I have been known to throw a dream board party for select friends. The time for such a party announces itself. About once a year. It is a general mood or feeling in the air that coalesces and presents as a fait accompli in our WhatsApp group. We gather in the kitchen with the glass doors thrown open to the vegetable and herb garden. Supplies are laid in – copious quantities of wine, large piles of magazines, glue, cardboard and a set of vague ideas about the future. Then we set to work.
It is an interesting process – as you flip through the glossy pages of old mags your eyes alight on images that call your name. It is also a peculiarly insular activity – each person finds their own set of pictures and words. Sometimes you might discover that somebody has a word you need – but generally, we have found that you find what you need.
We have become more adept at making these boards – we are now in our fourth year – and it is a strangely satisfying exercise. At the end of a long, pleasant afternoon with much banter and delight you have a small visual representation of what you want for your life in the next year. Better than new year’s resolutions which always seem admonishing from the minute you make them.
Life is pure adventure and the sooner we realise that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art …Maya Angelou
This activity is more like a crafty kind of magical thinking. It reminds me of projects in primary school which were always hope-tinged and forward-looking. Each poster is a discovery – a new horizon of knowledge – as if you were the first Grade 3 in the world to investigate and record the marvellous nature of clouds, or the joy of the hot air balloon through the ages. It is a feeling we don’t often get in adulthood.
I have misplaced last year’s dream board, which seems a little careless with my future, but I have kept the ideas in my head and now I think it’s time for the annual party. I have received a sign. I was walking past the secondhand bookshop at 44 Stanley and a book by Maya Angelou was on the table outside, prodding me to look at it. It opened on a page that the previous owner had marked – both with a fold in the corner and a blue pen.
This person had underlined the following passage: “… we often forget that life is an ongoing adventure. We leave our homes for work, acting and even believing that we will reach our destinations with no unusual event startling us out of our set expectations. The truth is we know nothing, not where our cars will fail or when our buses will stall, whether our places of employment will be there when we arrive or whether, in fact, we ourselves will arrive whole and alive at the end of our journeys. Life is pure adventure and the sooner we realise that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art … we need to remember that we are created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.”
May as well dream.