Fulfilling Your Dreams
Guest Blogger: Ken La Salle
As I begin my “guest blogger” gig for Recovering The Self, I think I can contribute best with what I might call “Recovering Your Dreams”. So many of us lose track of our dreams in life as we grow older and, even when some of us have worked hard at them, it’s often easy to let them slip away for something comfortable and familiar, which some call “ordinary life”.
As a writer, I know how difficult it can be to have dreams. Sometimes, it’s the part of your life you wish you could let go and, yet, it is also that part that makes you special. When people refer to you, oftentimes they’ll refer to you by your dream. In my case, they say “Ken the Writer”, though I haven’t really achieved what I want from my dreams. So, how do we capture those dreams and learn to live them out? How do we Recover Our Dreams?
This month, I’d like to talk about the act of saying, “Yes.” Sometimes, there’s nothing more difficult, more terrifying and imposing, than simply saying “Yes.” After all, what happened the first time you embraced your dream? You said “Yes.” Yes, you can do it. Yes, you can be it. You accepted or even embraced your dream and said “Yes.”
The thing is having a dream means having to say “Yes” a lot. This can be hard because having a dream means making room in your life for work, for disappointment, for failure. Saying “Yes” means you’re going to make mistakes. But that’s the thing about dreams, nobody can tell you how to make them come true. You are blazing the trail for yourself. If you think about it, it’s not as difficult to get a job at a convenience store – plenty of people have already blazed that trail. But to achieve the one thing you believe you can do better than anyone else in the world means finding your own way. Saying “No” just blocks that way. You have to say “Yes” in order to find your way, which often means saying “Yes” to starting all over again.
That’s what I’ve had to do. When I decided to write plays, that was a “Yes” moment. Then, years later, after I’d failed and I decided I wanted to try again, I had to say “Yes” all over again. And that was hard. I had grown so used to saying “No” because I found it easier than failing over and over, that it was hard to remember how to say “Yes.”
I recently sold the movie rights to a play of mine. It was the first time I’d ever done it and it felt great, but it only came after a long series of saying “Yes.” This is how it happened. When my father died, I felt a need to write about it. I tried several times, saying “Yes” to trying each idea. None of them really worked out. About a year later, I was compelled to write a play about a dysfunctional mother and son who only find their way back to each other after the death of the father, and I called the play “Sometimes We Find Our Way”. After saying “Yes” to writing it, I had to say “Yes” to letting people read it. I had it read for an audience. I had it read by theaters. I heard a lot of “Nos” in return.
Then, a theater in Long Beach, California decided to consider it for their 2012 season. To do this, I was asked to have a reading at the theater. I was tempted to say “No” because it was an awful lot of work for what was, admittedly, a slim chance. But we did the reading and the audience loved it and I felt sure the theater would love it, too. They turned it down. But as it turned out, one member of the repertory company loved it enough to want to film it. I’ll be working on the writing team and this should all come together this summer.
It’s not the “Yes” I wanted. It’s not a “Yes” I dreamed of having. It was only through my decision to say “Yes” that a “Yes” came back my way. And that’s why my suggestion today is to give it a try. Say “Yes” if you want a “Yes” to come back to you.
About the Author
Novelist and Playwright, Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue-collar roots, which have given him a progressive and environmentalist view. As a result, you’ll find many of his stories touching those areas both geographically and philosophically. He’s also very funny. His plays are often seen in theaters on the west coast of the U.S. and many of his books can be found in ebook format on his Amazon.com author page (for the Kindle) and Smashwords.com author page (for ePub and all other e-reader formats).