Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dream big 2010 - courtesy of Liz Garton Scanlon

Dream (noun)

  1. a sequence of mental images during sleep
  2. a series of images that pass through the mind of somebody who is awake
  3. something hoped for
  4. something beautiful

Dream (verb)

  1. to experience vivid mental images while sleeping
  2. to let the mind dwell on pleasant images while awake, often resulting in inattention
  3. to wish or want something, to imagine having or doing it

Dream (adjective)

  1. ideal, perfect and wonderful in every way

When I was a kid, I suffered from high fevers and a crazy kind of delirium. I’d stack my favorite records on the turntable to distract myself from my own racing thoughts. I’d ask my mom and dad to try and talk over the noise. I’d keep myself awake because I was afraid of my dreams.

I grew out of the fevers, eventually, and wrote off the delirium as “weird stuff that happens to kids when they’re ten.” I grew up to be relatively high-functioning, for an insomniac.

But recently, I revisited all that, really thinking about what it means to be afraid of your own dreams. At the time, I thought I was fending off madness. Lots of kids think they’re avoiding the monsters in the closet and under the bed. But the madness and the monsters are just us – the parts of us that are mysterious, the parts of us we have yet to know. And when we spend every waking hour turning records and talking over the noise, we miss out on the dream. The “ideal” dream that is “perfect and wonderful in every way."

Now, getting lost in “a sequence or series of vivid mental images” is my work. It is still scary sometimes, it does result in inattention, the mind does dwell.

But I go ahead and do it anyway because in there, somewhere, is something hoped for. Something beautiful. And I imagine having or doing it. Don’t you?


Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of All the World (illustrated by Marla Frazee and published by Simon & Schuster) and A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes (illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser and published by HarperCollins). She is also an assistant professor of creative writing at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas, and the mother of two daughters. Forthcoming books include Noodle and Lou (illustrated by Arthur Howard, Simon & Schuster, 2011) and Think Big (Bloomsbury, 2012). Scanlon blogs at and invites you visit her web site at


  1. There's always risk in creating something that makes us examine ourselves. Thank you for jumping in with both feet.