Martin Luther King said, ““Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I love this idea. In my writing life, I try very hard to write about topics that will get my readers thinking and talking. I want to push them to join me in making the world better…in listening to our dreams.
Because our dreams matter.
***All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. -Walt Disney
***A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. -Colin Powell
***Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. -Edgar Allen Poe
Today, let’s talk about dreams. And listening to them.
This year, I learned that MLK spoke at my grandfather’s synagogue (he was the rabbi) and even shared a meal with my grandparents. My uncle found a recording of the speech and the great people at Northwestern University are restoring it and making it available in their archives. I can’t wait to hear what Martin Luther King said that day in 1958. I wish my grandfather had told me about it. I would have loved to know how he felt after meeting this great man. If he stirred something. If perhaps, he made my grandfather dream, too.
We all have dreams. Of a better world. Of grandeur. Of happiness. Some of this is visionary. Sometimes, we just want to be heard and understood. We want to connect with people who are like us and different.
This weekend, the night before I had to give a big speech, I dreamed that I lost my voice. It was actually a very strange dream. I was about to introduce Hilary Clinton! (I don’t know….I was in Iowa!) As I struggled unsuccessfully to be heard, I became more and more frustrated. I began to cry without making sound. At that point, I woke up in a sweat. Not being heard is something every writer knows something about. It’s probably why we began writing. Because we had something to say. Because something mattered to us.
The next morning, just before my speech, I met a young writer, a sixth grade girl. She asked me lots of great questions. That night, she sent me a lovely poem that she had written. I wrote back right away. I wanted her to know: I hear you. I see you. I know you. I respect you.
Dreams don’t become reality without hard work. But to stay motivated, we all need a little recognition.
Today, on this important day, I think it’s really important to remember to hear and acknowledge each other. It’s the first step to action. It’s the first step to being heard yourself.
So…if you are ready to stretch….LISTEN.
Reread a critique or ask for one. Or read something for someone else. Read it like a writer and tell that writer: I know you. I hear you. What you have to say is worthwhile. Call someone up and ask them how their writing is going. Call a relative you haven’t talked to in a while…
or walk without your phone.
or just sit quietly.
My life is made richer by these quiet moments. By listening. By hearing. By reading the words of my students and friends. Today let’s celebrate our dreams. Let’s recognize each other. Let’s listen to what others want.
I hope that for all of you; this is the year you have to pinch yourself. I hope all our dreams come true!