Monday, 1 September 2014

The imagination and reality of dreams

Just as we need dreams, we need to know when to let them go. Since my last post I've been tussling with that letting go. As I'm sure many boat owners do. It feels such a sad, irrevocable decision (it isn't of course). I don't know figures but could guess at approx 70% of boats in marinas not being used for more than a couple of weeks a year if that. I'm probably being generous when I consider all the boats in marinas and the lack of them in coastal waters.

It's pretty distressing to see a boat mouldy and mildewed from lack of attention or use, or worse, as the above is in Glasson Basin at the moment, sinking. Not just the waste of a boat but the slow and possibly irreversible degradation of all that fibre glass, plastic, antifouling paint etc etc  into the water. But if it's there, in someone's name, no matter what the cost, it's keeping the dream alive, the possibility that it could be used, with a bit of work, and sailed. Even if in reality the likelihood is pretty slim.

Books have a similar, if less contentiously toxic, symbolic value. How many on your shelves have you not read and, be honest, are unlikely to read? Or have read and won't read again, won't even look at again? I keep books on my shelves as a memory jogger, I tell myself, even though I don't have most of the novels I have read and loved over the years. Or books that I will read one day. I will. I will. I won't. They cluster around my rooms in a reassurance of experience, imagination and possibly of my cultural nouse. And yet where they really exist, come alive and nourish me is in my imagination. If I need the paper in front of me, surely they're not doing their job.

There's something perverse about my need to gather around me the manifestations of my interests or emotions. Yet that's what, in one way, I do by filling my immediate environment with stuff, and is one reason why I don't use an mp3 player: I don't like not seeing all those cd boxes. The stacks of boxes remind me of who I am: pieces of music that were important at times in my life, a spread out a sense of my personality to affirm myself with.

I think that's what my creative activities are about too. The release or manifestation of aspects of me I can't contain. Or don't want to contain. My ego being large enough to believe these bits and pieces of thinking or expression deserve to lie outside of my skin.

Why can't I trust this imagination (I'll use that as a hold-all word for dreams, memory, creativity...) enough to exist without material evidence? Is it about trust? Is it about letting go, understanding imagination is enough to be the enricher of self. Surely, it only needs evidence if I want to communicate it to people beyond my reach.

That was one of the joys of sailing. It was for me. Beyond crew there was no third party, no audience, I didn't need to tell anyone about it. And maybe that's why more and more I don't need the evidence of that self. I can find it in other forms - as and when I need it, for example, find other people with boats going where I want to go, like I would borrow books from a library - if the library still exists, just as if the winds remain benign enough to sail, if the Arctic still exists as a place to sail to...

No comments: