I would have been only 9 when I first heard the track, Dreamer, on my brother’s Supertramp album, Crime of the Century. We listened to that album over and over sitting on orange, faux-velvet sofas, feet in the brown, shag-pile carpet, looking out at sunsets or rain over the Welsh hills. That particular track still now brings me fondly close to him even as I hear a little sting in the lyric “silly little dreamer”.
For as long as I can remember, boys and men in my life have called me a dreamer. Impractical. It felt like a shot across my bows, meant to disabuse me of the way I used to see how the world could be, how I could live my life believing in the goodness and love I chose to see in people or situations. That was considered childish and frankly ridiculous to others.
But I also remember being told, “Nothing’s lost on you, is it?” when I observed and felt things acutely. Even when sensing irritation in the voice, I took that phrase as a compliment and now even more so as I stumble upon the Henry James quote; “A writer is someone on whom nothing is lost”.
Unaware as I was then, I do believe my dreamer self was seeing, wondering and envisioning through the lens of an artist; in my case a poet. Things touched me as a poet, I observed and listened as a poet but I did not yet have the confidence to produce poetry, write down those thoughts. I thought I had to stifle them in order to succeed in life, as success was labelled and lived around me.
Now as I walk slowly and feel the warm air on my face, feel an affinity with the faces of the happy tall daisies in the long grass at the side of the path and take time to watch the bee up close, I label these moments “success”. This success is not earning me money, but it is delivering a smile to my face and an idea to share. Perhaps and hopefully, taking this time is a form of apprenticeship and as I dream I bring something worthwhile into the world.
As do you.
In this moment in our culture’s history, we need dreamers. We need all the kind people we can get who are willing to be creative and lovingly dream us into a new way of being. This practical, productive predominance has run its course as the sole and commendable route to “success”. We need to envision something else. We need to join those who have already been declaring and attempting their dreams in this material world and stop mocking them, stop casting them aside, stop side-lining artists as the creators of pleasant entertainment in order amuse and soothe us as we grind out more goods, sell our soul to the economy and watch our planet’s destruction.
Today, I recommend dreaming-up how you would like your life to be. How you would like the world to be. Or your tomorrow. Start in close and dare to dream.