Dreams Deferred

14 thoughts on “Dreams Deferred”

  1. I felt a bolt of electricity through my chest when I read, “you, Linda, are not exceptional. You could not possibly have created this work.” I know that voice! For me it’s worded a little differently, “Who do you think you are, Tia? What could you possibly have to offer that someone else couldn’t do better?” I have had so many wonderful teachers encourage me in my talents, but those voices of dismissal and derision are so persistent. (Oh and you are right about thwarted talent being fattening!) I love reading your story. Maybe if we keep telling our stories those demons will be drowned out finally.

    1. They have gotten much quieter, but still whisper in my ear from time to time. Have you ever read “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron? She talks a lot about creative monsters and how to exorcise them. If we were close to one another, I’d suggest we work through the book right after our weekly coffee.

      1. I know of the book. I may have started to read it once. I don’t think I got very far, though. Or maybe it was a different book by her that I read. I’m going to go check the library website.

  2. i love you, linda…every time i read what you write.

    i was also accused of having my mother ‘help’ me on artwork. second grade…we were to make a map of the united states. my mother had taught me how to mix salt, flour, and water to add a third dimension to stuff. i drew and colored the map on a piece of shirt cardboard (dad’s shirts were wrapped around them when they came folded and packed in a blue cardboard box from the cleaner’s). i decided to make the mountain ranges with the glop…higher and pointy for the rockies..lower and rounded for the appalachians…using a toothpick to sculpt. i applied a paint brush to the tops of the rockies with the darkest purple i could mix. “purple mountain majesties”, after all. my mother was also called to confirm she did not have her hand in the work. how could i tell my teacher i always held my breath if my mother ever watched over my shoulder while i was engaged in a project..waiting for her criticism to deal me another death blow. collaborate? never!

    i loved miss collins too. ‘island of the blue dolphins’ was my favorite book to listen to…i put myself in the story and wished i lived on the island…parentless. we were taught our multiplication tables that year. numbers were gibberish to me. miss collins said i was on the road to a grade of ‘D’. she suggested i stay after school while she took it upon herself to tutor me privately on the memorization. i loved her more than my mother then…we brought the grade up together.

    while a junior in high school in the english club, my sister had decided to drastically upgrade what was the club’s yearly ‘silver pen’ publication and turn it into ‘obbligato’. ambitious plan..but where to get the funding? rob mcdowell, student director of athletics at the time, had access to the athletic fund. without consulting the coaches, he transferred $15,000 from the athletic fund into the literary fund. (after the money was spent on printing the obbligato, he was called on the carpet by the outraged coaches and soundly kicked off the basketball team). oblivious to all these machinations, i was happy my sister delegated me to be in charge of every art aspect. i loved making all the decisions about size, colors, fonts, submissions, making photographs…and not having to answer to any authority. i flew with it, even deciding to hand silkscreen each cover. with tom recchion’s help, we silkscreened 1000 covers, hand numbered them, and laid them end to end to dry on miss aprato’s apartment floor. when the magazine came back from the printer’s and we were all gathered round to see the end result, their delivery man, i assumed, asked which one of us had been in charge of the art production. after learning it was me, he asked “how would you like a job?” i thought he was joking. i was instantly terrified…”i couldn’t possibly be good enough..i’m only in high school”. what an opportunity missed…i would kill to relive that day and say “yes!”

    i, too, am enthralled with grandma moses. i thought, “that will be me. i will finally make art when i’m 100”. i have several of her prints and biographical books. turns out she decided to get into painting when her eyes started to fail her…she could no longer do justice to the delicate embroidery work she had spent years perfecting. when i visited my high school friend, jim lindstrom, two winters ago to volunteer my services for his log cabin improvements, i was mainly interested in seeing grandma moses country in southern pennsylvania where jim lived. i totally got it…the endless hilltops…exactly as painted in grandma moses landscapes of farm houses in countryside.

    always freaks me out to hear how similar our trials and tribulations have been….we must have been twins in a womb in a former life. would be interesting to hear your theory. i remember having strong feelings about you when first we met. we were both talented…equally, i thought…but having the idea that all people could be loose cannons, i was afraid that you would squash me like a bug if you had the whim. i still have the idea that people can be loose cannons, but i am much better at discerning who is harmless and who to give a wide berth.

    am so glad you’ve had such success in your artistic career. me? yet to get started…time flies by and i know it is NOT a good idea to defer one’s dreams. but have the grandma moses life as a template…i’m only 62 and there are several decades left yet to ‘get started’.

  3. Oh, Christy: It makes me sad that we didn’t become friends all those years ago because we probably could have been such strong allies for one another through the years and offered so much support through our crazy lives.

    I remember making a map of California (?) with salt dough in fifth grade. And YES! I too wanted to be Karana. That book was spellbinding. That was SO brave of Robert, and clearly foreshadowed where his passions lie. I had more than one of those “do you want a job?” moments, and finally said yes when I went back to school at 30. I worked as a production artist at the LaCanada Valley Sun and later, when I transferred to CSUN, as a graphic artist in the in-house Printing, Information and Graphics Services (P.I.G.S) where we produced all school-wide collateral. Our boss (still my friend) had a massive collection of pigs (for obvious reasons) all over the office.

    We both wound up in the northwest, so it is high time that we forge this friendship and start our late-blooming art careers, don’t you think?

  4. Sadly, I was never accused of having help because a stick figure is all I ever could manage, but one of these days, maybe I’ll pursue art. I loved this piece Linda, and I hope you felt peace and freedom as you wrote it. I have always thought you were, and still are, one of the most talented and intelligent people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Keep up the art, the accolades will continue to pour in!

    1. Dear Nadya, wipe your tears. The big lessons are learned from the hard times, but I have had a blessed life too in myriad ways. I believe in the adage by George Eliot, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

  5. Such an inspiring post. Thank you for the reminder that everything we do for and to our children matters. Always. And also, that for ourselves, we can write our own futures at any time. And right NOW is any time.

    1. Every slight and every celebration matters. The scary thing: my 25 year old often allows the negatives from her dad (who left when she was 22 months old) overshadow all the loving, protecting, cheering, and celebrating I’ve done (she does remember my nagging with crystal clarity). From what I can tell from my 30,000 view, you have lucky (and beautiful) children and you are all going to be fine.

      And YES! it is never too late to follow a dream. I am a late bloomer in myriad ways, so just keep moving forward.

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