a philosophy of dreams

06Dec10

yesterday it occurred to me that maybe i love the night so much because that’s when dreams are most alive.  all those dreams, generated by so many dreamers.  most of them stay contained in sleeping brains i suppose, but some of them must slip out, through window glass, into the wind of the city.

i think when you stay awake through the night you absorb them somehow.  you pull them into your lungs like cigarette smoke.  fairy stardust, wishes and hopes, future contentment, restful resolution. gently they join you in the dark, making your own true dreams more powerful somehow.  like an extra helping of moonbeams and starlight, the magic you wish for in the daytime.

there is something about being an artist i am starting to understand, something crucial about taking your dreams seriously.  believing in the things you see that others don’t.  a certain kind of confidence you learn to carry, a shield of resilience solid enough to protect you if others dismiss your ideas.  the longer you’re an artist, the more deeply you confirm that your way of seeing is valid.  you spend less time doubting yourself and more time actualizing the things you saw that didn’t exist yet.

and maybe the most magical thing, if you do succeed in making your dreams externally visible: when other people respond to them, are moved by them, mix them up with their own.  you collect other people’s dreams with yours and carry them together. they feather your wings.

you may say i’m a dreamer.  it’s what i do.  i see visions in the bathtub. i hear rainbows in maybes.  i cook up projects when i should be writing emails at work.  i say ‘you guys….’ and ‘dude, what if….’ a lot.  where other people see a wall – sometimes i can make out the window.

and when i really believe in a dream, i fight for it.  i work and i problem-solve and i push as hard as i can to make it happen.  even sometimes when pushing means counting sheep, laying groundwork, waiting for the stars to align.

and you know? i’ve pulled off some impossible dreams in this lifetime. i can see the results of over a decade of hard work and feel accomplished and grateful for achieving so many of my dreams already.

but then there are times when you confuse things.  how do you know what’s a dream and what’s real?  some lights are blinding.  which are the dreams that are meant to become real?

because sometimes you want things to be true so badly that you can’t even see they are dreams and not reality.  and anyway what is reality, and how do you factor in all that stuff above about believing in yourself and your own weird perception and the empirical legitimacy of a lot of your dreams in the past.  you move along and get all confident, and then sometimes your guts just lie to you.  or no amount of believing will ever actually make something happen.  because sometimes the answer is just no, and then what.

collapse. the pirate flag sinks into the ocean.  the world looms terrifying and unanswered for a while.

you have to let go of the dream.  and figure out how to do that without letting go of your confidence in dreaming.

and then what?  where do dreams go when they die?

a tiny bag of stones that you carry around your neck.  a jar of glitter you keep on the shelf.  a yizkor candle.  a tea date that lasts for exactly one hour, once a year, or never.

or maybe you send it back out into the wind, in the night.  take a giant exhale and breathe it away.  because maybe it never belonged to you in the first place, and it was only yours to treasure for a while.  maybe you have to let it go so the right person can find it… and make space for a new person to find yours.

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