I remember the magic and wonder associated with the first snow of the season in Chicago.  As a kid, it was a time to build snowmen and make snow angels.  There’s a saying from the bible which, roughly quoted, says, “When I was a child I thought as a child, but when I grew up, I put away childish things.”  My question:  why?  Why not dream big, wish big, live big!

The author of The Last Lecture recommended that we excavate our childhood dreams, and pursue them again with all our heart and soul.  Upon first reading this, I thought, “Yeah, right.”  I had wanted to be a dancer, an actor, a policemen, and a priest (Not necessarily in that order).  In reality, I wanted to be famous in some sort of way.  That impetus has since died away a bit, but I still thirst to leave my mark on the world, showing that, yes indeed, I’ve been here, and my short time here has mattered. 

I’m now a writer who’s been accepted into Northwestern University’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing.  My dreams have morphed, but are still there.  I define myself as a writer in a Tony Robbins way of imagining your way into what you will become.  The power of positive thinking, or something like that.  It also helps to live in a small town, almost a village, where everybody knows your name, wishes the best for you, and keeps cheering you on.  It’s an adage that it takes a village to raise a child, and though I’m no longer a child, I find inspiration in everyone around me telling me that wanting to be a writer is a good goal to pursue, and not some silly whim.  One drawback, however, is that as people encourage you, they often volunteer to read your writing which, according to Stephen King, is a bad idea.  I worry about tailoring my writing to what I suspect other people want rather than pursuing the story itself and letting it lead the way.  At the very least, I realize I need to keep from showing family my embryonic efforts at putting pen to paper.

One other problem about living in a small town is that there is also prejudice against people who don’t fit in the mold, and, as a gay man, I’m a bit isolated.  The librarians and other people cheering me on are very sophisticated, but not everyone shares their belief system that everyone has a place and purpose under the sun.  I did attend one library board meeting, and one woman stood up to protest the appointment of an interim director, and mentioned that the temporary director is a lesbian, as a way of dismissing and discounting the director.  I sat right behind the lady in the audience in shock.  Others were quick to reassure me that not everyone feels the same way as the woman, and that she had spoken out of turn.  Still, once the words are circulated through the universe, they are impossible to take back.  The same principle applies to what you say to your family and friends.

Our longterm library director was abruptly let go after 20 years of service for no particular reason.  The board said they wanted to go in a different direction, but even though Bev had overseen the library’s transition from very small town to a much more progressive space, that had apparently not counted for much.  She had been named “Citizen of the Year,” but that didn’t help much either.  Remind me not to be nominated as “Citizen of the Year.”  I’d hate to suffer the same fallout, even with a book under my belt.  I hope Bev is still able to find magic in the season, and is able to excavate her childhood dreams to lead her in a new direction.

I guess my point about living out your dreams is that imagination is important and a good guide.  Let’s all look on this season with fresh eyes, and experience everything as new, just like a child playing in the snow, excited for Santa Claus and the whole Christmas season.

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