Even When Dreams are Delayed
To be honest, there are times when I am writing an essay that my thoughts and words flow easily from me. In those cases, the duration of time from the idea to a rough draft is but a couple of hours. In other cases, the development of a good idea is a very slow process. This is such an article, where not all the various thoughts and ideas were morphing together in my mind at the same time. Therefore, I waited and waited until creativity seemed to move me. In this case, I mulled my ideas over in my mind, and it took a couple of weeks.
In this case of delayed creativity, addressing my angst was critical. I finally acted, sat down in front of my computer, and started this article. I began the slow process with the various ideas swirling around in my mind about dreams often being delayed or dashed. Then I recalled a dean who told me that one of the things that he admired about me was that I was a dreamer. I would always work at realizing my dream. If that dream did not work out the way I envisioned, I would rework the dream or work on another dream. I was able to dream dreams that never were and ask why not. Bobby Kennedy paraphrased what Shaw once wrote, "Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not." Anyone who has received an email from me in the past quarter century has seen Kennedy's words as my signature.
I never gave up dreaming and addressing the issues without fear of failure. This modus operandi has been a staple of my personality for as long as I can remember. The courage to dream has two immediate benefits. One is that I do not merely dream, but I work at addressing the issue of the dream. The other benefit is that I do not become depressed and do nothing because a dream did not occur. I remain upbeat as I continue the process of dreaming.
Over my lifespan, I have also recognized that if I dream about something that does not seem important, it is not worth dreaming. If I write about a dream or discuss it, it is for me an important issue that needs to be addressed, faced, and resolved. I do not want to look as though I am on a fool's errand while dreaming dreams. I do not want to be seen as "just a dreamer," devoid of a dream worth pursuing.
Politically, I am without the fear and my dreams have value. I do not worry about what others might think. I know that I am at peace with my own thinking. If anything, I know that I have not dreamed enough and need to move still further to the progressive side of politics than where I am. I will debate anyone on the issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, needed healthcare reform, equal pay, climate change, or any other liberating idea.
Regarding things personal, I am not as strong-willed personally, as I am politically. I do fear looking like a fool if it seems that I do not have all the facts. An example of that happened several month ago. I had to address a group. I knew that, even though I rehearsed, rewrote, and reedited my personal soliloquy, I was anxious about how I would come across during my presentation.
Having said that, I also knew that delaying my speech would be even more painful. I needed to act, make my presentation, and let the proverbial chips fall where they may. I did not want to cancel the speech only to realize some years from now that I should have said what I wanted to say when I first had the opportunity.
During my delivery, it probably sounded to the audience like I had not prepared my presentation enough. In my speech, I mentioned that I had truly worked on my thoughts but feared that I might sound ill prepared. Additionally, I told the audience that I would rather pay the possible price of sounding foolish than regret years from now not speaking from my heart.
As I am writing this essay, I recalled something Langston Hughes, who was a writer in the Harlem Renaissance back in the 1920s, wrote, "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly."
I, too, want to fly. In spite of the possible cost, fear could cripple me in my flight. That is not an acceptable cost. Dreams provide hope. Not all dreams come true nor are all fully realized. Nevertheless, dream dreams. Be honest and dream. My personal assertion applies to all of us. If we fail, acknowledge our failed attempt. Learn from it. But, begin again by dreaming.
The following is an intentional postscript.... After musing over this article because of all of the various pieces that were not connecting, I sat down and wrote this draft in about three hours. That proves my contention that I benefit from facing any problem directly. Act. Move. Get involved. This formula works for me.
Guess what I did next? I went out and saw Mr. Turner at a theater and began again to dream dreams that still may be.
This is the trailer of Mr. Turner.