We were talking about struggling for a dream last night. Maybe it came from watching The Black Dahlia and immediately after the Hollywood auditions for American Idol. Actors and other performers have it bad. I don’t envy them, being rejected to their faces, sometimes, oftentimes, with a cruelty that makes those unsigned query rejections from literary agents seem like love notes.

“It must be crushing,” I said (while watching some girl sob). “Imagine being that crushed,” he said. And to that I said, “I have been that crushed.” And he said, “No, you haven’t.” And I insisted that I HAVE, and I won’t forget it.

Though… it’s true. Am I exaggerating even my rejections? I haven’t been completely and totally crushed as of yet—not told to never write a word again, not laughed out of the room. And maybe that’s why I keep dreaming.

Then my mother called. She wanted to know how I’ve been, how the freelance projects turned out, since it’s been so hard to get a hold of me on the phone. I was telling her about one thing or another—for example the opportunity to be considered for a high-profile project but then the editor told me she’s leaving the company this week and who knows what will happen with me now, probably nothing. This always happens to me, I complained, I connect with someone and then they leave the company. (It’s true—including this, it’s happened at least four times.) I complained some more, surely, and my mother listened, always on my side, and then she took a breath and said: “I know it’s been hard for you, believe me I know, but just imagine what it would be like without that dream. If you can’t keep trying, what would you have to live for?”

We know people who don’t have that. And I can’t imagine life without the desire to make your dream come true. It’s what gets me up early in the morning before work, like this morning, when I could have slept in an extra two hours. It’s what made me send out a batch of stories at the post office today to different literary journals. It’s the whole point of, well, everything.

And so here are the choices: 1) Try and stumble and give up and hide in a hole for the rest of my life, or 2) Try and stumble and keep trying.

I can’t help it… I choose #2.


  1. i think you missed my point…

    in the black dahlia (which was a terrible movie in my opinion), the actress had been turned down by absolutely everyone. she herself was not seen to have talent by anyone and she had, in a way, given up completely on herself. her dream had been crushed and she kind of accepted that (though she was willing to do anything in a desperate way).

    you on the other hand absolutely do have talent, are being recognized for that talent steadily, and know that your dream will happen one day and are working toward achieving that every single day.

    she gave up. you can and will not.

    there is a difference.

  2. The dream – I thought I had let it die, I thought that work and kids and “issues” and life had killed it while I was busy doing the laundry…but I was wrong. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to keep the dream alive and glimmering, even if it is in the distance.

  3. oh, this post emanates with me so much. I often say I’d rather have my dream (to be a successful freelance writer, to publish a novel, to write a play, etc) than to be one of those people perfectly content to get up, go to work, come home and watch tv – that existence the some total of their lives. I think my heart hurts more often than others, but mostly I think I am very blessed.

Comments are closed.