I’ve always been a dreamer. My head has always been in the clouds. As a result of all that cloud time, I’ve pretty much let down every dream I’ve ever had. I’m not proud of the fact, but it’s true nonetheless. As a kid and for most of my adult life, I dreamed of being an artist the likes of Michelangelo, Goya, or John Byrne. Instead, I sort of let my art and all it meant to me fall to the wayside. I’m not even sure when it happened. Just one day I decided not to pick up the pencil and shut down that part of who I am. I denied it for a good long while.
Here’s the thing about creative people. Creating isn’t a hobby, a job, or even an addiction to us. It IS who we are. We can no more stop totally being artistic than we can stop breathing. So, my desire to draw may have diminished but my mind went on dreaming without me. And, those dreams gradually created new pathways in my mind. New avenues for my ability to travel down. Of course, I was oblivious to all this taking place. I had too much on my plate being a husband and father to think about being an artist, let alone a writer. It takes a lot to fill those two shoes. You spend hours at a day job you mostly hate to bring the comforts your loved ones deserve home. If you’re lucky, they never realize how hard a job that is. Because it is a hard job, the hardest job I’ve ever had, but so worth the effort. I have only one regret. That I didn’t take the time to slow down and appreciate the little moments as much as I could have. I was so busy trying to be the perfect this or that, I missed the important part. Enjoying it. Sure, I had glimpses of genius and did enjoy it when I thought I had time. It was the other times I wish I could go back and recapture. That will be the regret that haunts me to my dying breath.
Now, I’m a writer. A new dream. A dream given to me by the woman who taught me what love is all about. My wife’s love is truly the reason I am able to write. As a teenager, I dreamed about what love would truly be like. Let me tell you. For the most part I got it wrong. Jenn educated me on the subject. So, true love might not be the dancing in fields and running down beaches every day of the week, but it is more satisfying than those fevered teenage what ifs. It’s also why being in love is the easiest and second hardest thing I’ve ever done. If you think Happily Ever Afters just appear like magic, you’re even more deluded than us artist types. HEA takes more commitment than anything else you want to do in life. The sad thing is the fiction, both the visual and literary mediums, that paints different pictures of what happens once the end credits roll.
That’s why when I write, I hate to paint that picture. Sure, I want my characters to be in love for the rest of their fictional lives. What parent wouldn’t? Because that’s what authors are. We give birth and agonize over every second of our fictional babies’ lives. I just don’t want to make it easy on them. Maybe that’s why I write series. I want to show true love as it really is. Nasty, messy and altogether too real sometimes. If you truly love someone, it’s worth every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears you throw at it. Sadly, sometimes it still might not even work out because that initial rush of hormones accompanying love doesn’t have the lasting power you think it does. My friends, that is real life. I know I write things supernatural and steeped in fantasy. It doesn’t mean I can’t be real about it.
So, what dreams are left to me? What is the dream that drives me to keep writing? It isn’t the bestseller list, if you’re wondering. With age has come some wisdom. I no longer look at dreams as impossible grasps for the brass ring. Dreams should be attainable. If not, you will end up with nothing more than a broken spirit for your trouble. So, to answer my own question. When I dream of writing, it isn’t for fame or fortune. Though, I wouldn’t turn either down. No, when I see success, I see a single person closing one of my books and saying, ‘That was one great read.’ Because, touching a reader, even if it’s only one, is more satisfying than seeing my name on some list in a newspaper I don’t even have delivered to my front door.
I leave you with one last thought on dreams. Never stop having them, but don’t let your dreams define your future. I think you’ll find as you grow older, you define your future and dreams just make it easier to see the happiness to come.