Monday, September 27, 2004

I need a break 

We all dream, from an early age. It is an innate human urge. We dream of being an engine driver, captaining England, the perfect woman. Inevitably, these dreams die. Realism takes hold. We age and our dreams change: chairman of the board, the next big thing, the perfect woman. We get even older - are these things still what we want? Do we keep moving the goalposts out of reach, or do we chase dreams that we know we can catch? When we have caught them - then what? We admit to ourselves that the other ambitions are still out there - the old, familiar ones whose magnetism was so strong that they never really left. Then what do we let ourselves do? We can get up and get after them - really do it - commit time, effort, money. We can make a half-hearted attempt at it, but that's just a version of the third option, camouflaged. The third option is to give up. Drop it. You'll never score a century at Lord's. you'll never write that book. You'll never climb Everest. Is dropping that idea honesty or tragedy? I believe it is the latter. But you will fail. Sure. So what? Better to have dreamed and failed than to tremor in timidity. Stutter or stumble, but try. "What might have been" is worse than anything the world can do to you. When you stop dreaming, you start dying. Or worse, you start killing someone else, because you start dreaming for your kids. She will cure cancer. He will score that century. Don't let that happen to me. Let me go down dreaming. I don't want to be any other way.

I’m very lucky. Some of my dreams have come true. I’ve played at Twickenham. I’m living in Cape Town. I’ve married the perfect woman. I’ve got two great kids. These are all things that are a long time in the making. They did not come true overnight, and the same looks like being true of my current dream. The current is to write. Properly. Every time I go into a bookshop I fantasise about seeing my name there on the shelves, I fantasise about earning a living as a writer. I see this blog as a testing ground: the first draft of my dream. You heard it here first.

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