In which I explore the nobility of following a dream with the aid of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe.
An English teacher told me once I would never be a writer. At the time I didn’t listen because I thought I was going to be an actress, but those words stuck with me. When I finally realized that I had stories inside me (I had just been acting them out instead of writing them), I remembered what that teacher had said, and ignored her. I had a dream to pursue.
All artists have much in common. We pursue dreams. We aren’t always successful, depending on your definition of success (yes, that’s one of those words where the definition can mean different things to different people despite having an entry in the dictionary). Many of us don’t make money, many of us have day jobs because we can’t support ourselves with our art, many of us have other responsibilities. So we worry about being real artists, but if you valiantly make the effort, don’t worry. The pursuit of the dream is as noble as the dream itself.
Think about it. If you dream about being a writer or whatever, and you do nothing to achieve that dream, then it’s a nice fantasy, but little else. But if you are actively writing (or whatever), and learning, and trying, and submitting, then you are as valid a writer as Ms. Bestseller whose 400th book comes out next week (there is that propensity for hyperbole again). The pursuit of the dream is as noble as the dream itself.
I’ve put Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “Eldorado” here, because it embodies this ideal. A knight spends his whole life searching for Eldorado, but in vain. It’s a poem about perseverance. Yes, he fails, but look at that last stanza. As the knight is dying, he meets a ghost, and the ghost tells him to keep on. “Ride, boldly ride.” That doesn’t sound to me as if the ghost is trying to dissuade him from his quest.
So go on. Ride.
Books I’m reading now:
Tears of the Rose by Jeffe Kennedy
Harry Potter und die Kammer des Schreckens by JK Rowling