Dreams of the Dying

So I read an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the dreams of the dying and I thought about Dad.

Dad close upDad died a month ago, but for a few months preceding his death, we talked about dreams and otherworldly stuff.

He dreamed about his mother and a picnic and he asked me what I thought the dream meant. And I asked–as I always ask when interpreting dreams–how did you feel in the dream?

In the dream, he felt happy, contented. But upon waking, he was fearful. He thought the dream was about death. Specifically, his death. I rolled my eyes at his overly dramatic assumption, though if I’m being honest, I, too, felt it might have been his mother telling him to get ready. I didn’t want him worrying and fearful, though, so I made light of it.

And then in November, there was that song he kept thinking of–In The Garden–and you know I shared the synchronicity of that event and how, once again, I felt Mom was sending him and me a message.

So when I read the AJC article, it wasn’t news to me. I knew Dad’s own psyche and his many loved ones, had tried to prepare him for what was to come. I’m not sure I was as prepared.

I mean, I’m certain that at long last, he’s with my mom again, and that truly makes me happy. But I’m feeling a tad sorry for myself and missing him terribly.

And so I work. I worked up something for the Chicken Soup for the Soul book on synchronicity and if you have a similar story, I hope you’ll write about it, too. Not because getting in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book is awesome (though it is pretty cool) but because, sometimes, writing those stories can lift the clouds that envelop one’s soul in those darkest moments.

And a sweet dream would be nice, too.

Never Too Late For A Dream

So, Peter Pan.

I wrote about Oldest Junior Hall and his dream to see Peter Pan, a dream he’d had since he was just a little Peter Pan himself. And lucky him, the show came to The Fox Theater in Atlanta, and luckier him, his mother (that’s me) took him (and his sister) to the show. Childhood dream happily, wonderfully realized. Yay!

But that is not the story here. The story here is Cathy Rigby (who plays Peter Pan).

Honestly, when I saw that Cathy Rigby was playing Peter Pan, I was a little wary. I mean, I’m all for stamping out ageism, and keeping fit, but Cathy Rigby? How old is Cathy Rigby, anyway? I watched her do her gymnastics thing in the Olympics years ago. (I was but a wee, wee child.)

So I looked it up. She’s 59. FIFTY-NINE. Which by itself is no big deal. I know plenty of 59 year olds. But I don’t know any 59 year olds who can walk on their hands, do splits and cartwheels, flip into dozens of somersaults while FLYING, and sing at the same time.

I sat up there in my seat absolutely amazed. The fact that she could remember all her lines was pretty stupendous, but that she still had moves like Gabby Douglas was…I don’t even have a word for it. Inconceivable. That’s what it was: inconceivable. Even Oldest Junior Hall remarked upon it.

Now, Cathy Rigby didn’t leave gymnastics and immediately take up theater. Nope. She taught gymnastics and enjoyed a long career as a sports commentator, embarked on a seven-year stint in intensive theater and voice training, and then hit the boards as Peter Pan in 1990.  Talk about someone going after a dream.

So I watched Cathy and thought how in the world does that woman have the energy to hop all over that stage (and never once fall on her butt)? But I also thought it’s never too late to go after what you want.

What do you want in your writing career? It’s not too late to achieve your dreams–and you don’t need fairy dust, either. Just focus on what you want and the steps that will get you there. Then do it.

 (But I wouldn’t mind a sip of whatever Cathy Rigby’s drinking before those Peter Pan shows.)

Follow, Follow Your Dreams

Do you know the song, “Try to Remember” from the musical The Fantastiks? Jerry Orbach sang it when the show premiered in 1960…

I so love that song (and I kinda love Jerry Orbach, too, may he rest in peace). But I’m sharing “Try to Remember” today because we’re starting a new year.

“Deep in December, it’s nice to remember, although you know the snow will follow…”

(And yes, it’s January, but who can rhyme lyrics with January? Just follow me here, okay?)

“Try to remember when life was so tender, that dreams were kept beside your pillow.”

Did you want to grow up and write wonderful stories? Did you dream that people would read your novels and love ’em the way you loved a favorite book? When I was young and tender, I had those dreams…but I put them away for grown-up life and responsibilities. It was a very long time before I dug under my pillow and pulled those dreams out again.

And now I set goals to achieve those long-ago dreams. But unlike my dreams, my goals are concrete and very specific. For example, I write down “Read 5 books per month,” rather than “Read.” Or “Query highlighted agents in Guide to Literary Agents” rather than “Query.”

Of course, I don’t always accomplish my goals. But then I remember…

“Deep in December, it’s nice to remember, without a hurt, the heart is hollow.”

I pick myself up and start again. Because whatever your dream, it’s worth it.

“Deep in December, our hearts should remember, and follow. Follow, follow.”