Tuesday, 29 December 2009


In the flier I made for the Artists Way study group, I used a quote from Julia Cameron which uses the idea of 'dreams'. It's interesting that I chose this, because on the whole I find the correlation between the need to create and the idea of 'dreams' quite problematic. I think I liked this quote because of the idea that people might actively be striving to be 'grey, controlled and dreamless'. And I liked the idea that despite our best efforts to be grey, something vital and burning might nonetheless be  insisting within us, refusing to stay buried beneath that pile of winter leaves...

A lot of the creativity books talk about 'your dreams'. I hate this. The idea of  'dreams' links into disapproving cultural discourses which express their cynicism with phrases such as 'she's a dreamer', 'oh, that's just a dream', and 'when is he coming to come back (down) to reality?'. These discourses express, and create, the assumption that life is 'really' difficult, disappointing, and limited. Anyone who believes otherwise is 'away with the fairies', or perhaps unfairly privileged ('it's alright for him, he hasn't got children...').

But dreams are really no different to imagination, and we all imagine our lives into being every day. How could we  become 'a provider for the family' or 'a hard-working researcher' if we had not at some point imagined this as a way of being, perhaps even as a life that we freely 'chose'? 

The dismissive discourse of 'dreams' provides the censoring mind with an effective stick with which to beat down those things that rise up in the night, or hover at the edge of our vision.

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