A Figment of My Imagination – Daydreaming

Which comes first imagination or daydreams?

According to the dictionary they are synonymous.  Castles in the air… fool’s paradise… head trip… in a zone… mind trip… musing… phantasm… pie in the sky… pipe dream… woolgathering… whatever you call it, it’s daydreaming. If you have done it, raise your hand. If you still daydream, a mere thumbs up will do.

 

The Muse

Could “daydreaming” be at the root of an Artist’s Muse? I often say that I don’t have a Muse. I do not need external inspiration or motivation to paint or write. It’s like Artist Chuck Close has said, “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

 

I have always been a daydreamer.   For this discussion, I’ve come full circle… that’s where creativity enters my life.   Maybe I do have a Muse and just don’t know it. Oh well. I was raised on a farm although the first seven years of my life were in a small Kansas town. I was a loner, no one to play with. Aloneness morphs into daydreaming. What else is a kid to do while driving a tractor for hours and hours, and hating it. Daydreams were my escape from the reality of farming chores. I was my way of dealing with negative feelings.

 

Daydreams on the Farm

Some daydreams were somewhat unrealistic. I dreamed I was a quintuplet and had been adopted as my birth parents could not afford all five boys. I dreamed I was a millionaire. I dreamed I came from royalty and my birth parents wanted me to have a normal life. I dreamed of having a normal life, whatever that is. I most frequently dreamed of becoming a professional singer. I had started singing at a very early age, 4 or 5. I sang at school, church and social events, as well as entered every talent contest in our community. I received nothing but praise.

 

I Wanted to be a Singer

When I announced my aspirations, suddenly that praise was negated. It was gut-wrenching, at least I felt as if I’d been kicked in the gut. Parental comebacks followed: “You’ll never be able to make a living doing that. You need to be a teacher.” I was rebellious and majored in vocal performance in college. I eventually became a successful teacher, but after teaching for thirteen years I still daydreamed of singing. Guess what, it didn’t work out. Could the lack of support have anything to do with my lack of success? I went on to a corporate career as a manager.

 

Throughout the years, I have successfully tried other creative ventures. I acted in a number of community theatre productions. I took up creative writing. I taught myself to paint. I had to prove to myself that anything is possible. Now, I am a professional artist and I am writing this blog.

 

The Take-Away

The take-away for you readers, especially you parents, please do not discourage your kids from pursuing their dreams. Be their inspiration, be their Muse, if you will. Encourage them to dream big. Be their most supportive fan, and it will not only enrich their lives but also yours. I am thankful that I finally found creative niche.

 

“Dina” – A Documentary Film Following an Autistic Couple

A Film at the Sundance Film Festival

Each year at the Sundance Film Festival, my wife and I attend at least four films from a very diverse group, drama and comedy to documentaries. Yesterday, we attended “Dina,” a documentary following an autistic couple. When we selected this film, I did not realize that it was a documentary. At first, I was disappointed that it was in this category as I thought from the film description that it would be comedic. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely humorous moments.

   Throughout the viewing, I had some unanswered questions. Were Dina and Scott actors or were they an actual autistic couple? Could Dina and Scott be actors that were cast in the roles of an autistic couple? I decided they had to be damn good actors if they were. At first, the film moved rather slowly for me, however, it did become more captivating as it approached the end.

When the film concluded, a number of viewers quickly exited. My wife and I however stayed for the “Q & A.” It is always a treat to hear the writers and directors share their inspiration for a film. In addition, Dina and Scott were special guests onstage. They not only revealed much about the film but also their lives. The film was not scripted, but followed the lives of Dina and Scott, an actual autistic couple. In the film, Scott often responded with a grunt in agreement or a verbal “ahuh.” Likewise during the Q&A, he didn’t have much to say. Of course, Dina monopolized the microphone and was very transparent. She shined and called herself a “Diva.”

Dina shared several times that she studied acting, drama, and journalism in college. She also emphasized that she is a national public speaker. Not only was Dina very articulate, but also very inspirational.

The father of one of the directors had been Dina’s teacher. In fact, she had babysit that young man. The father had since passed, but the son stated he had known Dina his entire life. He had become Dina’s mentor.  TaDa! The film was born out of life experience.

Shame on those people who left immediately after the conclusion. They missed so much. Dina and Scott were also in the lobby afterwards. It was our pleasure to tell Dina how much we loved the film and that we find her very inspirational. For the many people who view autism with derision or mockery, shame on you. Take a ruler and smack your hand, better yet your mouth.

My wife and I are ready to see “Dina” again. I encourage you readers to see “Dina.” To Dina and Scott, I say thank you for sharing yourselves and best wishes to you both.