Underneath the concrete, the dream is still alive

It was Sparrow and Kea’s baby shower this past Sunday. They’re having a little nestling soon. I saw Miss DeLoop and so many other lovely people from all chapters of their lives. Such a loving day. The weather cooperated, even. And although there was much wine present, no one got ugly. So different from my family, where fights break out, and someone will stop talking to everyone else for at least seven to ten years, just like a prison sentence, except the judge puts himself in solitary confinement.

Who else is betraying themselves in their sleep?It was a lovely day, and a lovely party. I was late by an hour an a half (Miss DeLoop knew I would show!). I was trying to finish the Spiderman blanket. I didn’t get it done, but I did get to tell Sparrow and Kea it was for them after all. They’d seen me knitting it for months and months and months and were quite surprised. I was surprised they were surprised. So everyone was shocked.

First I had to catch up with Miss DeLoop, though. I think I’ve told you she’s an aerial acrobat. I’ve only seen her perform once in person, and she’s fucking awesome. She grew up dancing, so she has amazing stage presence. But I was never surprised when she ran away with the circus. Her dreams have always been watered and cared for. Same with Namaste. She grew up to be an actor, and has lived all over the country doing stage work. She’s in Tahoe right now, doing Twelfth Night. Living in Brooklyn, and a paid summer, working in Tahoe. Sounds sweet.

So many of my friends, we were always told that we were good enough, talented enough, smart enough, driven enough, and that we could achieve whatever we wanted. If we didn’t get that at home–keeping it real, not all of us did–we were able to surround ourselves with family of choice (that means friends and mentors) who could give it to us. Consequently, we still dance, sing, paint, write, act, draw, create–whatever we do, we believe in ourselves and we encourage each other. For some of us, the dreams are still unfurling and expanding, and we’re still taking the uncertain steps out into the unknown. I didn’t know I could be a writer, for reals for reals, and it seems to be happening really quickly. But for some, like Miss DeLoop, the life of a dreamer has always been the way to go. At least, that’s the way it looks from the dugout. I don’t really know how it feels from the inside.

So I worked on the blanket at the party. I’m really trying to finish it before school starts Monday! And, of course, a lot of people wanted to talk to me about it. It seems knitting was a fascinating craft with this crowd. I kind of take it for granted that it’s run-of-the-mill, because there are some crocheters (did I ever tell you? How excited I was when a British lady pronounced crochet “crotch-it” to me, and I thought that’s how it was said in the Queen’s English for about ten hours, until my friend the Kiwi said she was just an idiot? Yeah, that was a great ten hours) who are often around me when I’m working on it, so it seems far less mysterious.

What was strange and pulled my heart down all soggy in the corner were two women who talked to me separately about my knitting. I always tell people I’ll teach them to knit, usually in response to them asking me for a garment or object. But neither wanted anything from me, save the experience of watching me.

“It’s so soothing. You look so satisfied. So calm.”

We talked for awhile. Both of them had decided it was too late for them to really be happy. One had the soul of a painter and the other used to write, but both believed that dreams do die, and in their early fifties, it was too late for them. Instead, they wanted their nieces and nephews to realize their dreams. They didn’t want to be the dream assassins their own elders had been. They saw their roles as providing financial means and encouragement for the next generation to do what they wanted.

I’m here to tell you it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it to chain yourself to your desk everyday while the vultures come and peck out your dreams. The dreams will grow back and nag you, especially when you’re old. And the next generation? They can fetch their own damn fire. The past generation, the one you’re maybe taking care of, too? Stop listening to their bullshit lies. You’ve heard them long enough. Tell the little ones to grow the fuck up, the old ones to shut the fuck up, and buy yourself a fucking easel. Claim some time for yourself. Just a few hours a week. That’s it. When you lay dying, you’ll never wish you’d cleaned out your email inbox every week. You’ll never wish you were safer. You’ll never wish you’d taken fewer vacations.

I’m not giving up on you. I will keep swiping at those goddamned birds until I get them. I don’t think I’m descended from a god, though, so it may take me a minute. It’s just easier if you stop putting on the fetters and shackles. I’m not judging; I’m just saying. I will be here until you’re ready. Hey, it took me a minute. And it’s never too late.

I love this movie, True Stories. Watching it, I realized how good an actor John Goodman is. Anyways, it’s got all the songs from the album (maybe it’s the other way, the album has all the songs from the movie) and it’s exactly what you would expect from David Byrne. It’s random, and endearing, and beautiful. And this clip often makes me cry, but that’s also because of the emotional ties I have to the time in the past when I first saw this movie. It’s a nostalgic cry.

Talking Heads — “Dream Operator” (1986)


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