“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Say Your Dreams Out Loud: I Think I Can, I Think I Can

Back behind the place where dreams are made.

I used to live there.

Life was fine, life was good, but I'd reached that age where it looked as if that was all there was. Perhaps you've been there, perhaps you've just passed through - I'm sure we waved at each other, not knowing we'd meet again later, in a different place. Life is a funny thing.

I lived there, back behind that place, watching the dreams for everyone else packaged up and going out the door, watched some of them drift away with clouds to their new homes, surprises for their new owners, and I got used to it, got used to just heading for work and coming home, got used to no extra time, got used to no boxes of dreams-come-true waiting for me on the front step. Just got used to it. Accepted it. Every once in a while I would paint a little painting, collage a little collage, and the people I knew would ooh and ahhh and tell me this, this is what you need to be doing, you should move to the land of Working on Dreams, and I appreciated it, I really did, it made my heart glow for a moment or two, but bills had to be paid, and the business had to be cared for, and sometimes that meant 60 to 70 hour weeks, and even when it didn't, it meant I needed to sleep, to recuperate, and by the time I'd reached the time I could even think about painting, it was back to work, back to the routine. I know you know.

And like I said, I got used to it. I said goodbye to dreams and hopes and wishes, tucked them away in a corner of my heart, and learned to not be sad about it. I learned to ignore the people who kept telling me to move - to be honest, they were all people who had extra time, who weren't struggling, who had money or someone else paying their bills, who really didn't get it, who assumed it was just laziness on my part that kept me from trying. All good people, I loved them all, but none who really understood. And I kept going. I would channel those artistic parts of me into building the Emma Tree at work, into decorating for the holidays at work, into writing just lines, small bits of poetry for myself (though I didn't think of them as poetry), into wrapping Christmas gifts as beautifully as possible. You do what you can do.

But the thing is, those dreams and hopes and wishes, no matter how kindly they are tucked away, don't die. They poke at you and push at you and they make you miserable - at least that's what happened with me. And though I'd grown used to my work-a-day routine, I wasn't happy. I was okay. I was, as I said, accepting: I didn't cry myself to sleep at night - I just lived my life. It's easy to do that, you know (I know you do) - it's easy to stay with the status quo, especially when you are exhausted and always struggling for money. It's easy. At least you get a break every now and then, a break when you can breathe for a moment, but if you live back there behind that place where dreams are made, when you get that moment, you see those dreams that are not yours packaged so beautifully with someone else's address on the box, and you begin eventually to think some thoughts. And then the day comes when a thought grabs hold, when you are so inspired that you cannot run anymore and, of all things, who'd'a thunk it?, a blog is born. It seems so innocent at the time - you think no one will read this piece of silliness, but they do, a few at first, and then a few more - and those dreams and wishes start to push at you even harder. You hate it, you don't want them let loose, you know what grief they will bring, you know you still have no extra time, no space, no money, but they prod and poke and poke some more and finally they knock a hole in your heart and find their way out and you are lost. With every new achievement, more dreams find their way out, dreams you thought you'd lost back in the 8th grade when you won an award for a story you wrote and you had to dress up and go to a big ceremony to receive your award. And life gets hard. It gets more fun, it gets scarier, you have even less time, which you would have thought impossible 3 or 4 years ago, and you've grown older, and time brings losses and heartache, but new doors keep being opened and you keep going, keep going, keep going. Like that little I-think-I-can train engine, you just keep going up up up the hill, hoping the top of the hill appears soon. You are late to work every day - every day - because you are writing and you feel guilt about that, and you are defensive about it, but you know you can no longer live behind that dream factory, you know you must find a way to a new street, a new home, a new life. It is the only way you will survive.

And you hate feeling the dreams come alive again - really, you do. It was easier when you felt nothing. But you think about those kids who won awards with you back in junior high, and you wonder what they have done with their lives - you know, you just know, that some of them are writers. And so you write, you try to make up for all those lost years, and you cry yourself to sleep because there is just no room to paint, no matter what anyone says - you already have no stove, there is just so little room - and you design a studio/gallery/home in your head because that's what you really want and one day you type those words on someone else's blog as a comment to a tale she has told - too scary to say them out loud on your own - and more dreams are loosened, and so you finally write them in your own little place. You tell the world. A place of your own or you will die - you want that place. You will build a tree inside, and around that tree will be a table for art lessons, art groups, art fun, and once every couple of months you will have a show, not just your stuff, but others' stuff, and you will be the judge and jury. You will live in the back or maybe upstairs and there will be a cat there with you. You can see it in your head - you can see it. Where the money will come from, you know not. But the words are out there, and let those who will laugh, laugh.

It is my dream, and it hurts to dream again.
But I feel alive.
and full of fear and hope


  1. I know you will.

    you are standing on your own
    fertile earth

    can't you feel the soil
    turning over....the seeds stretching,
    preparing to dance in the sunlight?

    your words tell me you do know.

  2. i can relate to this post so well.
    I, for one, believe your dream will become reality. it's too strong not to. and it sounds so wonderful - your art tree house.

  3. When a dream becomes so strong that you can no longer contain it, there is no other choice but to release it and let it flow where it is going to go. No comparing to others or wondering what they are doing now or who you were and didn't go -- finding the place where you are "now" is all that matters. You will go far!

  4. Do what you want to do, even tho there is no time and there is no room - yes there is no room, I take over the kitchen table, my little studio bedroom is a mess, I plan to take over the garage. It no longer matters to me if my house becomes a mess. My family has been raised I worked my years to pay the bills, and I'm still working my hours, but by finding time to create what I love
    my other work hours have become smaller, the art larger, and I no longer care what others think, just create when ever you can.

  5. dreams....what a special thing they are....never dying, only on hold, poking us a bit, until we grab them again and let them put some life back into us....

    your dreams will come true, I believe they always do.

    happy thanksgiving !!

  6. Brave Debi, those dreams will come true. I have faith that they will.

  7. You gorgeous woman you...you are UNFURLING!!!!!!!

    I read that comment, on *someone else's blog* and I found myself quietly rooting for you, cheering you on, although you didn't know it, and I will continue to hang out in your corner of the ring and watch you realise these dreams, which may not be dreams soon, but real, TANGIBLE things.

    Keep going..keep going!


come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .