Monday, 24 November 2008

Catch A Falling Star

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.

Much love…

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


Anne-Marie said...

May be your dreaming IS your creativity?

I think I know what you mean, though. I have so many things I want to do with my life and if I think really hard about them, I know I probably won't get most of them done. Because real life [mostly in the form of having to earn a crust] gets in the way.

I hope you keep dreaming, and writing about your dreams here.

Buddha said...

That is common to all creative people - the scattered mind - if you were a logical, organized, meticulous mind you wouldn't be creative. Sic!
What you need is the force of habit.
Set yourself one hour a day to write - preferably first thing after you wake up - then you do it no matter what. Remember you are just forming a habit, what you write and how you write is superfluous at this moment.
Keep on doing it religiously until it becomes an habit.
Remember: Behind any failure there is a good excuse. Another blessing of intelligence, you can come up with the darnest best excuses.
So no excuses.
Also find yourself a partner that supports your dreams.

Lydia said...

"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…" That's a great quote, written by a creative person!
I am frustrated that the course that seemed perfect had that roadblock for you. Is it really a done deal, or can you take a test to certify an English A level-equivalency (does a program like that exist in the UK)? I still don't think you should give up on that particular dream.
Two more observations: I think that you are expressing your creativity in wonderful ways via your blog. and.
The house seems an albatross for you. Can you think of it instead as your giant easel or studio so that it becomes an example of your creativity, or an avenue to it? x

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Anne-Marie: i think you're right and i will keep on dreaming :)

Bhudda - yes. I heard a quote about people with Smart Brains And Fuzzy Brains - its the fuzzy brains that think up new things, but the smart brains that turn them to bad uses! Now that i have my computer i'm hoping to commit a lot more time to writing - expect to see some results in the coming months.

BTW - i didn't mean to suggest my partner isn't supportive - my partner is the only person who does believe in me. She may get frustrated, but she supports me and keeps me strong. Without her i think i'd probably have given up a long time ago.

Lydia- yes, i was offered the opportunity to spend a term doing a basic English course to prove i was at the desired level - but i was frustrated by the idea of this: having already got my A Level and having been unable to find somewhere to re-do my A Level i didn't want to go back to basics...

The house thing: i do sometimes regret moving to the area, but the reality is that i had little choice if i wanted a home of my own. I'm trying to clear out a lot of my old junk right now to make it a more user-friendly for my art

Honour said...

Pixie man -- you aren't perchance a gemini are you?

I love the song "Impossible Dream". My father is in his seventies and as a child, I used to sit by the piano and sing his favorite songs (or I'd play and he'd sing them). As a result, I know every show tune from the forties forward - and that's one of my favorite.

Keep on dreaming - and remember - the "success" of a dream (i.e. writing, art, music) is in your eyes, not in everyone else's. If a person who runs everyday calls themselves a runner, even though they don't win a marathon - why can't you be a writer/artist/musician - even if you never publish / produce / finish a piece???

You are involved and engaged - and that's more than the majority of humanity (in my opinion) ...take care :)

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

honour - thanks for the words of support...i guess that's what i'm striving for really: to be creative to a level where i am happy with the output!

Michael said...

I heard this, coincidentally, the day I finally found to read your post:

"A healthy person has 100,000 dreams. An unhealthy person has just one."

And then this appeared in another blog:

"Faith is believing that everything is OK. That's despite the human wish for things to be a certain way. Safe. Secure. It's got nothing to do with that. It's not just believing that everything will be alright, but that it is right at this moment. It's not magic, that's for sure, and it doesn't mean that everything will turn out the way this human being wishes. Trust and faith are, what's the word, intrinsically linked. I don't think you can have one without the other, but that's just a personal opinion. Without faith and trust life is, well, life is just a burden."

Anonymous said...

Is it possible for you to move to a smaller house so that you wouldn't have as many as the bills? As for the dreams, I'll just be repeating what I've said before and what Buddha has said above. The skills are accessible, but must be trained into you. You must make a habit of training yourself a little everyday. In everything you listed.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

michael - i like the quote from the other blogs, thanks for sharing

Samurai - the housing market here is such that the only way you can get on the property ladder is to buy a fixer-upper in a not-so-nice area...or go on the dole, have four kids and get given a free house and all your bills paid...lovely

But yes, i keep practicing

Lydia said...

We are both trying to clear out old junk in order to live more creative lives. How's it going for you? For me this is becoming a paralysis, nearly a neurosis. I just must gut it out and get going on the room upstairs. I have a second blog that I started to try to spur me on. So far, all it has served is my desire to look at a clutter free blog!