The first time I heard the heart-wrenching ballad, “Here’s to the ones who dream” from the movie La La Land, I cried.
I didn’t cry because of the acting. Although it was good. I didn’t cry because of how the ballad displayed the character’s resilience in a story of apparent failure. Although it definitely did that.
I cried because it resonated with me as a dreamer.
I have always been one to daydream. Sure, I can be as grounded and present as the next person. But leave me to my own devices, and I will be prone toward daydreaming.
I think dreamers get a bad rap. Society praises the doers, the achievers, the action-takers in our midst. Dreamers are recognised insofar as they have produced something tangible.
But here’s the thing. Producing is the end of a long creative process. It has to start with daydreaming.
It has to start with daydreaming.
All too often we are quick to jump from the idea bit (the start) to the producing bit (the end). We tend to skip over the middle bit with the pondering, the brainstorming, the playful imagining.
Daydreams are countercultural. They defy the normal pressure to produce and perform. They happen in the land of what is possible. It is not a place of work but of play. Perhaps we, as adults, often feel obliged to skip the play and get on with the work.
I can relate to that.
Which is weird, because I know daydreaming is a vital part of creating. Imagination, fantasy, spontaneity, flow, childlike playfulness, abandon, even recklessness, are all part of creativity. They are part of art.
Imagination, fantasy, spontaneity, flow, childlike playfulness, abandon, even recklessness, are part of art.
Imagine if J.R.R. Tolkein had never dreamed up middle earth. Or if C.S. Lewis had never played with his original image of Narnia (Tumnus the Faun trotting through the snow).
Just imagine the hundred-acre wood bereft of Winnie the Pooh and his friends.
Or the stars without any wars.
Take any of your favourite created worlds and imagine them without the magical touch of the creator’s imagination.
We need dreamers who get lost in their thoughts, who disappear for hours at a time. Dreamers are not wasting time. They are playing. They are creating. They are building stories, characters and new worlds for us to explore.
We need dreamers who get lost in their thoughts.
Creative time is never a waste. Sometimes I, as a writer, feel the pressure to produce words on the screen. The words prove that I have been productive, or so I believe. When I have not produced words, it can be disheartening. My heart physically aches as I dream for the words yet to be.
But creating is not just about writing words. It is also about mental freestyling.
Imagine if God had felt constrained in his creation of the world. Imagine if all the fishes were the same, all the trees conformed to a single structure, and the sunrise was the same colour every morning. Instead, he let his imagination run wild. And he is still creating.
God let his imagination run wild. And he is still creating.
We are made in his image. I would rather be like God, constantly dreaming, constantly trying new things, constantly taking risks.
In that space of no rules, where there is no right and wrong, where characters have minds of their own and the laws of physics flee, we are creative. We are liberated. We are free.
Here’s to the ones who dream.
Are you a dreamer? Where do your dreams take you? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.