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The Necessity of Dreams

June 22, 2015

lark“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.” Shirley Jackson

I can’t speak for larks and katydids, but I hope for their sakes, it is true for them. And I think it must be. How else could a lark sing so beautifully? Or a katydid produce its own uniquely musical sound?

I know it’s true for human beings (some more than others). I’m convinced that our dreams make us more human (in the case of other species, perhaps more lark-like or more katydid-like). Who knows? I do know that my life has been shaped by my dreams. As a kid, most of the trouble I got into was because of something I did (or didn’t do) when my mind was busy living a daydream. I remember overhearing my father say to my mother in absolute frustration, “I think she wakes up in a different world every day.” I must have been about ten or eleven at the time and I was not offended, just amazed. I thought, “How does he know?” I realize now what I didn’t know then: that other people wake up in other Library Statueworlds too. There’s a statue next to our library of a little boy lost in a book. And what is a book but a dream? Next to him, there is a stack of more books. More dreams waiting their turn.

Some even come true. I’m getting to live my favorite dream. I write books!

I think the universal need for dreams is the reason books are so essential. Writers share their dreams and confront their fears in the stories they tell; readers recognize their own dreams and fears and, in the process, we come closer to understanding an often insane world–even manage to exist sanely in it.

So – dream on.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2015 9:07 PM

    That’s beautiful and very true. One of the things I love about being a writer is that I can get lost in a daydream and call it working!

    • June 23, 2015 9:14 PM

      So true. If only all the people who told dopey kid I was to stop daydreaming and do something had known – I WAS doing something. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. June 28, 2015 10:27 AM

    Great blog topic! I love the line “And what is a book but a dream?”

    As for real, non-literary dreams, I do think they’re inspirational. After my divorce, a dream helped lead me to New York City and my dream job, editing for Hearst Magazines. I was living in Bucks County when I dreamt that I was on the top floor of a high-rise in Manhattan, overlooking the City, and all my writer-friends came to visit me. That same day, I began applying for jobs in New York City instead of Philadelphia—and the rest is history. The power of dreams!

    • June 28, 2015 12:00 PM

      Thanks for the good words, Mary. You could be the poster child for turning dream into reality, i.e., the dream of working in NY and now you’re busying following your new dreams in Arizona. Good luck – and keep dreaming.

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