Monday, January 16, 2012
Post by Jenny
Today, many of us celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the contributions he made to this world during his too-short life. In addition to the other messages of the day, I’ve found myself thinking about Dr. King’s most famous speech in the more general terms of dreams and how they shape our lives.
Judging by my dog’s behavior, I doubt we’re the only creatures who dream while sleeping, but it’s the nature of our waking dreams that sets us apart. The day dreams often have the element of intention that the more passive night dreams lack. Like most of you, I have dreams of a better world, of peace and prosperity for all. I also have more personal dreams for my family, dreams for my community, dreams that I will someday find the perfect boots that do not make my legs look like mushroom stems. (Okay, so that boot thing may not apply to you.) And, of course, dreams for my writing.
But how does a dream go from the state of feel-good brain fluffiness (I imagine dreams as so much cerebral cotton candy) to a tangible product or effect out there in the real world? It requires action. If Dr. King had written his speech and filed it away in a drawer, this country would be a different place. But as we all know, he took action of a most heroic nature.
All of this makes me wonder what action my dreams need. If I have an idea for a story and then write the story, that’s a great start. But if my dream is to have the story published, then I must continue to take action. Repeated action. Probably why-in-the-world-am-I-still-working-on-this? action. However, with luck, and perseverance, the process spirals, with the ever-tighter turns bringing me closer to my goal.
So, writer friends, in the immortal words of Aerosmith, “dream on.” And then act. It doesn’t have to be a March-on-Selma-caliber act. It could be as simple as committing ideas to paper. Taking a class. Joining a critique group. Attending a conference. Maybe, if some version of Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion applies to writing, you will be rewarded with an equal and opposite reaction.
(By the way, I’m giving myself extra points for mentioning Dr. King, Aerosmith, Isaac Newton, and cotton candy in the same post.)
What actions are you taking to further your dreams this year?