Sunday, June 05, 2005

A Start

"Our trueset life is when we are in dreams awake." I have a silver pendant inscribed with this Thoreau quote. It's a sort of talisman that I wear often, although I'm sometimes uncomfortable when people stare at my clavicle trying to decipher what it says. Strangely, they rarely actually ask me to tell them, and I just smile and offer a sociable segue from it. I'm not actually all that comfortable with a lot attention, especially if it means revealing something that really matters to me (then why, you ask, are you starting your own blog--more on that in a moment). And that quote does matter to me. I believe in it absolutely.

For over six years now, I live by my dreams. I write them down, I analyze them, I get analyzed by them in a dream group and in private dream work. I believe dreams are a profound guide to living the life we are meant to live. I think it's a great tragedy that they are ignored, misunderstand, and largely unregarded in our material-minded, superficial, see-it-to-believe-it culture. Hence the name of my blog, in dreams awake, which serves as a constant reminder to me of how I want to live. Welcome!

Once I chose this name, I thought it apt to actually find out a little something about that quote. Despite a master's degree in English Literature, I haven't really studied Thoreau, not in a long time, anyway, and not very mindfully. Is it that Thoreau is a writer who appeals to those who are more advanced on the path of life (ie, not in their twenties any longer)? Well, I'm reading him now, thinking all the while, How have I missed this? But it was while reading about him that I realized the name is a good one for other reasons: for Thoreau, of course, was primarily a journal writer. This quote, found on The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, says it nicely:

From 1837 to 1861, Thoreau kept a handwritten Journal that began as a conventional record of ideas, grew into a writer's notebook, and eventually became the principal imaginative work of his career. The source of much of his published writing, the Journal is also a record of both his interior life and his monumental studies of the natural history of his native Concord, Massachusetts.
I have always aspired to be a writer. I have many excuses for why that hasn't actually come to be my official life's work: family,the reluctant but successful spiralling of an unrelated and time-consuming career and the resultant lack of time, fear of criticism, etc. But I know that really the main reason is because I've limited myself. Thoreau led a life of great simplicity by choice and let his journalistic thoughts evolve into profound and thoughtful essays and classic works such as Walden. I have kept journals and recorded dreams and begun many a short story (and even two novels) for many years but have lacked the rigor and polish and discipline to finish my work and put it through a necessary revision process and really get it out there for others to read and respond to. (My husband, I know, is quite curious about eavesdropping on what I'm writing here--a chance to read those words I'm always clicking away privately and closing the window on when he comes up behind me.) Part of my reason for starting this blog is plain and simply to address my fear of exposure.

So this is my start. We'll see where we go from here.

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