The Dream of Connection

In the biopic, Berthe Morisot, there's an important moment between Morisot and her mother. Morisot's sister, Edma, has just become engaged, and Morisot is distraught about it. Both women are in their late twenties, and, in the 19th century, this was a time when most women were expected to marry and start a family. Morisot only wants to paint, but she lives in a place and a time when her creative mind is stifled. Morisot's mother has always encouraged her to paint and even allowed her daughters to study under Corot. So she's progressive, but she still expects Morisot to settle into a conventional life.



When you're young--usually in your teens--your dreams seem possible, inevitable. Before you stretch years and time. It's not until later that you start to realize that maybe your dreams are not possible and time is passing very quickly. I started feeling like this in my mid-twenties. I'm now 27, and the feeling is accelerating. Maybe it comes from losing a parent so early--when I was 16--but I feel like there's no time, like I'm in conflict with time, like, in the words of Morisot's mother, time is "no longer [my] ally." Of course, Morisot realized her dreams and became a celebrated painter, but that's not how it works out for all of us.

After my father died, I gave up dreaming. I think my dreams died on that day. Ever since, I've been surviving, getting through each day and trying to make it to tomorrow. But I do stubbornly hold on to one dream: to write a book. This book must be about my father's death. I believe this book is inside me, but I don't know how to write it yet.  

Recently, I read an excerpt from the documentary A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde on BOMB Magazine's website. Lorde knew what it meant to write for her life, to write against death, to write against the clock. In the documentary, she says "I started writing because I had a need inside of me to create something that was not there." She also states that "Don’t wait for inspiration. Remember. Do not wait for inspiration. You don’t need to be inspired, to write a poem. You need to reach down and touch the thing that’s boiling inside of you and make it somehow useful." 

I keep reading those words and finding strength in them and leaning on them and they remind me that I have something inside me that matters and deserves to be heard. Recently, I was thinking about how maybe my writing can save someone, make someone feel less alone. Maybe someone can read my words on this blog and feel a connection or feel inspired to write what is inside them. I sometimes feel we are too caught up in labels. Words are words, whether you read them in a book or on a blog or spray-painted on a wall. Maybe I won't write a book. Maybe this blog is my book.  I'm okay with that. At least I'm reaching people, and that's all I've ever wanted. To make contact, to be heard, to be known. Maybe that's what I dream of most: The dream of connection.