Embrace Your Dreams in 2012

This holiday season I re-read the play A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry.  It was the most complete edition, putting back several scenes that had been eliminated in earlier printings.

The characters are truly amazing, three dimensional, full of verve and vigor and have remained in my head as vibrant characters who I feel I know well. The story raises so many questions about identity, justice, and moral responsibility, and although the play was first produced in 1959, and one that changed American theater forever, it is a story that relates well to current times. A back cover quote says it better than I can:

“A play rooted in its own time that speaks through the years to our own.”  ~Chicago Tribune~

The story spoke to me on so many levels. I think the human condition does not change that much from one generation to another. Technology does, but the heart, not so much. And a full heart knows nothing of race, color, or creed.  The story asks the question: What happens to people whose dreams are constantly deferred? I like to imagine that those same people grow stronger and more determined. But do they? Can they? How many well intentioned people crumble under the weight of never attaining the heights that they set out to attain when young and innocent and sitting around in a dorm room philosophizing and planning for a better future? And how many never made it to the dorm room in the first place?

Lorraine Hansberry unfortunately passed away at much too young an age, a mere 35 years old.  She was a pioneering African-American playwright who wrote from the heart with no embellishment or sentimentality. She told her story with such authenticity that her characters almost leapt off the page. I remember seeing an excellent PBS production of A Raisin in the Sun some years ago and wish it would replay. I have never seen a Broadway production of the play, but it if it comes my way I’ll be the first person at the box office.

And here, the poem written by Langston Hughes on the topic of unrealized dreams:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat

Or crust and sugar over—

Like a syrupy sweet?

 

Maybe it just sags

Like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I think dreams are necessary, like learning, because when you stop dreaming and learning then you shrivel up and dry out like the raisin in the sun. Dreaming can keep the creative juices flowing, the zest for life active, and the body and mind alert. To my mind having no plans and dreams and wishes would be to give up on life’s miraculous journey. What about you? What are your dreams?

 

Want to reach for the stars? For 2012 I say chase those dreams, don’t defer them, don’t squash them or shove them into a shoe box and store them under the bed or high in the closet. Don’t let them explode and disintegrate. If you have been hiding your dreams, get them out. Blow off the dust. Give them a shake and see what happens. Take a risk. Write them down. Turn them into goals. That’s my plan, anyway.

My wish for you:  The realization of your dreams, and a happy and healthy New Year.

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12 Responses to Embrace Your Dreams in 2012

  1. This is a lovely post, Robena! I never knew where the title of Raisin in the Sun came from. I’m on a play kick right now, and will definitely read that one. Okay, my mind is all over the place – but I agree, it’s time to dust off your dreams. Because if nothing else, your life will come alive as you strive to reach for the stars!

  2. Robena Grant says:

    I read plays when I’m thinking about characters. A play uses minimal props and setting, so it’s stripped down. The character makes the story come alive. Love that!

  3. Beautifully put, Robena. I love your blogs!

    I never even knew I had a dream of being a writer. I had dreams of being a dancer and actress. LOL (Doesn’t every young girl?) Life tamed me and taught me how to be strong, how to be steady. I worry about some dreamers with their feet never quite touching the ground. You see, when your feet hit the ground you can push off again and dream/fly even higher!

    Deferred or postponed – dreams are treasures we all need to allow ourselves.

  4. Robena Grant says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, Lynne.
    I’m practicing my push-offs. Now if I just had wings. : )

  5. Janie Emaus says:

    Great post! Without my dreams, I surely wouldn’t be who I am today.

  6. Robena Grant says:

    Well said, Janie. ; )

  7. Robin says:

    “If you have been hiding your dreams, get them out. Blow off the dust. Give them a shake and see what happens. Take a risk.”

    This is so true! I think dreams and hopes and wishes are so important. It took me awhile to figure out my deepest dream – to write a novel – but I’m so glad I finally did. Thanks for this wonderful blog post, and I hope a dream or two come true for you in 2012!

  8. Robena Grant says:

    And for you too, Robin. : ) Thanks for dropping by.

  9. Julie says:

    Oooh so much to think about! Well done, great post.
    And very cool about why you read (or re-read) plays, true they really ARE stories in their most basic form.

  10. Robena Grant says:

    Hi, Julie, yep I love a good play and seeing when an actor “becomes” the character. Thanks for dropping in.

  11. Thea says:

    I’ve read about a new play, new author, which brings surviving “Raisin” characters into the present. Reviews say shaky but good, needs revision. Deals with gentrification, so still about dreams.

    Great post to spur us into a new year. From my reading about the blog world, I’d say you’ve captured the zeitgeist. Flute of champers raised to you, Robena!

  12. Robena Grant says:

    Thanks, Thea. You’re so sweet.
    I’ll have to google that new play.