Monday, May 23, 2016

The dance between dreaming and waiting

I wrote this post last week for The Writer's Alley. Thought I would share.

Today, my five year old had her ballet recital. The venue was magical as it is an old historic theatre that once hosted speakers such as Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, Grant Wood, and now includes several modern-day celebrities as guests on its stage.

But, my five year old didn't know any of that, of course (only her kooky historic writing mama). She just knew that she was there to dance--her favorite thing to do. I snapped this shot as she waited for"Act 2"-- her turn. In the part of the red curtain, she spied the older dancers on the stage, and the lights, and the audience, and the shine.

As I look back through the pictures tonight, I wonder, was she waiting or was she dreaming? Because if you know my daughter, she is a dreamer. Make-believe is her specialty and life is all about the dream we make it. Pretty coincidental for the child of a fiction writing mama, huh? Nah.

Once upon a time, I was just like her. I used to be content with dreaming. I would drive about town and imagine the wonderful scenes I could write, and dream about the stories that might be told one day from my computer keyboard. It was a crazy little secret I held, one that fluttered around in the pit of my belly, that would give me joy and hope and inspiration to create characters and life outside my own.

But then, once the secret urged me to share in the magic of the writing show and it became known that I wrote, and I was measured up next to all the writers before me and with me, that's when the dreaming turned to waiting.

Don't get me wrong, I still dream along this aisle toward center stage, but, I'll admit that I wait more than I dream. And sometimes, the waiting makes the dreaming seem like a waste of time.

As I trek into the thick of this ten year road to publication, I begin to long for the dreaming again. I see my daughter's potential and her patience for the dream. She's happy where she is at on stage, forgetting her twirls and positions and never making it through the routine without a glance into the wings where her teacher dances about to reminds her. Yet, she feels like a ballerina. She looks like a ballerina. She is a ballerina with a dream.

And she's happy there. For now.

I want to be happy here, for now. Where my dream fills my heart and the waiting is not a burden. Do I daresay that writing is more waiting than dreaming? No. It's a dance. We wait, and while we wait, we dream. And we should never stop dreaming. Writers, we should always dream in the wait.

At the end of the recital, one of the older girls had a solo on point. Her beautiful slender legs didn't wobble as she danced on her toes, wearing a wonderfully rich red tutu. (My daughter's been known to sit and admire the point dancers after practice, unwinding those ribbons attached to the magical point shoes that are certainly a far off dream at this time.)

While we watched this seasoned ballerina, I didn't hear my daughter say, "I can't wait until I do that", or "Mama, when can I have point shoes?". She didn't say anything at all, but smiled and watched. I sat with her in admiration for the prima ballerina wondering what dreaming was going on in that little head of my girl, and a bit envious that she didn't care about the wait, just enjoyed watching those before her live a dream. Maybe her dream, but that's the beauty of the dance.

Maybe it's the same for writers. For me.

How about you? Do you wait more than you dream? Or are you enjoying the dance of the two?

Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written six historical novels and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one-sheets and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check her personal blog at and connect at:
Twitter: @angiedicken

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