Monday, January 08, 2018

Sail Away

"I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had." - Come Sail Away, Styx
Way back when I first heard this song, I already had some childhood friends upon whose dreams I could reflect. When I was in high school, I was pretty sure that becoming Spider Man was a done deal in the lost dreams department. The guy down the street who had grown up playing basketball on his driveway had surrendered his vision of collegiate and NBA stardom. It was this time that brought out that first wave of dream killers: vocational counselors and picking a major. Have you ever considered just how many kids your age want to be a super hero? Your lack of super powers combined with a lack of available capital to finance something in the Batman vein suggests that you are angling to become a part of that slim margin of radioactive accidents that result in positive modifications to your genetics rather than simply melting your internal organs.
Oh, and you're not good enough to play varsity basketball in college.
So we started figuring out a way to make a living with the interests and skills that we had available to us when we were eighteen. I figured I would be an artist. That is how I chose to enroll myself in the college of my choice. And that lasted a little more than a year, coupled with a change of schools and a return to my hometown. I had some jobs then, running an Arby's and unloading trucks at Target. About the time I landed behind the counter at a video store, I figured what I really wanted to do was be a writer.
Ta dah! Here I am, more than thirty years later. Writing. Not for the paycheck but for the love of it. I teach school and I think of the dreams I had. In my childhood. And  now I have a son whose childhood dreams are being compromised. He is not going to be a train engineer. Not because he couldn't be, but because his dreams took him in another direction. It took him into theater arts, where he would build sets and run lights and sound and create a world to be inhabited by made up characters. Super heroes? Somewhere in there he got the idea that writing these plays might be a way to sustain those dreams. I have no idea where he to this idea.
I think of childhood. And dreams. Come sail away.

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