This morning I am going to sort out my file folders. This is a task I have carefully avoided for months going on years, but the hot weather keeps me housebound, and this is as good a time as any. Here the folders lie, stacked in piles on my desk with more in the file cabinet nearby, all doomed, as Macbeth would have it, to dusty death.
Such hopes I had for everything crammed into these folders. Such wonderful ideas, provocative articles, snippets of information that would have made excellent stories, articles, or even a book or two! Yes, I would think, poring over a magazine or newspaper, I can use this for the basis of that book idea…oh, yes, this is excellent! But somehow, the enthusiasm waned and the dream of a book was lost.
Perhaps there is a place where lost dreams go, a limbo of the imagination where once-great plans and unrealized dreams wander aimlessly about. Doubtless this imagined place has the look of my desk.
Is that a cobweb
twining about old papers
faded by the sun?
So many dreams go by the board, don’t they? Sometimes they drift away because of unavoidable circumstances—ill health may play a hand, or lack of funds. Common sense keeps us from blowing all our life savings to fund an expedition to the far corners of the earth, and simple decency forbids that we leave our families in the lurch while we decamp to ‘follow our star.’ So the dreams are put away while life goes on.
But they persist. They lie in the stillness of our hearts and wait to be remembered. The old gardener who worked for my mother once told me that he had always wanted to pilot a plane and soar high up in the sky. The mother of a friend secretly wished she had become an opera singer. One of my former high school students wanted, beyond anything, to go to a famous culinary school—but his grades weren’t good enough. And then there are the people I meet who tell me that they intend to write a book that would knock the socks off the literary world, only they just don’t have time. But someday…
‘Someday,’ sadly, is usually a myth. ‘Tomorrow, friend, tomorrow… and tomorrow never comes,’ my uncle used to quote when I dithered and procrastinated. He was right, of course, because there are so many among us who have followed and mastered their dreams, sometimes at incredible cost. The athletes who persevere even when they have lost the use of their limbs, the poets and writers and artists who doggedly persist in believing in themselves and their art, the blind mountain climber who scaled the highest peak in the world, those courageous people who daily battle pain and disease and somehow reach their goals—all of these and more have seized the day and realized their dream.
Well, here I am, duly chastened and ready to work. In fact, I am opening the first dusty file folder right now. Before me lies an article dated—can it really be dated 1995? It is a good article, though, and this is a provocative idea. Modernized, energized, it could even work. I should write a story around it, perhaps even a book…
I may have to start a new file folder.