and I'll keep you up-to-date on my own dreamy pursuit.  :)  Take care!

~M.M. Finck