A Field Guide to Chasing Dreams

Working as a poet, I spend a lot of my time chasing dreams. Literally. Sometimes I write poems about a childhood I never had. Sometimes I work from the childhood I very much had, and mine the nostalgia of it for a dreamlike quality. Sometimes I write about dreams from my childhood, which become the story.

Lately I’ve been struggling back into my dreams in early morning. Usually because I woke myself up when something scared me, and by the time I recognized my bedroom again, I also recognized I walked away from important information.

Because that’s typically what dreams are: couriers of important information.

So it’s interesting to consider chasing dreams, now, as a photographer.

Since I read Sandman, I’ve thought of dreams taking place somewhere. There’s a place—in Gaiman’s mythology, The Dreaming—where I go to dream. I’m starting to think of dreams as another way of seeing. So enter place, the art of being somewhere, and photography, the art of seeing. I’ve waxed about this some recently, (and then again), so obviously, it’s not a passing thought. I want to lead a viewer to a particular way of feeling a particular place (maybe at a particular time).

This is weird for me, given how young I am in the art.

I didn’t start yearning in poetry or design, or feel I had the chops to follow those calls, for a long time. I wasn’t confident enough to pull work together based on a common vision, a common fabric, till ten years in. And even that evolved pretty sharply when I moved from surrealism to magical realism. So I’m feeling a little cautious about both this need and my ability to follow it.

But, as with all the arts, lucky dog to have a master. I just hope I’m running to the right lady, in the right woods.

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