Dream, Dream, Dream
by Debra H. Goldstein
Throughout literature and poetry, there are references to dreams. Some are the kind we experience when we sleep, but many are a wish, a goal, a hope we have. Whether one reaches out and grabs the gold ring or lets the dream be deferred is an individual decision.
For years, I dreamed of being a writer—but I didn’t do anything about it. Sure, I wrote skits for parties and meetings and very boring legal briefs and decisions, but I only gave lip service to my dream. The lip service often took the form of talking about an idea I had for a book to a dear friend or my immediate family. It wasn’t something I shared with the general public.
I was too embarrassed to talk about wanting to write because not doing it, to me, was an admission of failure. At the same time, I had a million reasons why I wasn’t putting pen to paper. I could tick them off on my fingers if you’d asked: a demanding job, raising four children, an easygoing husband who still needed some attention, aging parents, being the Girl Scout troop leader, my responsibilities on several community boards, and obligations to my friends. If these weren’t enough, I could always find something to add to the list.
At times, my friends and my family begged me to write or stop mentioning it. I began to internalize my dream, but still I did nothing. Finally, one friend challenged me to “leave the kids with Joel, come to the beach with me, use my condo for the weekend to write and if you don’t, never talk about wanting to write to me again.”
We went to the beach. I got up early and watched the sun rise and illuminate the water. The moment was beautiful, but my pen and paper remained unused on the table. And then, it dawned on me that what I was observing happened every day. There wasn’t an excuse made for the sun not rising or setting. Some sunrises or sunsets were spectacular; others not so much, but they happened.
I picked up my pen and wrote some words. My sun was rising. In that moment, I understood that if I wanted to be a writer, I had to do it with regularity and accept the fact that not every day would produce perfect words. That day, the words flowed out of me. During that weekend, I wrote eighty-five pages. Truth be told, as I often say laughingly, only five of those pages ended up in my first book, Maze in Blue, but I realized that weekend I could see a beginning, middle, and end to a book. The key was whether when I got back to the real world, I could force myself to sit down and fill in the words and pages still missing.
The answer turned out to be “yes,” but my writing was not like the sunrises and sunsets. It didn’t have regular times, it wasn’t uninterrupted, but it happened. There were times I went long periods without writing, but I knew that the only way to fulfill my dream was to pick up the pen and continue where I’d left off.
Some people say one doesn’t write unless one puts one’s bottom in the chair daily. That may be true, but it wasn’t for me. Instead, it was coming to terms with the fact that every day isn’t perfect for writing, but if the motivation is there, the excuses can be put aside to fulfill a dream.
Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (One Taste Too Many, Two Bites Too Many and the upcoming Three Treats Too Many). She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and IPPY winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place, have appeared in numerous publications. Debra serves on the national boards of SinC and MWA and is president of SEMWA. Find out more about Debra at www.DebraHGoldstein.com