When Dreams Are Not Enough

By Maria Matienzo

:  My ecstasy was envied by my awake self.  Photo: Caridad
My ecstasy was envied by my awake self. Photo: Caridad

The phone rings and it’s a good excuse to stop writing, especially to have a friend remind me that dreams exist.  The conversation takes a pleasant turn and goes on for more than an hour.

All of a sudden I remember that a witch stitched a hummingbird into the palm of my hand; that I traveled to India; that I lived with the woman that I now love a month before meeting her; that a serpent portended a meeting with Ana Margarita; that I climbed up past petrified angels to reach a summit; and that the sea, always the sea, let me know how far I could go.

Once I walked on the waters and leapt from one mountain to another with slight apprehension in my chest, but without fear.  On another occasion, I hid behind my grandmother’s hips as the only way to reach the end of the road.  One afternoon I fell asleep and held a very serious conversation with a boy who alerted me of certain death, and then later I saw myself as an old woman together with my grandparents.

I used to live in a parallel, limitless, full-color world.  With closed eyes I was another person.  Yes, I know you’re going to think that in addition to being taken in by fantasy, I show signs of schizophrenia.  But who cares?  My ecstasy was envied by my awake self.

There came a time when I decided that my dreams needed to take a leap into reality.  I convinced myself that I could start a small publishing house and get talented designers and illustrators to join me.  I picked up fellow dreamers along the way, regardless of race, gender or odor.

I developed a logo, a slogan and a style manual.  I came up with a response to each of the barriers that I might encounter.  I registered the business in my name and we began to work on a few stories for children in which beauty, creativity and diversity went hand in hand.

I dreamed of producing rag dolls and learning materials to teach children more about our history.

I dreamed and dreamed and dreamed.  Until I woke up.

A few years were sufficient to comprehend that individual initiative wasn’t enough (they make you believe that it’s not even valid).  Words weren’t enough, nor ideas, or even money.  I had been too optimistic and had thought I could break through the impenetrable barrier of centralized thinking and action.

I stuffed my biggest dream into the drawer.  I was left with numbered pages and Corel Draw documents designed and illustrated just waiting to be published.

I no longer dream, even with eyes closed.  That’s the price I must pay.  The only consolation that remains is, when I look at my files, I feel a tightening in my chest and jumpiness in my stomach, like someone who hasn’t forgotten an old love and still holds hope for a reunion.

Maria Matienzo

Maria Matienzo Puerto: I dreamed once that I was a butterfly who had come from Africa and discovered that I had been alive for thirty years. From that time on, I constructed my world while I was sleeping: I was born in a magic city like Havana; I dedicated myself to journalism; I wrote and edited books for children; I met to discuss art with wonderful people; I fell in love with a woman. Of course, there are certain points of coincidence with the reality of my waking life and it’s that I prefer the silence of reading and the pleasure of a good movie.



One thought on “When Dreams Are Not Enough

  • Nuestra revolución por el socialismo participativo de las necesidades de los niños escritores en Cuba. Federados Particiaptory cooperativas función de las necesidades de Películas de animación para niños y TV muestra.
    ¿Dónde estás? Todo nuestro dinero va a contribuir a establecer los demás trabajadores en La Habana por lo que no puede permitirse el lujo de viajar fuera de La Habana. ¿Puedes venir a La Habana entre el 6 de octubre y 14 de octubre?

    por favor, me correo electrónico:
    gregdeanfreethenet (dot) ca

    Reply

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