Friday, January 1, 2010

Dreams and Details

What is your next step forward in life?
It's the one right in front of you.

DB - The Vagabond
I've written once or twice about my teacher and mentor, Edward. He was a difficult man sometimes but he was a theatre person who really knew his stuff. I learned half of what I know from him. In fact I learned too much. I was innocent enough to think that all the directors and teachers out there were as knowledgeable as he was.

I had signed up to work at a summer theatre under his direction and the very first thing he said to me, my first lessen one might say was "Can't you find something to do?" That comment set a top spinning inside me which has never stopped.

I awoke at 6:30 this morning full of enthusiasm for the days possibilities. But after a few sips of coffee I was at my desk paying bills. What a banal, hum drum and depressing thing for an exciting and inspired artist and charismatic philosopher such as myself to be doing. (Just kidding.) I had to do that because I was going out briefly and would pass a mail box. There won't be much in the way of postal delivering going on tomorrow. One of the items I mailed was a check to the post office, to buy more stamps so I can pay more bills.

Is this what life is about, I wondered? The answer, of course, is yes. Life is details, "dumb things you gotta do." But those dumb things are also freeing things. In among all of them is a grid of hopes, dreams and plans.

As a result of Edward's comment and how it set me spinning I'm busy all the time. I want to write, paint, read and think. Now I'm writing and there are dirty dishes in the sink. They'll get done. The writing has to wait while I do the dishes, why can't the dishes wait while I do the writing. Do everything with care and precision. Don't rush through anything to get back to something else. I almost never take a break. While I'm writing the cigarette is burning away in the ash tray, the coffee is getting cold in the cup. I'm like the family dog, if I take a break I take a nap. Moment by moment I feel as if I'm not getting much done, but at the end of the day I often amaze myself by how much I accomplished.

The point is this, the detail may be inventing the perfect phrase to express a profound idea, finishing a painting that may someday be very important in someone's life, putting the right facts together in the right order to solve a complicated scientific or technological problem, discovering another planet, doing the laundry or walking the family dog. If you hold on to the big dream, the master plan, the wide and colorful objective of your life, it will hold on to you no matter what you're doing. And everything you gotta do is another thread woven into the tapestry of your interesting life. And the most important thread is the one right in front of you.

May you have a joyful and fulfilling year. Tell me about it.

DB - The Vagabond


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Happy New Year friend :o)

pacifica62 said...

Your entry today brought a big smile to my face. Yes, why is it that people destined for great things have to concern themselves with paying bills, doing dishes and scrubbing toilets. Seems to be a waste of time that could better be used doing loftier tasks. I think "those dumb things you gotta do" keep us human and help us to keep life in perspective -- not too full of our own self importance. They keep us rooted in reality so to speak, but they never hinder our dreams. Happy New Year DB

Anonymous said...

I've decided that you will not be allowed to die.(I've got connections, you know.)

So, grit your teeth and dig in for the long haul, my friend.

Your daily postings must continue ad infinitum. Sorry. Too many people will be lost without them.
I know I'll be lost without them.

Humbly submitted with love, eternal one,

René said...

Great post DB, I usually end up doing the opposite, finding something not to do. I've been doing a lot of vegetating on the old couch. HAPPY 2010 mon ami.

Beth said...

Wonderful, as always, D! For me, it's a matter of looking at the big picture. Yes, the details can be humdrum (and they say the devil is there, you know, heehee), but it's all parter of the grander scheme. Happy New Year, my friend. Here's to good things ahead! Love, Beth

Ben said...

Great, thought provoking post as usual. Dreams don't pursue themselves, and if we wait till there's time to act on them we'll never act on them.

Happy New Year, DB.


Lori said...

Very nice essay on life, DB! I'm glad you keep busy and enjoy life. It's reality that most of our lives are made up of those "dumb things we gotta do", and the simple joys that come just from day to day living.