Sometimes I think it would be nice to be focussed.
I have a tendency to wonder through life feeling blurred, like a camera lens that has got rained on – lacking focus.
Like: there’s so many things that I want to do that I allow myself to be torn in all directions rather than choosing a route.
Back around 2003 I started writing a novel – it was based on a short story I had written some years previously. Partially due to some seriously bad planning, partially due to waves of self-doubt that would have wrecked the most steadfast of oil platforms and partially to the slow death of my old computer it is still sitting firmly in the pile marked “Incomplete”. The most annoying thing with this is that this time around I got to within four chapters of finishing the first draft when I realised I had to go back and start from scratch. Annoying or what?
Meanwhile: music. I know enough to know that I will never be a great singer, or even particularly good musician – but there’s a part of me that still wants to form a covers band: possibly Talking Heads, possibly Joy Division – commercially a BritPop (1990’s UK) band. I recently started a jokey Country & Western album, but the world may breathe a sigh of relief that Simon Cowell is unlikely to come knocking any time soon…
Then there’s the artist in me – who would like to be able to draw and paint to a much higher level – and the frustrated photographer. I’d love to do a degree in art, history or even art history but that ole bugbear of a mortgage keeps getting in the way.
My partner gets frustrated with me coming up with all these wild and weird ideas for making extra cash: I’ve considered being a celebrationist (non-religious weddings) but was put off by the political dogma, I would love to teach English as a second language, but have no qualifications (and can’t get the qualifications without teaching – talk about paradox) – or even teach Art, or Maths…Yeah I know – me and maths don’t get on together, but that’s why I should teach it: because I would know exactly where the struggling student was coming from.
Right now I’m looking into courses again – trying not to let the impossibility of it all get me down: most of the courses are in the day or require you to already be working in the industry, few have funding for those of us who have to work.
So I keep going – wondering when I’m going to work out where it is I’m heading…but maybe it doesn’t really matter whether I’m successful at these things?
I think the main thing to do is to keep on dreaming. Earlier this year I applied for a degree course that was right up my street – a study of English and Culture: no previous qualifications required, funding available, part time hours in the evening…I foolishly allowed myself to hope for a few minutes.
Then the reality kicked in: they wanted proof of my English A Level (despite having stated no previous required) – which I don’t know where it is: I argued that my Maths is more recent and more relevant, but they were having none of it…and even so I knew, right from the start, that it didn’t matter – because I honestly felt that I no longer had the freedom to dream. Everything has to be focussed on doing up my house, moving to a nicer area, starting a future: except that every step seems a little harder and slower than I thought.
I guess that ever since I saw that advert for that degree I have been coming to terms with a bereavement of sorts – because the death of a dream can be just as fatal…
And I have moments where it’s hard to believe in anything anymore: life does that to us all from time to time. We forget – the world doesn’t revolve around us and the realisation that others are too wrapped up in their own problems to notice yours can sometimes be hard to bear
Still: though my path may be crazy-paving I know that creativity is the reason I am here and it is what I want to do. Though my current role may be a thousand miles from this I have to hope that I will reach the correct turn eventually.
Last night I tried to explain to my partner why I liked the song “The Impossible Dream” – she has never heard the song, so couldn’t really get my point.
Some years ago, inspired by an episode of Quantum Leap, I read Don Quixote. It’s very old fashioned, quite rambling and hard going at times – but at the centre of the story is a man who has turned his back on reality and is living his dreams.
So for all of you who are finding the run up to Christmas, with its dark nights, cold mornings and endless adverts featuring Shakin Stevens too hard to bear I want to share the lyrics of “The Impossible Dream” from the musical of Don Quixote’s story – The Man Of La Mancha
Never give up: never surrender: believe in the dream and maybe the dream will believe in you.
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause
And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star