Monday, January 16, 2012

Still dreaming?

Some who read this, on the 83rd anniversary of Martin Luther King’s birth, may have given up on the “Dream Speech”. Some may think the dream has come true. I’m still dreaming in Kansas City.

It’s a day to celebrate and remember. People gather to remind one another of the content of that dream and add to it with their own stories. I’m still dreaming.

While we may not be there yet and the “there” remains undefined, I feel it’s a journey worth traveling. I think we’re on a train that’s moving; too slowly perhaps, but moving. Events can halt the train at times. Desperation arrests and chokes the engine of change. Apathy makes the cargo heavier. I’m still dreaming.

Dreams consist of memories as well as visions of the future. I believe those memories we have belong to this dream at an individual and collective level. Some, like me, can remember watching King’s speech on TV. Some marched. Some reading this were there. Many have heard the stories, watched the films, listened to the recordings, read the transcripts, or watched the lips of someone old enough to relate the dream from a first-hand perspective. I’m still dreaming.

It could be an interesting exercise in awakening to take a copy of that famous speech, cut and paste it into a document, maybe print it, and add our own dreams, adjectives, and phrases to it. I used this as a writing exercise with my students when I taught at the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center. The students enjoyed it and taught me a great deal. I wrote with them. They added practical dreams as well as conceptual ones. And still I dream.

Dreams, like our Constitution, speeches like King’s, serve as roadmaps for a journey. True, they’re written artifacts, but they are in essence dreams captured for posterity. What gives them posterity is the white (dream)space between the printed black script; dreams are not black and white. If you’re in the mood today, take some time to think and write. It’s a lonely silent activity, but in the end you make something, you give yourself the opportunity to literally see what you think. I’m still dreaming.

…see what you think.

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